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Constitutional Background

The fifth constitution was established in 1982 by the last military regime after its seizing power in 1980.  The 1995 amendments abolished about 20 articles and the preamble that stated the people's will to accept military rule.  Further changes of the basic rights section have been adopted by a major revision in 2001.  Constitutional reform as a prerequisite for eventual membership in the Europen Union has been established by additional amendments until the current ICL status date of May 10th, 2007.

History and News

  • March 2004: Government of Erdogan announces imminent constitutional reforms.
  • 3 Nov 2002: AKP wins parliamentary elections; Recep Tayyip Erdogan later becomes Prime Minister.
  • July 2000: President Sezer suggests constitutional reforms.
  • 1 March 1997: The army-dominated National Security Council hands the government a list of measures to keep Turkey a secular state.
  • 28 June 1996: The new government under the Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan takes office.
  • 14 May 1996: The Constitutional Court agrees with pro-Islamist Welfare Party that a vote of confidence on 12 March did not have an absolute majority of the votes of sitting members.
  • 24 Dec 1995: Turkish Citizens abroad may, for the first time, vote at embassies and consulats for the general elections. 93 MPs complained before the Constitutional Court about lack of campaigning time until 24 Dec.
  • Oct 1995: Proposal to amend anti-terrorism law.
  • Aug 1995: 250 spectators were arrested during their protest against the semi-military State Security Court's decision to hold a trial against four leaders of a pro-Kurdish party behind closed doors.  The court later permitted spectators and freed the accused.
  • 23 July 1995: Constitutional amendment by the Grand National Parliament with the required two-thirds majority (against the votes of Islamists), abolishing about 20 articles and the preamble that stated the people's will to accept military rule.  Generals are still not under judicial control and amendments of Article 8 Anti-Terrorism Law are not yet included.
  • 7 July 1995: The Government declared its defeat against conservative, fundamentalist opposition in Parliament by grounding their project on constitutional revision.
  • 1994: After parliamentary debate in March, immunity of six Kurdish MPs was raised to imprison them for separatist propaganda punishable under Art. 8 Anti-Terrorism Law.  In Dec, they are sentenced to up to 15 years for links with the PKK.  Two of the six are set free by a decision of the Court of Cassation on 26 Oct 1995.
  • 1984: PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) takes up arms against Turkish security forces.
  • 1982: Fifth (and current) Constitution adopted.
  • 1980: Military coup; Generals prepare a new constitution.
  • 1961: Fourth Constitution adopted after military intervention.
  • 1924: Third Constitution adopted.
  • 1920: The Ataturk era establishes the military as guardians of Turkey's secular tradition; second constitution adopted.
  • 1876: First Constitution adopted during the Tanzimat movement.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 16th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.