Amendment to the Constitution: The following articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey cannot be amended, nor can their amendment be proposed:
The Turkish State is a Republic,
The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the Preamble.
The Turkish State is an indivisible entity, with its territory and nation,
Its language is Turkish,
Its flag is composed of a white crescent and star on a red background,
Its national anthem is the İstiklal Marşı (Independence March),
Its capital is Ankara,
The articles of the Constitution, with the exception of above mentioned clauses, may be amended. A constitutional amendment is proposed in writing by at least one-third (184) of the total number of members of the TGNA. Proposals to amend the Constitution are debated twice in the Plenary Session of the TGNA. The adoption of a proposal for an amendment requires a three-fifths (330) majority of the total number of members of the TGNA by a secret ballot. The President has the authority to send the law amending the Constitution back to the TGNA for further deliberation, and to submit the law to referendum. The Constitution has been amended 14 times since it was approved in 1982. The majority of the amendments made are of the kind guaranteeing fundamental rights and freedoms and improving the democratic structure. The TGNA amended 32 articles of the Constitution on October 3rd, 2001, the majority of which were related to fundamental rights and freedoms. According to the Constitutional Amendment No. 4709, in line with the European Human Rights Charter, regulations such as those stated below have been made:
Certain obstacles before the freedom of thought and freedom of expression have been abolished; the duration of lawful custody before a trial has been reduced (this duration is 48 hours excluding the duration required to be taken to the nearest court and a maximum of four days for collective offences); people’s right to fair trial has been enhanced, it has been acknowledged that illegally obtained findings would not be considered evidence, and the condition of a written warrant to enter and carry out a search in domiciles and to seize property has been introduced.
The freedom of association and the freedom of communication as well as the right to congregate and demonstration have been enhanced, and it has been acknowledged that no one could be deprived of his liberty merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.
The dissolution of political parties has been made more difficult, and the exercise of the rights related to labor unions has been facilitated.
The death penalty has been restricted to cases of war, the urgent threat of war, and crimes of terrorism.
Nationalization practices have been reorganized.
Foreigners have been granted the right to petition on the condition of reciprocity.
The number of civilian members of the National Security Council has been increased, and its functions redefined.
Additionally, in these regulations it was acknowledged that there should be no impediment to the use of different languages, dialects or accents in the daily lives of citizens; the impediment to the freedom of citizens to travel abroad due to the economic state of the country was brought to an end; and restrictions on freedom of beliefs, opinion and expression have been relaxed.
A Constitutional amendment passed on December 27th, 2002 has replaced the phrase “ideological and anarchic actions” with the phrase “terrorist actions” in the second paragraph of Article 76, regulating the eligibility of deputies. Hence, it has been stipulated that only those persons convicted of terrorist activities can not become deputies. With the change no 5170 0n May 7th, 2004, death sentences which have not been executed since 1984 and the State Security Courts have been abolished. In order to keep the freedom of the press under guarantee, it has been stipulated that printing equipment can not be seized, confiscated and barred from operation. In cases of disparity between national laws and international agreements, the latter has been accepted as binding. Thus, international agreements have been regarded above national legislation in cases related to human rights and freedoms. It has also been stipulated that Turkish citizens can not be extradited to a foreign country except under obligations resulting from being a party to the International Court of Justice. Furthermore, by an amendment related to the Board of Higher Education Council, the practice of the Office of the General Staff electing one member of this council has been terminated.
Law No. 5428, passed on October 29th, 2005, the operative effect of the TGNA and the Court of Accounts on the budget, performing audits on its behalf, has been augmented.
Through Law No. 5551, passed on October 13th, 2006, a modification has been made to the Constitution Law, under which the minimum age to be elected a deputy has been lowered from 30 to 25.
By a change made with the Law No. 5659 dated May 10th, 2007; a temporary article was added to the constitution and a new regulation was brought in to include the names of the
independent candidates in the joint voting slip at the first elections due. Through the Law No. 5678 dated May 31st, 2007, which was accepted by a referendum held on October 21st, 2007, the following amendments were made and concluded:
The general elections for the TGNA are to take place every four years,
The quorum for all activities including the elections to be made by the Plenary Session to be one third of the total members of the TGNA,
The President to be elected by the people, from among members of the TGNA who are over 40 years of age and who have completed higher education, or from among Turkish citizens who comply with these requirements and who are eligible to be a deputy. Also, the President to be elected for a period of five years and the same person to be elected no more than twice.