Politics of Turkey

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Turkey’s Politic System from 1920 to 2018

Turkey has a political system based on the principle of separation of powers. The principle of tripartite separation of force, consisting of “legislative”, “executive” and “judicial” powers, is the base of the politics of Turkey. Turkey’s leader has taken the title of Cumhurbaşkanı (President) since the declaration of the Republic in 1923.

Politics of Turkey
Turkish National Assembly in 1923

Turkey had a parliamentary system until 2018. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey had 550 delegates and the political party which had the most delegates had the power to create the government. There have been some important changes in Turkey’s political landscape since 2018.

2017 Turkish constitutional referendum

The government led by the current president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offered some changes in Turkey’s political system and these offers led to a constitutional referendum that took place in 2017. Results were in favor of the change with a 51.41% acceptance rate. Changes created a new political system in Turkey called the ‘’Turkish Presidental System’’. Let me tell you more about our new system.

Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Turkish Presidential System since 2018

The new Presidential system started in Turkey after the 2018 Turkish presidential election. There have been some fundamental and minor changes compared to the older political system in Turkey.

Turkey still has Grand National Assembly but in the older system head of the government was elected from the 550 delegates in the assembly. Now we have 600 delegates in the assembly representing 81 cities in Turkey. But now following the delegate election we hold an additional election to choose the president of Turkey. President in Turkey before was elected by the delegates but now the president is elected by the people of Turkey.

Turkish Presidency Logo

President in the earlier system had a symbolic seat and power in the state. Assembly always had the power to out rule him. Maybe we can compare the old Turkish presidency with the English Queen or German President. The new president is more powerful and can be considered the ultimate decision-maker in Turkey whose power is still but less harnessed by the assembly.

President is elected every five years and a president can be elected for up to two consecutive terms. Anyone who is over 40 years old and holds a bachelor’s degree can be nominated.

Ministries in Turkey

The Council of Ministers holds executive power. Ministers are chosen by the president and they don’t have to be members of Parliament. There are 16 ministries in Turkey.

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Ministry of Culture and Tourism
  • Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning
  • Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Services
  • Ministry of Finance and Treasury
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Industry and Technology
  • Ministry of the Interior
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of National Defense
  • Ministry of National Education
  • Ministry of Trade
  • Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure
  • Ministry of Youth and Sports
2018 Election Results in Turkey

Parliamentary and Local Elections in Turkey

Every four years people of Turkey vote for 600 delegates representing us in the Grand Assembly of Turkey and also we vote for the local mayors who are responsible for the districts in which we live. Universal suffrage is very well established in Turkey. Anyone who is over 18 years old can vote. The constitution protects our right of voting regardless of our gender, income, social status, race, ethnicity, wealth, or any other restriction.

List of the Major Political Parties in Turkey

Major Parties and Their Shares of Votes in Turkey

Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi)

The party was established in 2001 as a conservative, center-right party. The current leader is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Republican People’s Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi)

This party is the oldest political party in Turkey founded in 1923 which makes it as old as the Turkish Republic. The current leader is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was elected as the chairman of CHP again on the 25th of July 2020. *

Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi)

MHP is on the right of the political spectrum. Party was founded in 1969. The current leader is Devlet Bahçeli.

The Good Party (İYİ Party)

İYİ Party is an offshoot of the Nationalist Movement Party. It was formed in 2017. The current leader is Meral Akşener.

İYİ Party held its second ordinary party congress on the 20th of September 2020 and reelected Akşener as the party’s general secretary.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi)

HDP has social democrat values combined with a left-wing approach. Different from many this party has two leaders. They are Sezai Temelli and Pervin Buldan.

Democracy and Progress Party (Demokrasi ve Atılım Partisi – DEVA)

Democracy and Progress Party (Demokrasi ve Atılım Partisi – DEVA)

DEVA political party is a liberal party that situates itself in the central-right movement. DEVA is known to be pro-european union and to support minority rights in Turkey. The head of DEVA is Ali Babacan who was Turkey’s economy minister earlier.

14th of May 2023 Turkish General Election

The 2023 General election date is declared as the 14th of May. Currently, 4 candidates for the presidential seat declared their campaigns. Also, more than 10 political parties will run for the parliament’s 600 seats. Most of the political parties of Turkey united under 3 alliances named People’s Alliance led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Nation Alliance led by Kemal Kılıçdaroglu and Labor and Freedom Alliance.

Number of Seats Each City of Turkey Has in the Parliament

28th of May 2023 Elections in Turkey

Run-off election of 14th of May 2023 elections peacefully resulted in the victory of the current president Recep Tayip Erdoğan. Erdoğan wins with 52.14% of the votes and Kilicdaroglu lost by having 47.86%. Grand National Assembly of Turkey has a number of parties who will be working with the president. There are in total of 600 deputies of parliament, and they are elected for a five-year term. Numbers of the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey are as follows;

  • People’s Alliance – 323 seats
  • Nation Alliance – 212 seats
  • Labor and Freedom Alliance – 65 seats

P.S. This article will be updated as long as there are new political developments in Turkey. You can always contact me for more information on the political system of Turkey. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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