Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR
Turkey's transition to the executive presidential system in 2018 disabled the powers of parliament and positioned the president as a figure with no constraints, said a new report released by the Balance and Inspection Network (Denge ve Denetleme Ağı), an umbrella organization for 294 non-governmental organizations.
A 2017 referendum in Turkey granted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expanded executive powers, a move which critics say has removed constitutional balances and checks and led to a further weakening of Turkish democracy.
“The Presidency Government System functions in a way that the executive powers have been excessively expanded so that they control also the legislative area and the principle of separation of powers has been obstructed in favor of the executive power,” said the report titled “The Presidency Government System as Turkey is about to go into 2021: Legislative and executive powers.”
The report said that the exclusion of presidential decrees from the review of parliament and the lack of clear limits on their scope is “problematic in terms of democratic balances and inspection.”
The system that normally allows deputies to file parliamentary questions to vice-president and ministries has not functioned “in a healthy way,” the report said. “The main issue here is that no enforcement mechanism has been defined if the relevant questions are not answered by the ministers,” the report said.
The new system has not undertaken any reform in the Political Parties Law to ensure that democracy would be strengthened within parties. Plus, the system now allows the president to hold the combined offies of the of state, head of government and head of the ruling party. This situation has taken Turkey to a “hyper-presidential system,” with several regulatory and supervisory agencies coming under the power of the president, the report underlined.
The Balance and Inspection Network suggested that the current system should be reformed in a way the head of state is no longer a party chair. The organization further suggested that the Political Parties Law should be amended to overcome the current understanding of “chair-centered party discipline.” The organization also said that the system should ensure that parliament can audit the government and president in an effective way.