Turkish Parliamentary Parties
Turkish Politics and Government
Since a military uprising in 1980, and a Constitution fortified in 1982, Turkey has operated under a strictly secular, parliamentary democratic republic. The state has three branches of government, like the United States- executive, legislative and judicial. They elect a President and Prime Minister.
Branches of Government
- President (chief of state: President elected by the National Assembly for a 7 year term. Duties include supervising the state departments, and the whole procedure of the Constitution, publishing and returning laws to parliament for revision, deciding the renewal of elections.)
- Prime Minister (head of government: Prime Minister elected by people for every 5 years.)
- Council of Ministers (cabinet- appointed by the president on the nomination of the prime minister).
(1876 voting in the Ottoman Parliament)
- Grand National Assembly (550 members) chosen by national elections at least every 4 years.
- Constitutional Court- judicial review of legislation
- Court of Cassation- Supreme Court of Appeals
- Council of State- high administrative and appeals court
Parliament Political Parties
In the Grand National Assembly, 4 main parties hold seats in Parliament with MPs or Members of Parliament for a total of 550 elected officials-
- AKP- Justice and Development Party (326)
- CHP- Republican People’s Party (135)
- MHP- Nationalist Movement Party (52)
- BDP- Peace and Democracy Party (29)
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the 25th Prime Minister of Turkey. After being emprisoned for reciting a poem during a public address under article 312/2 of the Turkish penal code (an offense and incitement to religious or racial hatred), he founded the AK Party (Justice and Development Party). The AK Party now has a majority in the Grand National Assembly.
Erdoğan’s government instituted several democratic reforms. He gave the European Court of Human Rights supremacy over Turkish courts, reduced the powers of the 1991 Anti-Terror Law which had constrained Turkey’s democratization, and abolished many restrictions on freedom of speech and the press.
Abdullah Gül is the eleventh President of Turkey, and the first openly devout Muslim President. Prime Minister Erdoğan, who elected Gül as the AK party’s candidate, faced much opposition from secularists who believed electing Gül would sacrifice the country’s separation of religion and state. However, after alterations to the Constitution so the people elected the president rather than a parliamentary vote, Gül ran and won.
Mustafa Bülent Ecevit was a four-time elected Prime Minister of the the Republican People’s Party. He ordered the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 which led to a de fact state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyrpus. Shortly after, in a 1980 coup, he was banned from politics until 1987 where he got 7 seats in parliament. Ecevit’s government undertook a number of reforms aimed at stabilizing the Turkish economy in preparation for accession negotiations with the EU. However, the short-term economic pain brought on by the reforms caused rifts within his coalition and party, and eventually forced new elections in 2002. Ecevit, at this time visibly frail, was unsuccessful in leading his party back into the National Assembly. He retired from active politics in 2004 and passed away in 2006.
Selahattin Demirtaş is a pro-Kurdish politician and the chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party or BDP which he reformed from the Democratic Society Party. In 2010 he was sentenced to 10 months of prison for alleged links to the Kurdistan-Workers’ Party, a banned terrorist organization in Turkey Despite this, he emerged as a leader in BDP’s civil disobedience campaign during 2011 Kurdish protests, a wave from the Egyptian revolution.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is a member of the Republican People’s Party
is a member of the True Path Party (DYP) and served as Turkey’s only female Prime Minister. She is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leader globally for collective action on equal rights issues. In office, she signed the EU-Turkey Customs Union (1995), dealt with the Imia/Kardak crisis with Greece (threatened Greece if country tried to separate from Albania), and transformed the Turkish Amy into a modern fighting force. She convinced the US government and EU to enlist the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) as a terrorist organization. Çiller is retired from politics.