The Start of a New Era in Turkey: Presidential System of Government - II
In our previous Newsletter article, the Law on the Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey numbered 6771 (“Constitutional Amendment”) and the new system of government initiated by the Constitutional Amendment were examined. In this Article, the legislative amendments aiming to adapt to the new system, the organizational structure of the Presidency, and its affiliated institutions, shall be examined.
Following the system change on 09.07.2018, and in the month of July, alone, 434 laws were amended and 17 laws were abrogated through 29 decrees. In addition, 14 laws and a decree were amended, and one law was abrogated through an omnibus bill. As well, 14 decrees were published, 64 regulations were amended, while 7 regulations were abrogated, and 38 new regulations have entered into force.
Furthermore, 17 decrees, 184 decisions and 10 circulars were published by the President up until 20.09.2018. Generally speaking, decrees have restructured the new system of government, and executive assignments have been made through decisions. The most comprehensive legislation of this process was Decree numbered 703, and Presidential Decree numbered 1, with respect to the Presidential organization.
Decree numbered 703
Through Decree numbered 703, the central office of the Prime Minister has been closed. In the legislation, references made to the Prime Ministry shall be deemed to have been made to the Presidency, or the relevant ministries and organizations, according to their duties and fields of activity. The Presidency shall be the party in the case of judicial, administrative, arbitration, and execution proceedings that have been initiated, or will be initiated, with respect to the acts and procedures of the Prime Ministry. In this manner, the Presidency shall give authority to the relevant administrative legal units to represent and pursue those lawsuits in which the Presidency is a party, and the lawsuits that have been initiated, or will be initiated, against the Presidency.
In addition, some ministries have been merged, and some ministries’ names have been amended. The number of ministries in the field of economics has been reduced from six to three, and the total ministry number has been reduced to sixteen. The remarkable amendments, in this context, are: The merger of the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and Ministry of Labor and Social Security, now under the name of the Ministry of Labor, Social Services and Family; The merger of the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Customs and Trade, now under the name of the Ministry of Economy; The merger of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of European Union, now under the name of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The merger of the Undersecretariat of Treasury under the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance, now under the name of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
Another remarkable amendment is that the Ministers shall be answerable only to ‘the President’ regarding the effective, economic, and efficient usage of public resources, together with the legal and financial issues, while they were previously answerable to the ‘the Prime Minister and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’ with respect to the same issues.
The Law of the State Supervisory Board was amended: The Law on the Duties and Powers of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armies and the Law on the Establishment and Duties of the Supreme Military Council were repealed. These issues shall be regulated by Presidential decrees, instead of through laws.
Various qualifications, such as graduation from certain undergraduate programs, working in certain institutions, and a membership offer sought for the appointment to senior public institutions, such as the Competition Board, Energy Market Regulatory Authority, Public Oversight, Accounting and Auditing Standards Board, and the Public Procurement Authority, have now been abolished.
Presidential Decree numbered 1 regarding the Presidential Organization
The new Presidential Organization was established by Presidential Decree numbered 1 regarding the Presidential Organization.
The Presidential Organization is comprised of the Presidency, Directorate for Administrative Affairs, Vice Presidents, Presidential Policy Boards, Ministries, Presidential Offices, and Affiliated Institutions and Organizations.
The Chief of Administrative Affairs, the most senior civil servant, is the chief of the Directorate of Administrative Affairs of the Presidency. The Directorate of Administrative Affairs is comprised of the General Directorates of the Law and Legislation, Personnel and Principles, Security Affairs, Support and Financial Services.
The other members of the organization are the Vice-Presidents. The duties of the Vice-Presidents are not enumerated in the Decree; these shall be determined by the President.
The Presidential Boards are the Boards of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies, Education and Training Policies, Economic Policies, Foreign Policies, Legal Policies, Culture and Art Policies, Health and Food Policies, Social Policies, and Local Government Policies.
Institutions and organizations under the Presidency are as follows:
- Directorate of State Archives
- State Supervisory Board
- Presidency of Religious Affairs
- Communication Department
- Secretary General of the National Security Council
- Presidency of National Intelligence Organization
- Presidency of National Palaces Administration
- Directorate of Defense Industry
- Directorate of Strategy and Budget
- Turkish Wealth Fund
The Turkish General Staff of the Armies in the first list, and formed by this Presidential Decree, was affiliated with the Ministry of National Defense by Presidential Decree numbered 4.
In addition, together with the Presidential Decree, the Digital Transformation Office, the Financial Office, the Human Resources Office and the Investment Office, that own special budgets, with seperate public legal entities, and administrative and financial autonomies affiliated with the Presidency, were established to fulfill the duties assigned to them.
Presidential Decree numbered 3 regarding the Appointment Procedures for Senior Public Administrators and Public Institutions and Organizations
Presidential Decree numbered 3 divides senior official positions into two tables. Appointments in positions specified in Table I attached to Presidential Decree, such as Head of Religious Affairs, National Intelligence Organization, Defense Industry, Social Security Institution, Deputy Ministers and Governors, are made at the discretion of the President. Appointments in positions specified in Table II, such as Deputy General Managers, Heads of Revenue Administration Departments, Members of the Public Economic Enterprise Board of Directors, Head of Provincial Treasurer, Provincial Police Chiefs, Provincial Muftis, Deputy Governors and District Governors, on the other hand, are made through the approval of the President upon the proposal of the relevant Ministry.
As of 20.09.2018, 10 circulars were issued by the President. In this context, Presidency Circular numbered 2018/1 regarding the Affiliated, Associated and Related Institutions and Organizations to the Ministries is of great importance.
Within the scope of this circular, the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund is affiliated with the Presidency; Personal Data Protection Authority, Human Rights and Gender Equality Authority of Turkey are affiliated with the Ministry of Justice; Türkiye Emlak Bankası A.Ş. is affiliate with the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning; Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, Public Oversight, Accounting and Auditing Standards Agency, Capital Markets Board, the Central Finance and Contracts Unit, General Directorate of Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Ziraat Bankası A.Ş., Türkiye Halk Bankası A.Ş., Türkiye Vakıflar Bankası A.Ş. and Türkiye Kalkınma Bankası A.Ş., are affiliated with the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
Through the Presidency Circular numbered 2018/3, crucial powers of the Privatization High Council, High Planning Council, Money-Credit and Coordination Board were transferred to the President.
Pursuant to Presidency Circular numbered 2018/7, prior to initiating an examination process for personnel to be undertaken through a special examination, the permission of the President shall be obtained.
Although the legislation determining the general outline of the new system of government has swiftly entered into force, it is not yet possible to say whether or not the new system has completed its formation.
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