Military to be open for civilian oversight under newly proposed presidential system
by Daily Sabah
ANKARADec 13, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Dec 13, 2016 12:00 am
As further details on the 21-article presidential system bill are revealed, the recently submitted bill includes allowing the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to be open for civilian oversight through the Turkish Presidency-led State Supervisory Council (DDK). The Turkish president, who is also known as the "commander-in-chief," will also be able to appoint the TSK's chief of general staff under the new governing system. The long-debated constitutional reform package, which was submitted to Parliament on Saturday, is not only allowing the country to switch to a presidential system but will also initiate new reforms that will be significantly important to the democratization process in the country.
With that respect, the supervisory council operating under direct authority of the president of Turkey currently handles inspections on public institutions upon the president's requests within an exception on the Turkish military as well as judicial bodies. However, with the new constitutional package the DDK will be able to inspect, monitor and research while also conducting administrative investigations on the TSK. The DDK's supervision of the TSK is highly significant especially due to the failed July 15 coup attempt by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Thus, definition of duties and realm of authority of the National Defense minister, Turkish General Staff and the service commands will be determined with a decree from the presidency. Furthermore, the decisions reached by the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) will be open for judicial review.
Once the proposal is passed in Parliament and voted for by the public in a referendum, Turkey will undergo a transitional period until 2019 when the new system will come into full effect. As part of the transitional period, the state structure will enter into a reform period in which the establishment of ministries, institutions and definition of authorities will also be determined by a decree from the president. With the current parliamentarian system, the restructuring of government institutions in accordance to the presidential system would take years to be finalized, however, with the decrees from the president the restructuring process will be expedited. Furthermore, the presidential decrees will also allow the increasing or decreasing of ministries, as well as the restructuring of all public institutions and organizations.
Currently, Turkey's Constitution indicates that no appeal shall be made to any judicial authority, including the Constitutional Court, which goes against the decisions and orders signed by the president. However, the proposed change will grant the Parliament oversight of the president's actions to a certain extent. The new bill further allows the Parliament to set up an investigation commission and even begin impeachment proceedings against the president. The parliamentary investigative commission would be set up by a simple majority vote and, upon receiving two-thirds majority in parliamentary votes, will be able to implement legal impeachment proceedings to put the president on trial in the Supreme Court of Appeals. The amendment package is expected to be discussed by the Parliamentary Constitution Commission this week. Upon completion of the commission works, the proposal will be presented at the General Assembly in Parliament, most likely in January.