Turkey to hold general elections

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Colorful flags, banners, signs and convoys of vehicles carrying loud speakers and decorated with banners and pictures of political party leaders and candidates will fill the streets and be seen until the evening of June 11. These activities are due the general elections that will take place June 12.

Political parties have been holding rallies, meetings and gatherings in towns and cities as part of their election campaign. Political campaigning could occur until the evening of June 11, at which time all the banners, decorations and party flags should be removed.

Approximately 50 million voters will cast their votes in ballot boxes throughout Turkey 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. June 12.

In accordance with local laws, no one except security forces members on duty are allowed to carry weapons on election day June 12. Selling or buying alcoholic beverages is also banned on this day. Additionally, media cannot print, announce or broadcast any negative or positive reports about any political party or candidate until 9 p.m. unless the High Election Board lifts that ban earlier.

The Turkish governmental system closely resembles England's system in many aspects. The Turkish constitution marks the separation of the three powers of the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

The legislative power is exercised by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, generally referred to as parliament. It has 550 deputies representing 81 provinces of Turkey, and members are elected through direct elections for four-year terms. The number of deputies representing each province is determined by the province's population.

More than 20 political parties run in the elections. A political party must receive at least 10 percent of the votes nationwide to get a seat in parliament. In Turkey, voters cast ballots for political parties' lists or for independent candidates.

The three political parties currently represented in the parliament are: Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Republican People's Party (CHP), led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu; and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), led by Devlet Bahceli.

The National Assembly enacts, amends and abolishes laws, monitoring the actions of the council of ministers, or cabinet, and delegates to the council of ministers the authority to issue Decrees in Power of Law for specific subjects. It also debates and passes the budget and bills for final accounts, and ratifies the printing of currency and the declaration of war and international agreements.

The executive power is exercised by the prime minister and council of ministers.

The speaker of the national assembly also assumes presidential duties in the absence of the president.

The current president is Abdullah Gul who was elected in 2007.

The president is elected for a term of seven years from members of the national assembly or among Turkish citizens 40 years of age or older who are eligible to be elected to the parliament.

The president isn't allowed to have political ties with any political party. As the head of the state, the president represents the Republic of Turkey and the integrity of the Turkish nation. The president also appoints the Turkish representatives abroad.

Traditionally, the leader of the majority party is appointed as the prime minister. The prime minister appoints the subordinate ministers. The prime minister and the council of ministers are considered the actual rulers of the country.

On a local level, administrative bodies, mayors and city council members are also elected through direct elections for five-year terms. The last local elections were held in 2009.
In addition, each province has a governor and each town has a sub-governor appointed by the government as the highest authority of the province or the town. Governors and sub-governors are appointed indefinitly.

The judicial power is exercised by the independent courts on behalf of the Turkish nation.