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Decrees issued by Erdoğan exceed number of bills passed by parliament since system change

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The number of decrees issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since assuming the top state office for the second time in 2018, when Turkey switched from a parliamentary system to a presidential system of governance, is higher than the number of bills passed by parliament in the same period, the Birgün daily reported on Tuesday.

Presidential decrees were first introduced in Turkey in the aftermath of a bloody coup in 1980. The coup’s leader, Kenan Evren, who served as president between 1980 and 1989, however, issued only one presidential decree during his time in office.

According to Birgün, the parliament approved 87 bills, while Erdoğan, who has been receiving growing criticism for resorting to presidential decrees as a means of bypassing parliament, has issued 91 decrees during the 27th legislative term, which began in July 2018.

Erdoğan issued his first decree on July 10, 2018, and the most recent on Feb. 5, 2022.

Parliament had passed 446 bills during the previous legislative term between 2015 and 2018, and 795 during the 22nd legislative term, which lasted from 2002, when Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, to 2007, Birgün added.

Among the 4,145 bills proposed by lawmakers during the 27th legislative term, only 87 of them have been approved by the parliament, which also has ratified 115 international agreements within the same period, according to Birgün.

Turkey’s current constitution, the 1982 Constitution, limits the scope of presidential decrees with the organizational structure of the presidency; however, when Turkey switched from a parliamentary system to a presidential system of governance in 2018, the president was granted vast powers.

Turkey in a 2017 referendum approved the transition from the parliamentary system to a presidential system although there were widespread concerns about the separation of powers under the new system. Erdoğan, who was elected for a second term in the presidential election of 2018, became Turkey’s first president under the presidential system.

As he was campaigning for passage of the referendum, Erdoğan promised that Turkey would lose no time in pressing ahead with necessary legislation under the presidential system. Erdoğan issues decrees on a wide range of topics including national palaces, the Space Agency, membership on Turkey’s central bank board and the support of crime victims.

Erdoğan has long been accused of creating one-man rule in Turkey, silencing dissent and taking the country’s judiciary and media under his control.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop on Monday attended the 7th Parliamentary Speakers’ Meeting of MIKTA, a consultative-informal forum that brings together the countries of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia and is held virtually.

Giving a speech about democracies at the meeting hosted by Australia, Şentop said that “well-functioning and effective parliaments will mean stronger democracies.”

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