“We will speed up the work of the state and make it effective by merging institutions that do similar work and eliminating institutions that have become dysfunctional,” Erdogan said on Saturday.
But the changes have also produced something else: “a president with a heavy concentration of powers, without any effective checks or balances,” said Ergun Ozbudun, a Turkish constitutional law expert.
The most consequential change, he said, was to the judiciary, because of changes in the way members of a senior judicial council were appointed. The president would, directly or indirectly, be able to appoint six of the council’s 13 members. The other seven would be appointed by a parliament expected to vote in Erdogan’s favour.
“If you control that body, it means you control the entire judiciary,” Ozbudun said. “All 13 members are people the government has confidence in. We can no longer talk about an impartial judiciary,” he said.
While the president’s ability to issue decrees was an “important power,” such decrees could not limit political or civil rights, Ozbudun said.
The lifting of emergency rule, if carried out, would be a positive step, he said, but did not answer the questions of what policies Erdogan would pursue as he accumulated more power.
“Will they be more conciliatory, or more or less continue the same approach. That remains to be seen,” Ozbudun said.