President of Turkey

Last updated

President of the
Republic of Türkiye
Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanı (Turkish)
Emblem of the Presidency of Turkey.svg
Flag of the President of Turkey.svg
Presidential Standard
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in January 2024 (cropped).jpg
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
since 28 August 2014
Executive branch of the Turkish government
Status Head of state
Head of government
Member of Cabinet
National Security Council
Supreme Military Council
Residence Presidential Complex
Appointer Direct popular vote
Term length Five years, renewable once
Constituting instrument Constitution of Turkey
Inaugural holder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Formation29 October 1923
Deputy Speaker of the Grand National Assembly (1923–1961, 1982–2018)
Chairman of the Senate (1961–1980)
Vice President (2018–present)
Salary 1,428,000/US$ 75,435 (2023) [1]

The president of Turkey, officially the president of the Republic of Türkiye (Turkish : Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanı), is the head of state and head of government of Turkey. The president directs the executive branch of the national government and is the commander-in-chief of the Turkish military. The president also heads the National Security Council.


The office of the president of Turkey was established with the proclamation of the Republic of Türkiye on 29 October 1923, with the first president and founder being Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. [2] [3] Traditionally, the presidency was mostly a ceremonial position, with real executive authority being exercised by the prime minister of Turkey. However, constitutional amendments approved in the 2017 constitutional referendum abolished the office of prime minister, and vested the presidency with full executive powers, effective upon the 2018 general election. [4] [5] The president is directly elected by eligible Turkish voters for a five-year term. [6] [7]

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the first president. Ataturk1930s.jpg
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first president.

The president of Turkey is referred to as Cumhurbaşkanı ("Republic leader"), and previously archaically as Cumhurreisi or Reis-i Cumhur, also meaning "head of the republic/people". [8] [9]

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the 12th and current president of Turkey, who has held the office since 28 August 2014. He was reelected for a 3rd term on 28 May 2023, which is set to last until May 2028.


The office of the President was established with the proclamation of the republic on October 29, 1923. In the voting held on the same day, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was unanimously elected as the first president. From this date until 2014, all presidents except Kenan Evren were elected by the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Among the former presidents, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, İsmet İnönü and Celâl Bayar served as presidents affiliated with a political party. Atatürk and İnönü continued to serve as both the chairman and the president of the Republican People's Party, while Celâl Bayar resigned from the Democrat Party chairmanship when he started his presidency, but continued to be a party member during his presidency.

With the 1961 Constitution made after the 1960 coup, it was decided that presidents should cut off any relation with political parties. Evren, who was governing the country as the head of state and the head of the National Security Council after the 1980 coup, was appointed to the Presidency on November 7, 1982, when the constitution was adopted by popular vote, in accordance with the first provisional article of the 1982 Constitution.

With the 2007 constitutional amendment referendum, it was decided that the president would be elected by the people, and in the first elections held on 10 August 2014 after this change, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president by the people. The president, who is the head of state, is also the head of government after the 2017 constitutional amendment referendum.

Leadership roles

Head of state

As head of state, the president represents the Turkish government to its own people, and represents the nation to the rest of the world. Insulting the head of state is prohibited by Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code. [10]

Head of party

Leaders of political parties are generally expected to run as a presidential candidate for their party. However, they can also decide not to run as a candidate and contribute to the process of nominating other individuals.

From 1961 until 2017, Turkish presidents were required to sever all relations, if any, with their political party. [11] This convention existed to ensure the president's impartiality in presiding over the Turkish constitutional system. However, the presidency's reorientation in 2017 into a chief executive office abolished this convention, given a president's assumption of office as winners of a partisan electoral contest. [11]

Selection process


Article 101, Section 1 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for holding the presidency. To serve as president, one must:

If a presidential candidate is a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, they must resign their seat due to separation of powers.


The principles regarding the election of the President are regulated in Article 101 of the Constitution and in the Presidential Election Law. [13]

In the election to be held by universal suffrage, the candidate who receives the absolute majority of the valid votes is elected president. If this majority is not achieved in the first round, a runoff is held on the second Sunday following this vote. The two candidates who received the most votes in the first ballot participate in this voting and the candidate who receives the majority of the valid votes is elected president.

If one of the presidential candidates who gains the right to run for the second round is unable to participate in the election for any reason, the second round shall be conducted by substituting the vacant candidacy in conformity with the ranking in the first round. If only one candidate remains for the second round, this ballot shall be then conducted as a referendum. A presidential candidate receives the majority of the valid votes shall be elected as president. If that candidate fails to receive the majority of the valid votes in the election, the presidential election will be scheduled to be renewed. [14]

Before the constitutional amendments approved in the 2007 referendum, the Grand National Assembly would elect one of its members as the President. [15]


Before executing the powers of the office, a president is required to recite the presidential Oath of Office, found in Article 103, Section 1 of the Constitution. This is the only component in the inauguration ceremony mandated by the Constitution:

In my capacity as President of the Republic, I swear upon my honour and integrity before the Great Turkish Nation and before history to safeguard the existence and independence of the state, the indivisible integrity of the country and the nation, and the absolute sovereignty of the nation, to abide by the Constitution, the rule of law, democracy, the principles and reforms of Atatürk, and the principles of the secular republic, not to deviate from the ideal according to which everyone is entitled to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms under conditions of national peace and prosperity and in a spirit of national solidarity and justice, and do my utmost to preserve and exalt the glory and honour of the Republic of Turkey and perform without bias the functions that I have assumed. [16]

The inauguration happens in the Grand National Assembly. The oath is broadcast live on TBMM-TV regardless of it is a regular business day of the Grand National Assembly. [17]


Term limit

The president is elected for a term of office of five years and is eligible for one re-election. An exception exists when a president's term ends with a parliamentary decision (i.e., impeachment and removal from office). In this case, the president may be re-elected for an additional term, with the incomplete term not counting against the two-term limit. [18]

The term of the incumbent president continues until the president-elect takes office. Before the constitutional amendment approved in the 2007 referendum, the president used to be elected for a single seven-year term.

Vacancies and successions

In the event that the office of the President becomes vacant for any reason and there is one year or less before the general election of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the election of the president is held together with the general election of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on the first Sunday following the sixtieth day after the vacancy of the office.

In the event that the office of the President becomes vacant for any reason and there is more than one year remaining for the general election of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the presidential election is held on the last Sunday within forty-five days following the day the office is vacant. The president elected in this way continues his duty until the election date of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. For the president who has completed the remaining term, this period is not counted as a term.

If the elections are not completed, the current president's office continues until the new one takes office.

In the event that the Turkish Grand National Assembly decides that it is not possible to hold new elections due to the war, the presidential election is postponed for one year. If the reason for the postponement has not disappeared, this process can be repeated according to the procedure in the postponement decision.

Accountability and non-accountability

After the 2017 constitutional amendment

2017 constitutional referendum extended the president's accountability beyond impeachment due to high treason. According to the constitutional amendments approved in the referendum, the Grand National Assembly may initiate an investigation of the president, the vice president or any member of the Cabinet upon the proposal of simple majority of its total members, and within a period less than a month, the approval of three-fifths of the total members. The investigation would be carried out by a commission of fifteen members of the Assembly, each nominated by the political parties in proportion to their representation therein. The commission would submit its report indicating the outcome of the investigation to the speaker within two months. If the investigation is not completed within this period, the commission's time renewed for another month. Within ten days of its submission to the speaker, the report would be distributed to all members of the Assembly, and ten days after its distribution, the report would be discussed on the floor. Upon the approval of two-thirds of the total number of the Assembly by secret vote, the person or persons, about whom the investigation was conducted, may be tried before the Constitutional Court. The trial would be finalized within three months, and if not, a one-time additional period of three months shall be granted.

A president about whom an investigation has been initiated may not call for an election. A president who is convicted by the Court would be removed from office.

The provision of this article shall also apply to the offenses for which the president allegedly worked during his term of office.

Before the 2017 constitutional amendment

Before the 2017 constitutional referendum, the president was not accountable for its actions and orders, except for impeachment due to high treason. All presidential decrees, except those which the president is empowered to enact on his own, had to be signed by the prime minister and the minister concerned, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and other laws. Thus, the prime minister and the concerned ministers were accountable for these decrees, not the president. The decisions and orders signed by the president on his own initiatives may not be appealed to any judicial authority, including the Constitutional Court. The only accountability the president had was impeachment for high treason on the proposal of at least one-third of the total number of the members of the parliament and by the decision of at least three-fourths of the total number of the members. [19]


Presidential Palace is located in Ankara Presidential Palace Main.jpg
Presidential Palace is located in Ankara

The Presidential Complex in Ankara is the official residence of the president. It was formally inaugurated as the official residence of the president by Erdoğan on the country's Republic Day, 29 October 2014. [20] From 1923 to 2014, the Çankaya Mansion served as the residence of the presidents. The Presidential State Guesthouse  [ tr ] serves as the president's official guest house and as a secondary residence for the president if needed. The Huber Mansion, the Florya Atatürk Marine Mansion and the Vahdettin Pavilion have been used as presidential workplace or as summer residence.

Duties and responsibilities

The president's duties are stated in the Articles 104 of the Constitution.

The president performs also the duties of selection and appointment, and other duties conferred by the Constitution and statutes.

Acting President

The official Seal of the Presidency, used on documents. Seal of the Presidency (used on documents).jpg
The official Seal of the Presidency, used on documents.

After the 2017 constitutional referendum

According to the constitutional amendments approved in the 2017 referendum, in the event of a temporary absence of the president on account of illness, travel abroad or similar circumstances, the vice president of Turkey serves as Acting President, and exercises the powers of the president until the president comes back. If the office of the presidency becomes vacant for any reason, the presidential election shall be held within forty-five days and in the meantime, the vice president shall act as and exercise the powers of the president until the next president is elected. If one year or less remains for the general election, the parliamentary election will be conducted at the same time. If more than a year remains, the newly elected president will continue to serve until the next general election. [21] [22]

Before the 2017 constitutional referendum

Before the constitutional amendments approved in the 2017 referendum, the speaker of the Grand National Assembly served as Acting President in cases where the presidency is temporarily or permanently vacant and exercises presidential powers until the president returns to duty or the new president is elected within 45 days. [23]

Latest election

Presidential elections were held in Turkey in May 2023, alongside parliamentary elections, to elect a president for a term of five years. [24] [25]

Timeline of presidents

The following timeline depicts the progression of the presidents and their political affiliation at the time of assuming office.

Recep Tayyip ErdoğanAbdullah GülAhmet Necdet SezerSüleyman DemirelTurgut ÖzalKenan EvrenFahri KorutürkCevdet SunayCemal GürselCelâl Bayarİsmet İnönüMustafa Kemal AtatürkPresident of Turkey

See also

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