Factual mistakes in BBC article about Turkey's constitutional amendment

Time to read
1 minute
Read so far

Factual mistakes in BBC article about Turkey's constitutional amendment

2017-02-10 11:50 GMT
Posted in:

BBC correspondent Mark Lowen's article includes factual mistakes about Turkey's constitutional amendment

Mark Lowen had an article about Turkey’s recent constitutional amendment and the country’s upcoming referendum published on the BBC news website on 10 February 2017. There are several mistakes among the numerous changes Lowen presents in the article.

Firstly, Lowen claims that the Turkish president approves the budget. This is incorrect because in the proposed amendment the president makes the budget and then presents it to the parliament, which bears the right NOT to approve the budget. Moreover, the members of the parliament are given the right to monitor the spendings of the budget if they choose to approve it. Additionally, if the parliament members do not approve the budget, the new budget is formed based on the last year's numbers in order not to obstruct the system.

Secondly, Lowen claims that the president would be able to dismiss parliament. This claim is also groundless in that the president cannot dismiss the parliament but can renew the elections on condition that he gives up on his existing term in office as well.

If the President decides to renew elections, he cannot stay untouched, which would be the case in the "dismissal of the parliament".

Third, Lowen mistakenly claims that president would be given powers to choose the majority of supreme and constitutional court judges. The proposed amendment does NOT change the number of the members of the Supreme Court chosen by the president. Both in the current system and the proposed change the president chooses four members, which is not the majority.

What's new in the proposed change is that the parliament is given the right to choose seven members of a total of 13 members, which is the majority. See the table below for the numbers.

Likewise, the number of the members of the Constitutional Court the president chooses decreased from 14 to 12. The president does choose the majority at the moment and he would do so in the proposed amendments as well.

However, the Constitutional Court members’ time in office was limited to 12 years after a constitutional change passed in 2010. The new amendment would not allow the president to renew members unless their 12-year period in office expires. 

Mark Lowen's article has been altered after our fact-check. See here for more information.