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Turkey Country Profile

Prepared by: The Mountain Home Delegation for Idaho Model U.N. – 2023

Political Profile

The Republic of Turkey has a presidential representative democracy. Its political power is exercised in three branches: executive, legislative, and judiciary. The executive power is exercised through the Council of Ministers, appointed and headed by the president. The president serves as the country’s head of state and head of government, they also have veto power, can issue presidential decree, and appoints members of the cabinet and officers that enforce national laws and policies. The president is elected by the voters, which are all people above 18 years old. Turkey has granted universal suffrage to both sexes since 1934. The first ever vice president was appointed in 2018 by the president. Legislative power is vested in the Grand National Assembly, which is the unicameral Parliament that makes laws, deals with bills, declares war, proclaims pardons, and impeaches. The judicial branch is made of four supreme courts outlined in the Turkish constitution. These courts are the Constitutional Court (for constitutional adjudication and review of individual applications concerning human rights), the Court of Cassation (final decision maker in ordinary judiciary), the Council of State (final decision maker in administrative judiciary) and the Court of Jurisdictional Disputes (for resolving the disputes between courts for constitutional jurisdiction). Since the end of World War II, Turkey has operated as a multi-party system. The right side of Turkish political parties include the Democrat Party, Motherland Party, and the Justice and Development Party, which was at one time the biggest political party in the country. Left side parties include the Democratic Left Party and
Republicans People’s Party, which was the largest of the left parties. Right side parties often embrace parts of conservative and nationalist ideals, while left side parties embrace socialism and Kemalism. In order for any political party to gain representation in Parliament, a party must gain at least a 7% vote in a national parliamentary election.

Major people in Turkish politics:

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – President
Fuat Oktay – Vice President
Zühtü Arslan – Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court

Zeki Yiğit – Chief Justice of the Council of State
Mehmet Akarca – Chief Justice of the Court of Cassation

Economy

Turkey has an emerging market economy, as defined by the International Monetary Fund. Turkey is often classified as a newly industrialized country by economists and political scientists. Turkey has the world’s 18th largest nominal GDP, and 15th largest GDP by PPP. The country is among the world’s leading producers of agricultural products; textiles; motor vehicles, ships and other transportation equipment; construction materials; consumer electronics and home appliances. The Turkish textile industry has been around for centuries and it is one of the big contributors to the country’s GDP. And over the past few years, textile exports have increased multifold. Turkey’s exports also include energy resources; more than 71% of Turkey’s exports are aviation fuels, diesel oil and gasoline.

National Security

Relations with Iraq
Turkey contributes to the upholding of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions by hosting Operation Northern Watch (ONW), based on UNSC resolutions by which allied planes patrol the no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in northern Iraq. Turkey recently reached an agreement with the United States on rules of engagement for ONW. Aircraft can attack Iraqi targets only in self-defense, but the concept of self- defense must be interpreted in today’s technological situation. For example, aircraft may have to respond in self-defense to radar-tracking, not merely missile-firings. In Turkish history, the armed forces have always been a promoter of progress. They have intervened in Turkish politics three times in fifty years. The military has the legal duty to protect the republic. Like all citizens, the military must protect Turkey’s nature as a secular, democratic, social state based on rule of law. In recent times, the army took the lead in doing this, but it was
supported by civilians. In fact, the military does not like to get involved in politics. Turkey’s top security body hinted Thursday at a new military operation on the country’s southern border following recent statements from Turkish officials and clashes with PKK terrorists. Current and future military operations being conducted on Turkey’s southern borders do not target the territorial integrity of its neighbors, but stem from national security needs and will contribute to their security as well, the National Security Council (MGK) said in a statement. Turkey borders Syria and Iraq to its south, and has worked to eliminate existing terrorist bases and prevent new ones that would threaten its national security and the safety of locals across its borders.

Role in the United Nations

In recent years, Turkey has adopted a more proactive approach towards the UN. Closely following the UN’s agenda, Turkey strives to engage in the work of the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies to the extent possible. In doing so, Turkey benefits from its membership to different groups as well as regional and international organizations, and makes every effort to play a constructive and reconciliatory role on current issues. Turkey has also been taking an interest in global issues which are prominent in the UN’s agenda, even though they do not necessarily fall within the traditional domain of Turkish foreign policy. Within this framework, the progress achieved in terms of economic growth and development in recent years, new outreach policies towards the African and Latin American countries, flourishing relations with those countries in remote geographies preceding and during Turkey’s membership to the UN Security Council, the accession process to the European Union, membership to the G-20 as well as Turkey’s increasing official development aid to those countries in need have all provided significant opportunities to further enhance Turkey’s contributions to the UN development agenda. Consequently, the 4th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries held between 9 and 13 May 2011 in Istanbul enabled Turkey to clearly demonstrate its support and contributions to international development cooperation. As the host of this Conference, Turkey has assumed the responsibility to draw the attention of the international community to the challenges faced by the LDCs in the next decade, as an advocate for the LDCs. Turkey is emerging as a center for international organizations, including the UN. The Regional Bureau of Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) was recently inaugurated in Istanbul. In line with the strategic partnership developed between Turkey and the UNDP, Istanbul also hosts the UN International Center for Private Sector in Development. Turkey’s membership in the UN Security Council, the most important forum to achieve and maintain international peace and security, during the term 2009-2010 provided new and further opportunities in the international arena and the UN. Turkey has always been one of the most prominent defenders of the principles and goals stipulated in the UN Charter, and supported the resolution of international disputes through multilateral cooperation. Throughout this term of membership in the Security Council, which came after nearly half a century, Turkey participated in the work of the Council and made its contributions on a multitude of issues most of which are already on its own foreign policy agenda, enriched both in depth and scope in recent
years. Turkey is determined to support the UN in every possible way and wishes to enhance its contributions to international peace, security and stability as well as to further its efforts towards the strengthening of fundamental principles and values such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Thus, Turkey has announced its candidacy for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council Candidacy for the term 2015-2016.

Current Role in Global Youth Affairs

Youth is an important component of public policies in Turkey. Youth work in Turkey has been beneficial in covering areas, and tasks, and are responsible public units. Components of youth work and duties based on these include supporting the social development of the youth, improving services provided to the youth, supervising projects aimed at the youth, providing inter-institutional coordination carrying out works regarding the youth, and making opportunities for participation. The main legal instrument that is shaping the work in Turkey determines policy and targets aimed at both strengthening the youth and ensuring participation. Allowing children at the age of 15 minimum the opportunity to be able to be employed, 18 years is the age for any jobs that can be seen as hazardous for the youth. They also strive to get rid of child labor and strive for more consent child work. The Turkish government has made efforts to combat the high levels of child labor with a variety of government-funded programs. The Conditional Education and Health Care Assistance Program through cash transfers give the children food and books to further benefit them greater into society. In 2017, 190,000 children benefited from this program, allowing the youth to not have to work to benefit themselves when their families could not. Allowing once again for them to have the option to work to benefit their family instead of being forced. Showing that turkey is striving to get rid of child labor within itself to make all that live there have a sustainably greater quality of life.