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President Erdoğan gives himself the power to declare a mobilization

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has granted himself the authority to declare a mobilization in Turkey, a power that previously rested with the cabinet, with a new regulation published in the country’s Official Gazette on Wednesday.

The “Mobilization and State of War Regulation” replaces the former “Mobilization and State of War Decree,” which had been in effect since 1990. The new regulation outlines the principles and procedures for implementing a mobilization and state of war provisions, including preparation, organization, duties and responsibilities of public administration personnel and legal entities.

According to the regulation, the president can declare a general or partial mobilization in the event of an uprising, a strong and active insurrection against the nation or the republic, or behavior that endangers the country’s and nation’s indivisibility from internal or external threats. Such a decision will be immediately published in the Official Gazette and presented to the parliament for approval on the same day.

With the enactment of the new regulation, several older regulations, including the 1980 Turkish Armed Forces logistical mobilization preparedness regulation, the 1991 Turkish Armed Forces personnel mobilization regulation and the 2010 reserve personnel deferment regulation, have been annulled. References to the repealed mobilization and state of war decree in the legislation will now be considered to be references to the new regulation.

Mobilization is defined as the preparation, assembly, arrangement and use of all state power and resources, particularly military power, to meet the needs of war, during which the rights and freedoms of citizens can be partially or entirely restricted by law. The Ministry of Defense describes mobilization as the state when the country and the nation prepare for war.

Partial mobilization applies to one or more regions of the country, requiring only some of the state’s power and resources. The new regulation emphasizes the president’s role in these preparations and activities during mobilization.

Former Turkish Navy commander Mehmet Dağcı criticized the change on X, stating that transferring mobilization declaration authority from the cabinet to the presidency consolidates power in a single person. He expressed concerns that the regulation aims to protect the regime from internal uprisings and potential insurrections, rather than external threats.

Journalist Alican Uludağ of Deutsche Welle’s Turkish edition questioned the intentions behind the regulation on X, suggesting that it could be used to suppress civil unrest similar to the Gezi Park protests. He warned that Erdoğan could declare a mobilization or state of emergency across the country or in specific regions under such pretexts.

Some legal experts have pointed out that it is a routine change that was made necessary with the country’s transition to a presidential system of governance with a referendum on 2017, as this constitutional change already gave the powers previously held by the cabinet under the parliamentary system of governance to the president.

The regulation stipulates that preparations and activities related to mobilization will be coordinated by the presidency. Article 15 of the Turkish Constitution allows for the partial or complete suspension of fundamental rights and freedoms during war, mobilization, or extraordinary situations, provided that international obligations are not violated.

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