The Legal Effects of the New Presidential System on Turkey's Treaty-Making Practice


EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, vol.33, no.2, pp.579-606, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 33 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/ejil/chac032
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Periodicals Index Online, ABI/INFORM, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCO Legal Collection, EBSCO Legal Source, HeinOnline-Law Journal Library, Index Islamicus, Index to Legal Periodicals, Index to legal periodicals & books, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.579-606
  • Galatasaray University Affiliated: Yes


Turkey has always assigned important powers to the legislature, establishing a strong parliamentary tradition. This also applies to the treaty-making process of the state. However, in 2017, the governmental structure was changed from a parliamentary system into a presidential one. This article examines the implications of this transformation on national rules concerning the ratification/termination of treaties, with special emphasis on the withdrawal decision of Turkey from the Istanbul Convention. It is first argued that the new system empowers the president on his/her own to put the Republic under international obligations without assuming political responsibility. It is then argued that the withdrawal decision is unconstitutional, demonstrating that the expansion, without checks and balances, of presidential powers may result in the arbitrary application of the domestic principles of treaty termination. The validity of the decision under the VCLT is also discussed. It is concluded that international law has its limits in intervening in cases of violations of national rules concerning the termination of treaties. It is finally argued that the attribution of all competences concerning the various stages of treaty-making to only one person may have consequences on invalidity claims that Turkey may raise concerning its consent to be bound by treaties.