- The Parliament will elect three members of the court whereas the president currently appoints all members directly or indirectly. The members of the court will increase to 17 from 11 regular members and four substitutes.
- The president will select judges from various courts, the Higher Education Board, senior administrative officers and various other lawyers, widening his choice of appointees.
- Court membership will be limited to one term of 12 years. The only limit currently is a retirement age of 65.
- The reforms also revise the functions and powers of the court, giving the right of individual recourse to the court and allowing for judicial review of the court's decisions to try the parliament speaker and military chiefs.
Judges and prosecutors
- The other most controversial element of the package is reform of the High Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which appoints senior judicial figures and which has frequently clashed with the government. The EU has called for reform of the HSYK to ensure its independence, but critics say the AK Party wants to take over the judiciary to push its own agenda.
- The reforms increase the number of members to 22 regular and 12 substitute members from the current seven members, broadening the representation of judicial officials.
- The jurisdiction of the military courts will be limited to the handling of military offences under the reforms. Offences against state security and the constitutional order will be dealt with exclusively by the civil judiciary.
- Appeals will be possible against decisions by the Supreme Military Council to discharge officers.
- The reforms also abolish an article which prevents the trial of members of the National Security Council formed after the 1980 military coup. This would technically pave the way for those behind the coup to be tried, but it is unclear whether this would be feasible in practice.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned Turkey's largest business organisation, TÜSİAD, that it risks "elimination" if it fails to take a stance on the country's referendum on constitutional change, to be held on 12 September. EurActiv Turkey contributed to this article.
In a TV debate while on a campaign tour on 17 August, Erdoğan called on TÜSİAD, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association, to say whether it is for or against the government's proposed constitutional amendments.
"Declare your stance. If it is no, say 'no.' If it is yes, say 'yes' [...] He who is neutral will be eliminated," Erdoğan said.
Other statements made in recent days also appear questionable. Turkey's chief negotiator with the EU, Egemen Bağış, reportedly said that he would question "the mental health and patriotism of anyone intending to vote against" the constitutional amendments in the referendum.
TÜSİAD rejected any kind of pressure and tutorship over the free will of individuals and stated that Erdoğan's pressure on the business world had no place in modern democracies.
"The warning was an unfortunate act and will certainly not serve the cause of strengthening the role of civil society in modern societies," TÜSİAD said in a statement.
Speaking to EurActiv, Bahadir Kaleagasi, international coordinator at TÜSİAD, described the misplaced statements as "disastrous".
"This wording about TÜSİAD to be eliminated is going too far. The government constitutionally has the power, it controls the military, it controls the security forces, the Ministry of Finance, the public prosecution…having all these powers, if the government threatens a legitimate organization, this is an abuse of constitutional power," Kaleagasi said.
Kaleagasi said he still hoped Erdoğan would "correct this very worrying error". He added that no matter what the result of the constitutional referendum, Turkey would still need a new modern constitution.
"The present constitution, modified or not, does not correspond to the requirements of the competitive Turkish society of the 21st century," he stressed.
Apparently AKP party had crossed certain lines by accusing Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the CHP, the main opposition party, of not having "legitimate" ethnic origins. His mother is Armenian and his father is Kurdish, which they claim turns many Turks hostile to those ethnic groups away from supporting the party.
The president reacts
Apparently concerned by the nasty turn the debate has taken ahead of the referendum, Turkish President Abdullah Gül warned political leaders to watch their manners while campaigning, the Turkish press reported.
"I have difficulty in bringing them together," he said on Wednesday, speaking to journalists travelling with him to Azerbaijan.
The president also criticised parties for urging citizens to vote 'yes' or 'no' without explaining the details of the constitutional amendment.