The Decree Numbered 703 Amending Certain Laws and Decrees for the Purposes of Compliance with the Amendments to the Constitution (the "Decree No. 703") was published in the 3rd repeating Official Gazette dated 9 July 2018 and numbered 30473.
Decree No 703 brings about various transitional amendments to existing legislation, intended to complete Turkey's transition into a new bespoke presidential government system which replaced the parliamentary system that had been in place since the nation's foundation following a referendum held in 2017 and the first presidential elections held in June 2018.
Much of the transitional changes under Decree No. 703 are seemingly editorial but are nevertheless important in highlighting the new distribution of powers within the executive branch.
Amendments in general
One of the most prevalent amendments is the replacement of the references to "Council of Ministers" with the term "President" across all legislation. The President, who is the head of the executive branch, will be exercising all powers previously given to the Council of Ministers going forward.
Another prevalent amendment is the replacement of references to "laws, regulations and by-laws" with the much broader term "any legislation", certainly intended to capture "Presidential Decrees", a newly introduced legislative instrument of the new government system.
Notable amendments to specific legislation
- In accordance with Article 9 of Decree No. 703, the Turkish Electricity Trade and Contracting Corporation ("TETAŞ") has been abolished and TETAŞ and the Electricity Generation Company ("EÜAŞ") has been merged under EÜAŞ. Going forward, EÜAŞ will resume the responsibilities formerly assigned to TETAŞ, such as executing bilateral electrical energy and capacity sale and purchase agreements and selling electrical energy to designated supply companies based on its wholesale tariff. In case EÜAŞ is unable to provide the required electrical energy within the scope of its existing agreements, it will obtain additional electrical energy from companies which operate domestic coal-fired power plants.
- Pursuant to Article 119 of Decree No. 703, title of the "Law on Turkish Atomic Energy Authority" numbered 2690 and dated 9 July 1982 has been changed to the "Law on the Exemptions of the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority and Certain Regulations". Decree No 703 brings several substantive amendments to such law, including, among others, as to the ownership of work products, employee benefits, funding of external projects and the scope of tax exemptions available to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority.
- Pursuant to Article 120 of Decree No. 703, the Law on Facility Construction, Renewal and Service Procurement by the Ministry of Health by way of Public Private Partnership Model and Amendments to Certain Laws and Decrees numbered 6428 and dated 21 February 2013 has been amended to include a one-time only scope of work variation in case new requirements arise during the investment phase that cannot be addressed within the variation regime of existing contracts. Such exceptional variation regime will only apply to contracts executed before 9 July 2018 and will require approval of the President or a commission assigned by the President.
- Pursuant to Article 136 of the Decree No. 703, the qualification criteria of holding a law degree in order to become an administrative judge has been amended to include persons holding university degrees in other areas to be determined by the Ministry of Justice.
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