On this day January 20, 1921

The first Turkish Constitution was ratified by the Grand National Assembly, making fundamental changes in Turkey by enshrining the principle of national sovereignty.

turkiye_armasiThe Turkish Constitution of 1921 was the first constitution to be ratified by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and remained in force until the ratification of the Constitution of 1924 on April 20, 1924.

It was a relatively short text consisting of twenty-three articles, the first nine articles laying out the principles upon which the state would be founded. It delegated the executive and legislative prerogatives to “the only true delegate of the sovereignty of the Nation”, the National Assembly that was to be elected by direct popular vote.

After the proclamation of the Republic on October 29, 1923, the executive powers were to be exercised by the President and the Council of Ministers on behalf of the National Assembly.

Because of the larger geopolitical conjecture of the time and the lack of a formal declaration of a republic, it failed to mention anything about the role the Sultan might play under this new constitution.

From a technical point of view, it could be argued that it left open the possibility that the Sultanate might not be abolished and that it could have been amended to make way for a constitutional monarchy, similar to one founded by the French Constitution of 1791.

On hindsight, however, it is clear that this omission was on purpose awaiting the outcome of the Independence War and the cessation of hostilities before the proclamation of the Republic.

It also didn’t include any references to the judicial system for similar reasons, nor did it define the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

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