Although the "Regulation on Legislation Preparation Procedures and Principles" includes provisions on legislative processes, as expressed in the second paragraph of the first article of the regulation, the new Regulation includes "The Presidency, ministries, affiliated, related, related institutions and organizations and other public institutions and organizations. It covers the legislative drafts prepared by In addition, as stated in the third paragraph of the first article, "law proposals submitted by the Deputies to the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey" are excluded from the scope of the regulation. Therefore, the new Regulation adopted by the Presidential Decision No. 5210 regulates the legislative work to be prepared by the executive bodies.
In its current form, the new regulation provides a limited opportunity for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to be involved in the legislative preparation processes by the executive bodies. In this context, we provide only general information about the other provisions in the new regulation, focusing largely on the provisions regarding the involvement of NGOs in the legislative preparation process below.
With the 30th article of the new Regulation, which was accepted by Presidential Decision No. 5210 and dated February 23, 2022, the Regulation on the Procedures and Principles of Preparing Legislation adopted by the Council of Ministers Decision dated 19/12/2005 and numbered 2005/9986 has been repealed. It was replaced by the new regulation adopted with Presidential Decision No. 5210. The regulation is essentially a continuation of the previous regulation. With the new provisions added, the number of articles was increased from 28 to 31 and temporary article 1 was added, which provides for harmonization with the legislation that entered into force before the current regulation. Some articles have been shortened, some new paragraphs have been added, and parts of some articles have been changed.
The Role of Civil Society in the New Regulation
In the new regulation, as in the old regulation, the participation of NGOs is regulated within the scope of Article 6 on "Receiving Opinions" and Article 7 on "Disclosure of Opinions". In the new regulation, regarding NGOs, firstly, in the 4th paragraph of Article 6 on "Taking Opinion", the phrase "local administrations, universities, trade unions, professional organizations in the nature of public institutions and non-governmental organizations" is added to the "business and investment environment". We see that the “private sector” has been added. With the second important change, it is understood that the period for giving opinions in paragraph 2 of article 7 for "public institutions and non-governmental organizations" has been reduced to 15 days.
Opinions and Suggestions
First of all, it is seen that the new regulation on the procedures and principles of preparing legislation together with the Presidential system is far from improving and facilitating the participation of civil society, it repeats the previous regulations that were frequently criticized, and even it does not contribute to the strengthening of the right to participation when it is considered that the time for giving opinions is shortened. In addition, there is no information shared with the public about whether opinions were received from "public institutions, professional organizations and non-governmental organizations" during the preparation process of the new regulation.
In the new regulation, the reduction of the time period for public professional organizations and non-governmental organizations to give their opinions on drafts from 30 days to 15 days has a nature to adversely affect the opportunity of NGOs to conduct comprehensive consultations on draft legislation and to express comprehensive opinions with a participatory approach.
Finally, the statement “the opinions of non-governmental organizations (….) are also benefited from” in the 4th paragraph of article 6 of the Regulation is the same as the old regulation and seems to give broad authority to the relevant public institutions in terms of whether or not to receive opinions from NGOs. Therefore, the involvement of NGOs in the legislative preparation processes is left to the discretion of the executive. In this case, considering the previous practices, it may be possible for CSOs to stay out of the process or even if opinions are taken, the contributions received may be of a symbolic nature to increase the legitimacy of the process.
For this reason, the reorganization of Article 6 on consultation in such a way as to make it "obligatory" to seek opinions and consultation, and the reorganization of Article 7 in a way that allows for a comprehensive consultation process, should support the meaningful participation of civil society in decision-making processes as well as public-civil society dialogue. would be a positive development.
Drafts that are of interest to the public may be presented to the public through the internet, press or broadcast by the proposing ministries and public institutions and organizations before being forwarded to the Presidency. In this way, after evaluating the opinions gathered about the draft, a proposal is made.” It can be said that the more frequent use of the provision by the relevant public institutions and organizations may facilitate the fulfillment of the public's obligations to provide information and consult.
On the other hand, the implementation of a governance approach in our country that is structured to strengthen the participation of non-governmental organizations and relevant stakeholders in decision-making processes, where online tools are effectively used, which can be easily followed by NGOs, and which enables the monitoring and evaluation functions of civil society. considered to be essential for the development of democracy.