Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Turkey: Jurisdiction of Military Courts Decreased

(Aug. 28, 2009) On June 26, 2009, the Parliament of Turkey enacted Law No. 5918, on Amendments to the Turkish Penal Code and Other Laws. The President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, approved the Law, which became effective on July 9, 2009. The Law was passed in order to limit the jurisdiction of military courts to crimes committed in connection with the military duties of military personnel. Making this change is one of the short-term priorities listed in the Turkey Accession Partnership annexed to the Council of Europe decision of February 18, 2008. (Turk Ceza Kanunu Ile Bazi Kanunlarda Deghishiklik Yapilmasina Dair Kanun [The Law on Amendments to the Turkish Penal Code and Other Laws], No. 5918 of June 26, 2009, RESMI GAZETE [OFFICIAL GAZETTE], No. 27283, July, 9, 2009, available at; 2008/157/EC: Council Decision of 18 February 2008 on the Principles, Priorities and Conditions Contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey and Repealing Decision 2006/35/EC, OFFICIAL JOURNAL (L 051) 4-18 [of Feb. 26, 2008], available at

Under the amendments, crimes stipulated in the Military Penal Code or other laws falling within the jurisdiction of the military courts, and committed during peace time by non-military personnel, alone or together with military personnel, are subject to investigation by civilian prosecutors of the Republic and to judicial proceedings of the civilian courts of justice. (RESMI GAZETE, supra.) The adopted amendments have become the subject of a disagreement between the governing party and the opposition, and on July 23, 2009, following a request from the parliamentarians who contest the legal effect of this Law, the Constitutional Court of Turkey held an initial hearing on a constitutional review of the amendment, at which it decided to hold a review of the legal effect of the Law on a subsequent date, at the main hearing. (23 Temmuz 2009 Pershembe Gunu Saat 9.30'da Yapilan Mahkeme Toplantisinda Gorushulen Dosyalar ve Sonuchlari [Records and Decisions Made at the Court Meeting Held on Thursday, July 23, 2009], Constitutional Court of Turkey official website, (last visited Aug. 25, 2009).)

The Law introduced a number of other amendments as well, which establish the criminal liability of legal entities for the commission of certain crimes (e.g., fraud, trafficking, money laundering, financing of terrorism, etc.). (Turkey Military Court Law Passed, BBC NEWS, July 9, 2009, available at