KHK Forum: The Impact of Decree Laws on Turkish Society


The issuance of decree laws, commonly known as KHK in Turkish, has been a highly debated and controversial topic in Turkey. These legislative measures were introduced as part of the state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July 2016. The purpose of this article is to analyze the impact of KHKs on Turkish society, focusing on the effects they have had on various aspects of life. By examining the legal, social, and political dimensions, we can gain a better understanding of the consequences of these decree laws.


Decree laws, also known as statutory decrees, are legislative instruments that carry the force of law in Turkey. They are issued by the Council of Ministers and used in exceptional circumstances when the Parliament is unable to convene due to extraordinary situations, such as a state of emergency. The KHKs were enacted under the authority granted by the Turkish Constitution in Article 121, which allows the Council of Ministers to issue legislation that has the force of law.

Legal Implications

The KHKs have had significant legal implications for Turkish society. One of the main criticisms of these decree laws is their potential to bypass the normal legislative process, as they do not require parliamentary approval. This has raised concerns about the erosion of democratic principles and the separation of powers. Critics argue that the lack of parliamentary oversight undermines the checks and balances system, concentrating power in the hands of the executive branch.

Furthermore, the KHKs have been criticized for their broad and vague language, which has led to the arbitrary application of laws and potential violations of human rights. Some KHKs have been used to target specific groups or individuals without proper due process, leading to allegations of political repression. The lack of clarity and specificity in the KHKs has also made it difficult for citizens to understand their rights and obligations, creating a sense of uncertainty and fear.

Social Impact

The social impact of KHKs cannot be underestimated. The measures introduced through these decree laws have affected various sectors of society, including education, media, and civil service. One of the most significant impacts has been felt in the education sector, where thousands of teachers and academics have been dismissed from their positions based on alleged links to terrorist organizations. This has disrupted the education system and created a climate of fear among educators.

The media sector has also been heavily affected by the KHKs. Numerous media outlets have been shut down, journalists have been arrested, and freedom of expression has been curtailed. The restrictive measures implemented through the decree laws have limited the diversity of voices in the media landscape and hindered the ability of journalists to report independently.

Additionally, the KHKs have had a profound impact on the civil service. Thousands of public servants have been dismissed or suspended from their positions, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge and expertise. This has not only affected the individuals directly impacted but also the overall functioning of public services.

In conclusion, the issuance of decree laws, or KHKs, has had far-reaching consequences on Turkish society. From a legal perspective, concerns have been raised about the lack of parliamentary oversight and potential human rights violations. On a social level, the education, media, and civil service sectors have been significantly impacted. The next section will delve into the political implications of the KHKs and the debates surrounding their legitimacy and effectiveness.

(Note: The article has been divided into two parts as per the user’s request. The second part will be provided in the next response.)

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Political Implications and Debates

The issuance of KHKs has sparked intense political debates in Turkey, with supporters and critics offering contrasting views on their legitimacy and effectiveness. Proponents of the KHKs argue that they were necessary to swiftly and effectively respond to the threats posed by the failed coup attempt. They believe that the extraordinary circumstances warranted exceptional measures, and the KHKs were a means to restore stability and safeguard national security.

On the other hand, critics argue that the KHKs have been used to suppress dissent and silence opposition voices. They claim that the broad and vague language of the decree laws has allowed for the arbitrary targeting of individuals and groups perceived as threats to the government. Critics further argue that the lack of parliamentary oversight undermines democracy and the principle of separation of powers, concentrating too much power in the hands of the executive branch.

The political implications of the KHKs extend beyond their immediate impact. They have been a point of contention in domestic and international politics, with concerns raised by human rights organizations and foreign governments. Turkey’s adherence to democratic principles and the rule of law has been called into question, and its international reputation has been tarnished. The KHKs have become a symbol of the broader challenges facing Turkish democracy.

The debate surrounding the KHKs also highlights the polarization within Turkish society. Supporters of the government view the KHKs as necessary measures to protect the country from threats, while opponents see them as tools of repression and authoritarianism. This divide has created a deep rift in Turkish society, hindering dialogue and understanding between different segments of the population.

In recent years, efforts have been made to address some of the concerns raised by the KHKs. Amendments have been made to certain decree laws to rectify procedural flaws and provide avenues for appeals and redress. However, critics argue that these changes have been insufficient to address the fundamental issues with the KHKs and that more comprehensive reforms are needed to restore trust in the legal system and protect human rights.


The impact of KHKs on Turkish society has been significant and multifaceted. From a legal standpoint, concerns have been raised about the lack of parliamentary oversight and the potential for human rights violations. Socially, the education, media, and civil service sectors have experienced profound disruptions, affecting individuals and the functioning of these institutions. Politically, the KHKs have fueled intense debates and polarization within Turkish society, with supporters and critics offering contrasting views on their legitimacy and effectiveness.

The challenges posed by the KHKs are complex and require careful consideration. Balancing the need for security and stability with respect for democratic principles and human rights is a delicate task. Addressing the concerns raised by the KHKs requires comprehensive reforms that promote transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.

It is crucial for Turkish society to engage in open and constructive dialogue to find common ground and shape a future that upholds democratic values and protects the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Only through genuine efforts to address the issues raised by the KHKs can Turkey move towards a more inclusive and resilient democracy.

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