National Constitutional provisions – Turkey
The constitution is the fundamental law of the country, reflecting the underlying and unifying values of society. It spells out the basic rights of each person; it serves as a framework for all other laws and policies, and cannot be easily changed. However, it can be changed and updated through a democratic process, and it is important to keep it alive, by popularising and using it, and by campaigning for its reform or amendment if necessary. Below we have picked out what we see as some of the most relevant articles, but please be encouraged to seek and read your constitution in its entirety.
The state is the central actor in any claim to the right to education: it is the prime duty-bearer and the prime implementer; it is the guarantor; and it is the state´s signature vis-à-vis the international norms and standards which binds it to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education. The state must therefore be judged or challenged on its central text on the right to education, whether this be the constitution, the laws or the policies.
The Constitution of Turkey 7 November 1982-2007
(1) No one shall be deprived of the right of learning and education.
(2) The scope of the right to education shall be defined and regulated by law.
(3) Training and education shall be conducted along the lines of the principles and reforms of Atatürk, on the basis of contemporary science and educational methods, under the supervision and control of the state. Institutions of training and education contravening these provisions shall not be established.
(4) The freedom of training and education does not relieve the individual from loyalty to the Constitution.
(5)Primary education is compulsory for all citizens of both sexes and is free of charge in state schools.
(6) The principles governing the functioning of private primary and secondary schools shall be regulated by law in keeping with the standards set for state schools.
(7) The state shall provide scholarships and other means of assistance to enable students of merit lacking financial means to continue their education. The state shall take necessary measures to rehabilitate those in need of special training so as to render such people useful to society.
(8) Training, education, research, and study are the only activities that shall be pursued at institutions of training and education. These activities shall not be obstructed in any way.
(9) No language other than Turkish shall be taught as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens at any institutions of training or education. Foreign languages to be taught in institutions of training and education and the rules to be followed by schools conducting training and education in a foreign language shall be determined by law. The provisions of international treaties are reserved.
Part 3, Chapter Two
(1) For the purpose of training manpower under a system of contemporary education and training principles and meeting the needs of the nation and the country, universities comprising several units will be established by the state and by law as public corporations having autonomy in teaching, assigned to educate, train at different levels after secondary education, and conduct research, to act as consultants, to issue publications and to serve the country and humanity.
(2) Institutions of higher education, under the supervision and control of the state, can be established by foundations in accordance with the procedures and principles set forth in the law provided that they do not pursue lucrative aims.
(3) The law shall provide for a balanced geographical distribution of universities throughout the country.
(4) Universities, members of the teaching staff and their assistants may freely engage in all kinds of scientific research and publication. However, this shall not include the liberty to engage in activities directed against the existence and independence of the state, and against the integrity and indivisibility of the Nation and the Country.
(5) Universities and units attached to them are under the control and supervision of the state and their security is ensured by the state.
(6) University rectors shall be appointed by the President of the Republic, and faculty deans by the Higher Education Council, in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the law.
(7) The administrative and supervisory organs of the universities and the teaching staff may not for any reason whatsoever be removed from their office by authorities other than those of the competent organs of the university or by the Higher Education Council.
(8)The budgets drawn up by universities, after being examined and approved by the Higher Education Council shall be presented to the Ministry of National Education, and shall be put into effect and supervised in conformity with the principles applied to general and subsidiary budgets.
(9) The establishment of institutions of higher education and their organs, their functioning and elections, their duties, authorities and responsibilities, the procedures to be followed by the state in the exercise of the right to supervise and inspect the universities, the duties of the teaching staff, their titles, appointments, promotions and retirement, the training of the teaching staff, the relations of the universities and the teaching staff with public institutions and other organisations, the level and duration of education, admission of students into institutions of higher education, attendance requirements and fees, principles relating to assistance to be provided by the state, disciplinary and penalty matters, financial affairs, personnel rights, conditions to be conformed with by the teaching staff, the assignment of the teaching staff in accordance with inter-university requirements, the pursuance of training and education in freedom and under guarantee and in accordance with the requirements of contemporary science and technology, and the use of financial resources provided by the state to the Higher Education Council and the universities, shall be regulated by law.
(10) Institutions of higher education established by foundations shall be subject to the provisions set forth in the Constitution for state institutions of higher education, as regards the academic activities, recruitment of teaching staff and security, except for financial and administrative matters.
Part 3, Chapter Two
(1) The Higher Education Council shall be established to plan, organise, administer, and supervise education provided by institutions of higher education, to orient teaching activities, education and scientific research, to ensure the establishment and development of these institutions in conformity with the objectives and principles set forth by law, to ensure the effective use of the resources allotted to the universities, and to plan the training of the teaching staff.
(2) The Higher Education Council is composed of members appointed by the President of the Republic from among candidates who are nominated by the Council of Ministers and universities, and in accordance with the numbers, qualifications and procedures prescribed by law, priority being given to those who have served successfully as faculty members or rectors, and of members directly appointed by the President of the Republic.
(3) The organisation, functions, authority, responsibilities and operating principles of the Council shall be regulated by law.
Part 2, Chapter 2
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religious belief and conviction.
(2) Acts of worship, religious services, and ceremonies shall be conducted freely, provided that they do not violate the provisions of Article 14.
(3) No one shall be compelled to worship, or to participate in religious ceremonies and rites, to reveal religious beliefs and convictions, or be blamed or accused because of his religious beliefs and convictions.
(4) Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under state supervision and control. Instruction in religious culture and moral education shall be compulsory in the curricula of primary and secondary schools. Other religious education and instruction shall be subject to the individual's own desire, and in the case of minors, to the request of their legal representatives.
(5) No one shall be allowed to exploit or abuse religion or religious feelings, or things held sacred by religion, in any manner whatsoever, for the purpose of personal or political influence, or for even partially basing the fundamental, social, economic, political, and legal order of the state on religious tenets.
(1) The family is the foundation of the Turkish society and based on the equality between the spouses.
(2) The state shall take the necessary measures and establish the necessary organisation to ensure the peace and welfare of the family, especially where the protection of the mother and children is involved, and recognizing the need for education in the practical application of family planning.
The state shall take the necessary measures to ensure family unity, the education of the children, the cultural needs, and the social security of Turkish nationals working abroad, and shall take the necessary measures to safeguard their ties with the home country and to help them on their return home.