The Reflections of the 1921 Constitution on Turkey’s Fiscal Law OrderBarış Bahçeci
This study examines the identity of the fiscal law order shaped by constitutional rules during the period of the 1921 Constitution. The main source for the study is the minutes of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), where financial rules are enacted and financial problems discussed. The time period that is the subject of the research is the period of the 1921 Constitution: between April 23, 1920, when the TGNA was convened, and April 24, 1924, when the 1924 Constitution and the first regular budget were enacted. Although the 1921 Constitution does not directly contain a regulation on the fiscal legal order, the change in this order was influenced by the rules of national sovereignty and the supremacy of the assembly. The study is divided into two chapters, one focusing on the issue of legality and the other on budgetary power, which are different reflections of these constitutional rules in financial law. In the first part, the application of legality is examined in terms of how its features differentiate it from the previous period, its functions in this period, and its legacy in the subsequent constitutional period. The second part analyzes how the TGNA reacted to the problem, and extraordinary role, of budget-making and control, which has been ongoing since the period of the Ottoman Parliament (Mebusan Meclisi). Thus, it was possible to reveal how the period of the 1921 Constitution differed from the previous and subsequent periods in terms of its effect on fiscal law. The outputs obtained from the study show the emergence of an identity of the Assembly that did not previously exist.
1921 Anayasasının Türkiye’nin Mali Hukuk Düzenine YansımalarıBarış Bahçeci
Bu çalışma 1921 Anayasası dönemindeki mali hukuk düzeninin, anayasal kurallarla şekillenen kimliğini incelemektedir. Çalışmanın temel kaynağı, mali kuraların konulduğu ve mali sorunların tartışıldığı Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi (TBMM) tutanaklarıdır. Araştırma konusu zaman dilimi, 1921 Anayasası dönemi olarak kabul edilen, TBMM’nin açıldığı 23 Nisan 1920 ile 1924 Anayasasının ve ilk düzenli bütçenin kabul edildiği 24 Nisan 1924 tarihleri arasıdır. 1921 Anayasası mali hukuk düzenine ilişkin doğrudan bir hüküm içermez. Ancak içerdiği milli egemenlik ve meclisin üstünlüğü kuralları, mali hukukla kanunilik ve bütçe yetkisi başlıkları altında bir etkileşim oluşturur. Çalışma bu bağlamda iki bölüme ayrılmış, ilk bölümde kanunilik uygulaması, hem 1876 AY döneminden farklılaşan özellikleri, hem bu dönemdeki işlevleri hem de 1924 AY dönemine bırakılan miras açılarından irdelenmiştir. İkinci bölümde ise Mebusan Meclisi döneminden beri süregelen bütçe yapım ve denetimi sorununa TBMM’nin verdiği tepki ve üstlendiği sıra dışı rol analiz edilmiştir. Böylece 1921 Anayasası döneminin mali hukuka etkisi açısından önceki ve sonraki dönemlerden farkı açığa çıkarılmıştır. Çalışmadan elde edilen çıktılar, bu dönemde Türk hukukunda daha önce olmamış ve daha sonra da karşılaşılmayan bir meclis kimliğinin varlığını göstermektedir.
This study describes the fiscal law order in Turkey during the period of the 1921 Constitution and analyzes the effects of the change in the constitutional order on the fiscal law rules. The main source for the study is the official minutes of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), which is responsible for discussing fiscal law issues and creating rules. The data obtained from this source were generalized by induction, and the observed change was analyzed in comparison with the data in the previous and subsequent periods.
The 1921 Constitution resulted from a republican political program against the Ottoman monarchy and the Istanbul government and from a nationalist political movement against both the Allied Powers and some ethnic groups in Turkey that supported their occupation. This program ultimately prevailed and manifested itself in the two constitutional concepts—national sovereignty and unity of forces (the supremacy of the assembly)—distilled in the text of the 1921 Constitution. Therefore, in the first part of this study, an answer is sought to the question of how the concept of national sovereignty was created with fiscal legislations in this period. The second part, however, focuses on the various effects and consequences of the change in the use of the budgetary authority, which embodies the concept of parliamentary supremacy.
With respect to the first issue, the authority to impose fiscal burdens, given to the legislature under the 1876 Constitution, but not generally implemented at this time, was radically embraced by the TGNA during this period. The sharpest reaction here was directed at fiscal transactions in the form of decrees that were followed by the Ottoman government. Under the influence of the policy of national sovereignty, financial regulation was left solely to the law. Undoubtedly, legality is not just such a formal choice. It also functioned to replace Ottoman domination with the sovereignty of the TGNA and to provide a legal basis for de facto actions. Second, it became the basis for both the control of the executive and for the executive’s rejection of demands made against it. Thus, legality constitutes the basis of legal boundaries and the new regime for all power centers.
Regarding the second issue, the effect of the period on the use of budgetary power reveals a more unusual picture. Despite the ongoing inability to make a regular budget that it inherited from the Ottoman legal order, the TGNA used its budget-making power through the Budget Commission that directed the ministries. Nevertheless, to judge by the performance of the budget and final account laws, the TGNA seems to have been relatively unsuccessful as a legislative body. One of the main reasons for this is the absence of a disciplined party structure. However, for the first time, the parliament decided that the ministers should pay compensation to the treasury on the grounds that they harmed the state, based on the legal responsibility of the ministers. At the same time, as an example of political accountability, ministers held responsible for acting arbitrarily or ignoring the will of the Assembly were dismissed through a vote of no confidence. Likewise, the 1921 budget was the first to be rejected by the TGNA.
In sum, the period of the 1921 Constitution shows an extraordinary interim character in which the political structure, being incompatible with national sovereignty, was partially liquidated through the implementation of the constitutional fiscal rules. Fiscal conflicts played a role in shaping the government system, and some of those that were inherited from the previous period remained to be resolved in the next (1924) constitutional period. The 1921 Constitution, however, provides no automatic and instant formulas in this fiscal regime change. In fact, the Assembly’s ability to use its fiscal powers is a product of a political change, rather than legal change. In other words, the legal adoption of financial issues in this period resulted from the national sovereignty policy rather than from the adoption of the 1921 Constitution.