The Administration of Exception: The Case of Turkey through Emergency Decrees

Dr. Aslı Yılmaz Uçar

This study began around the question of how the governmental structure or public administration is being changed during the state of emergency. The Turkish case on the state of emergency in between 2016-2018 is studied. Emergency decrees are exploited as the main source of data to observe the changes in the public administration. The varied lines of changes in the structure-function, civil service, and norms of the public administration are classified and discussed.
The state of emergency becomes a dominant governmental form of the contemporary world despite its exceptional character and in this governmental form, the power of executive bodies expands in the sense that they are authorized to issue emergency decrees. And the executive bodies abuse emergency decrees to reform the structure-function, personnel, and norms to centralize and concentrate the power, once fragmented among different bodies. As the Turkish case shows, a gradual process of centralization in favor of executive bodies and concentration of power particularly in favor of the presidency become a rule. The relative autonomous character of local governments is deteriorated by the growing tutelage power of central units. And the unique characteristics of military administration dissolved and subordinated to the executive that the administrative structure becomes more compact. The merit principle and due process, as the traditional norms of bureaucracies, are suspended, and the appointment and promotion of civil service become subject to political decisions. Furthermore, new norms for businesses, media, civil society organizations, etc. created despite the traditional norms.
Thus, public administration is also changing according to the so-called needs of the state of emergency through emergency decrees. Yet, just like the governmental forms, the administrative form of state of emergency, coined as the administration of exception by the author, become an ordinary form of administration despite its exceptional character.