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Ahmet Necdet Sezer

Ahmet Necdet Sezer
10th President of Turkey
In office
May 16, 2000 – August 28, 2007
Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit
Abdullah Gül
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Süleyman Demirel
Succeeded by Abdullah Gül
President of the Constitutional Court of Turkey
In office
January 6, 1998 – May 5, 2000
Preceded by Yekta Güngör Özden
Succeeded by Mustafa Bumin
Personal details
Born (1941-09-13) September 13, 1941
Afyonkarahisar, Turkey
Spouse(s) Semra Sezer
Children 3
Alma mater Ankara University, Law School
Profession Lawyer

Ahmet Necdet Sezer (pronounced ; born September 13, 1941) was the tenth President of Turkey, serving from 2000 to 2007. Previously he was President of the Constitutional Court of Turkey from 1998 to 2000. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey elected Sezer as President in 2000 after Süleyman Demirel's seven-year term expired. He was succeeded by Abdullah Gül in 2007.

Following his legal career, Sezer became a candidate for the Presidency jointly supported by many political parties in Parliament. Following the 2000 presidential election, he took an ardent secularist approach on issues such as the headscarf and held the view that secularism in Turkey was under threat. A quarrel between Sezer and the Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit in 2001 led to a financial meltdown, attributed to the weakness of the coalition government as well as the existence of a large amount of debt to the International Monetary Fund.

The landslide victory of the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 general election resulted in strong opposition from President Sezer, who vetoed several laws and referred some to the Constitutional Court. These included laws on banking reform and the lifting of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's political ban. During receptions at the presidential palace, Sezer refused to allow women wearing the headscarf to attend per the laws on separation of mosque and state at the time, resulting in the wives of Abdullah Gül and Erdoğan, Hayrünnisa Gül and Emine Erdoğan respectively, not attending the events. Erdoğan later publicly stated that he had 'suffered a lot' from Sezer.[1]

During the 2014 presidential election, Sezer openly refused to vote, citing the lack of a secularist candidate as his reason.[2]


  • Early life 1
  • Chief justice 2
  • Presidency (2000–2007) 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

Sezer was born at Afyonkarahisar to Ahmet Hamdi Sezer and Hatice Sezer.[3] After finishing Afyonkarahisar High School in 1958, he graduated from the Ankara University Faculty of Law in 1962 and began his career as a judge in Ankara. Following his military service at the Military Academy, he served first as a judge in Dicle and Yerköy, and later he became a supervisory judge in the High Court of Appeals in Ankara. In 1978, he received LL.M. in civil law from the Faculty of Law in Ankara University.

Chief justice

On March 7, 1983, Sezer was elected as a member to the High Court of Appeals. As he was a member in the Second Chamber of Law, he was nominated by the plenary assembly of the High Court of Appeals among the three candidates for appointment as member of the Constitutional Court. On September 27, 1988, he was appointed by the President Kenan Evren as a member of the Constitutional Court. On January 6, 1998, Ahmet Necdet Sezer was elected chief justice of the Constitutional Court.

Presidency (2000–2007)

Sezer and his spouse with Lech Kaczyński and his spouse

He was elected president in May 2000, becoming Turkey's first head of state to come from a judicial background. He was sworn in on May 16, 2000. His term was to expire on May 16, 2007, but because the Grand National Assembly of Turkey failed to elect a new president, he retained the office pro tempore until August 28, 2007 (the Constitution of Turkey states that a president's term of office is extended until a successor is elected).

On February 21, 2001, during a quarrel in a National Security Council meeting, he threw the constitutional code book at the Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. According to some circles, this falling-out was the main obvious reason for "Black Wednesday", a big economic crisis. Others claimed that the rapid reforms for the accession negotiations with the European Union and strong ties with the International Monetary Fund caused the "Black Wednesday" crisis.[4]

Sezer was a firm defender of secularism, which was a point of contention between him and the ruling AKP party on many issues. On many occasions, he openly stated that the secular regime in Turkey was under threat but never gave any specific reasons.[5] He believes that Islam does not require women to wear headscarves. Sezer went so far as to exclude from official receptions at the Presidential Palace legislators' wives who wore headscarves.[6]

During his presidency, he terrorism.[10]


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External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Yekta Güngör Özden
President of the Constitutional Court of Turkey
January 6, 1998 – May 5, 2000
Succeeded by
Mustafa Bumin
Political offices
Preceded by
Süleyman Demirel
President of Turkey
May 16, 2000 – August 28, 2007
Succeeded by
Abdullah Gül
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