Governor (Turkey)

In Turkey, a Governor (Turkish: Vali) is an official responsible for the implementation of legislation, constitutional and government decisions in individual provinces. There are 81 Governors in Turkey,[1] one for each province, appointed ceremonially by the President on the recommendation of the Interior Ministry. Governors are legally required to be politically neutral and have power over public offices within their Province, including the provincial police force. They also have a certain role in local government, though mayors and councillors are elected to these roles in local elections. The Provincial head of security (the police force) also concurrently serves as Deputy Governor.

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The Kaymakam, (roughly translated as 'Sub-Governor') has similar functions and roles as the Governor but operates on a district level.[2]

Governors by province


The Governor is officially appointed (Turkish: atanma) to his or her role by the President of Turkey. The Ministry of the Interior first presents their candidate for approval to the President. The President then formally appoints the candidate as the Governor of a province.[3]

Term limits

There are no set term limits for Governors, though they can be removed from their position at the will of the Interior Ministry. Governors can also be moved from province to province, meaning that it is not unusual for Governors to be appointed to a Province in which they have no prior experience or personal connection.


Governors are mainly tasked with the implementation of government legislation and decisions, meaning that they are senior members of the Civil Service.[4]


During ceremonies or formal national holiday celebrations, the Governor of a province serves as the most senior state official during provincial events unless a national state official (such as the President) is in attendance. The Governor presides over the celebrations and formally accepts any awards presented during a ceremony.

Civil service

One of the most important functions of a Governor is to make sure decisions, constitutional requirements and new legislation are implemented within the province over which they preside. They are also tasked with the implementation of any demands of government ministries. In the event that legislation cannot be directly or practically implemented, the Governor is responsible for bringing about the conditions in which new legislation is compatible with their province.

The Governor's powers are decided by government legislation and have the right to issue a 'general command' to implement government decisions, legislation and constitutional requirements.

Local government

Governors have the right to both supervise and reorganise local government positions, which include district and metropolitan municipalities as well as municipal and provincial councillors. Although local elections are held every five years to elect mayors and councillors, the Governor (who is unelected) has the right to inspect the proceedings of local administrations as well as conduct any reorganisations that may be deemed necessary. Any legislative changes to local government (such as the 2013 local government reorganisation) are also implemented by the Governor.

Command over public institutions

The Governor has the right to preside over any matters of state that are not already covered by public institutions within a province, or any matters that do not have an assigned public official to deal with them. The Governor can also request public institutions or officials to perform tasks that are related to their aims and purpose if a public institution dealing with said tasks is not available in a province.

The Governor has the right to appoint and move some public officials from their positions, as well as provide them his or her own personal viewpoint on certain matters. The Governor, as mentioned above, can redetermine the remit and the positions of some public officials within a province.

Provincial security

The Governor is the highest level of provincial command of both the police forces and the Gendarmerie. The Deputy Governor concurrently serves as the head of provincial security, who in turn commands both the head of the provincial police force and the head of the provincial Gendarmerie (A Colonel). In order to maintain peace and security, a Governor has the right to take certain decisions intended to stop civil disobediences.


From July 1987 to 2002 there existed the position of a supergovernor in the OHAL region (Governorship of Region in State of Emergency) with extra powers to resettle whole villages. He supervised the provincial governors of up to 13 provinces mainly populated by Kurds. From 1990 on he was able to coordinate the actions between the provincial governors.[5]


Since Governors are appointed by the government, there have been concerns over whether Governors can truly be neutral. This is because they are appointed by a partisan government. Several politicians that have become government ministers, such as Efkan Ala and Vecdi Gönül, have previously served as Governors of multiple provinces. Furthermore, Governors have been accused on numerous occasions of acting with bias in favour of the government. İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu accused the Governor of İzmir of campaigning for the Justice and Development Party during the 2014 local elections.[6] Governors in Hakkari and Denizli were also accused of forcing public employees to attend President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's controversial 'public opening' rallies before the June 2015 general election.[7] In 2015, the Peoples' Democratic Party issued a manifesto pledge to introduce elections for Governors, rather than appointing them through the Interior Ministry.[8]

Central Governors

Besides the 81 Provincial Governors, some Governors who have previously served in a province may be reassigned as a 'Central Governor' (Turkish: Merkez Valisi). This post does not carry with it any active responsibilities and is effectively a means of terminating a Governor's term without withdrawing their privileges or suspending their pay (though their wages are reduced in comparison to provincial governors). The 'centre' (merkez) refers to the Ministry of the Interior, where a Central Governor is given a small office but have no role until they are reassigned to govern a province. Central Governors may visit the Interior Ministry whenever they wish. However, Central Governors may be given special tasks should the Interior Minister deem it necessary. Previously, it was possible for a Governor to legal contest their reassignment from a provincial to a central Governor in an attempt to remain in an active gubernatorial role, though this privilege has since been removed.[9]

There are currently around 99 Central Governors, though this number changes frequently along with re-organisation decrees issued by the government.[10]

List of current Governors

Province Governor Term start
Adana Mustafa Büyük23 May 2014
Adıyaman Mahmut Demirtaş3 August 2012
Afyonkarahisar Hakan Yusuf Güner23 May 2014
Ağrı Musa Işın20 February 2015
Amasya İbrahim Halil Çomaktekin2 August 2013
Ankara Mehmet Kılıçlar15 September 2014
Antalya Muammer Türker15 September 2014
Artvin Kemal Cirit2 August 2013
Aydın Erol Ayyıldız2 August 2013
Balıkesir Mustafa Yaman15 August 2014
Bilecik Ahmet Hamdi Nayir13 February 2014
Bingöl Yavuz Selim Köşger19 February 2015
Bitlis Ahmet Çınar3 August 2015
Bolu Aydın Baruş16 February 2015
Burdur Hasan Kürklü23 May 2014
Bursa Münir Karaloğlu4 August 2013
Çanakkale Hamza Erkal3 August 2015
Çankırı Vahdettin Özcan17 August 2011
Çorum Ahmet Kara15 September 2014
Denizli Şükrü Kocatepe15 September 2014
Diyarbakır Hüseyin Aksoy15 September 2014
Edirne Dursun Ali Şahin23 May 2014
Elazığ Murat Zorluoğlu16 February 2015
Erzincan Süleyman Kahraman15 September 2014
Erzurum Ahmet Altıparmak16 May 2013
Eskişehir Güngör Azim Tuna16 May 2013
Gaziantep Ali Yerlikaya19 February 2015
Giresun Hasan Karahan3 August 2013
Gümüşhane Yücel Yavuz23 May 2014
Hakkâri Yakup Canbolat23 May 2014
Hatay Ercan Topaca15 September 2014
Isparta Vahdettin Özkan3 August 2013
Mersin Özdemir Çakacak15 September 2014
İstanbul Vasip Şahin15 September 2014
İzmir Mustafa Toprak3 May 2013
Kars Günay Özdemir23 May 2014
Kastamonu Şehmus Günaydın23 May 2014
Kayseri Orhan Düzgün16 May 2013
Kırklareli Esengül Civelek15 September 2014
Kırşehir Necati Şentürk15 September 2014
Kocaeli Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu15 September 2014
Province Governor Term start
Konya Muammer Erol2 August 2013
Kütahya Şerif Yılmaz8 May 2013
Malatya Süleyman Kamçı15 May 2014
Manisa Erdoğan Bektaş23 May 2014
Kahramanmaraş Mustafa Hakan Güvençer15 May 2014
Mardin Ömer Faruk Koçak16 February 2015
Muğla Amir Çiçek15 September 2014
Muş Seddar Yavuz3 August 2015
Nevşehir Mehmet Ceylan9 May 2013
Niğde Necmeddin Kılıç2 August 2013
Ordu İrfan Balkanlıoğlu23 May 2014
Rize Ersin Yazıcı23 May 2014
Sakarya Hüseyin Avni Coş23 May 2014
Samsun İbrahim Şahin15 September 2014
Siirt Mustafa Tutulmaz23 May 2014
Sivas Alim Barut3 March 2014
Tekirdağ Enver Salihoğlu16 February 2015
Tokat Cevdet Can23 May 2014
Trabzon Abdil Celil Öz2 August 2013
Tunceli Osman Kaymak23 May 2014
Şanlıurfa İzzettin Küçük16 February 2014
Uşak Ahmet Okur3 August 2015
Van İbrahim Taşyapan19 February 2015
Yozgat Abdulkadir Yazıcı3 August 2012
Zonguldak Ali Kaban2 August 2013
Aksaray Şeref Ataklı13 February 2014
Bayburt Yusuf Odabaş15 September 2014
Karaman Murat Koca3 August 2012
Kırıkkale Ali Kolat3 August 2012
Batman Azmi Çelik13 February 2014
Şırnak Ali İhsan Su19 February 2015
Bartın Seyfettin Azizoğlu23 May 2014
Ardahan Ahmet Deniz23 May 2014
Iğdır Davut Haner13 February 2014
Yalova Selim Cebiroğlu15 September 2014
Karabük Orhan Alimoğlu16 February 2014
Kilis Süleyman Tapsız3 August 2012
Osmaniye Kerem Al15 September 2014
Düzce Ali Fidan16 February 2015

Recent changes

The government usually appoints or moves serving Governors to different positions through cabinet decrees. Notable decrees are listed below.

Date Decree № Governors affected
1 August 20122012/351140
3 May 20132013/469924
2 August 20132013/519725
13 February 20142014/591614
21 May 20142013/636631
15 September 20142014/678031
16 February 20152015/729517
3 August 20152015/79914

See also


  1. "Cumhuriyet Gazetesi - Zeynep Oral: "Yuh Olsun: 81 İlde 1 Kadın Vali!"". 21 September 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  2. "Kaymakamın Görev ve Yetkileri - T.C. PALU KAYMAKAMLIĞI". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  3. Jongerden, Joost (2007-05-28). The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatial Policies, Modernity and War. BRILL. p. 141. ISBN 9789047420118.
  4. "Valinin Görevleri Nelerdir ?". Buyutec.Net. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  5. Jongerden, Joost (2007-05-28). The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatial Policies, Modernity and War. BRILL. ISBN 9789047420118.
  6. "Kocaoğlu'ndan İzmir Valisi'ne veryansın". Haber7. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  7. Müjgan Yağmur. "Bu da oldu…Hakkari Valiliği'nden AKP mitingine katılmayanlara tehdit!". Taraf Gazetesi. Archived from the original on 20 July 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  8. "HDP Seçim Beyannamesi metninin tamamı". Sabah. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  9. "Milli Gazete - Hak Geldi, Batıl Zail Oldu - Merkez valiliğine atanmak ne demek?". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  10. "Merkez Valisi kimdir, kaç Merkez Valisi var? 16-09-2014". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
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