According to the constitution (Article 123), the administration forms a whole with regard to its structure and functions, and is regulated by law. All administrative procedures and actions must comply with the constitution and legal principles, and are subject to administrative review (Article 125). However, the government has the power to exercise a considerable amount of discretion in the implementation process, through decrees that have the force of law (Article 87), circulars and statutes. Moreover, double standards in the implementation of laws persist. The lack of due process is sometimes neglected by higher authorities, and is not subject to legal investigation. Prosecutions of bureaucratic ill-treatment are rare. As of April 2010, there were 172,654 pending cases at the Council of State (a superior administrative court dealing with disputes between natural or legal persons and the state administration). The number of appeals to the European Court of Human Rights which have been decided against the Turkish state is another evidence of the lack of due process in the executive and/or judicial spheres. In 2009, the total number of cases at the European Court of Human Rights against Turkey reached 4,474, and the court ruled 341 times against Turkey.
As an example, even the constitution of 1982 contains serious contradictions and is far from contributing to legal certainty. Article 24, Clause 1 grants religious freedom and states that nobody shall be forced to reveal his or her religious confession. But Clause 2 of the same article makes religious instruction obligatory. Exemption is granted only to pupils of the Christian and Jewish faiths, through a decree of the Education and Training Commission. Thus, pupils and their parents are forced to reveal their religion, and the constitutional right is qualified by an administrative judgment. This is only one of the striking cases illustrating the lack of legal certainty. The previously mentioned tax judgment (see Media Pluralism) against the politically influential Doğan Media Holding provides another telling example. According to the law, the fine was justified, but the strict tax laws of Turkey regularly go unapplied in such a strict manner to big holdings, which are thus supported indirectly by the government against their foreign competitors. The business group had expected a continuation of the established practice, but was confronted instead with strict application of the law.
There are basically three factors affecting uncertainty in the administration: lack of regulation (or failure of the legislature to regulate in a timely manner), flexible or restrictive interpretation of the regulations by the administrative authorities, mainly on political grounds (a lack of due process in the administration), and unconstitutional regulations adopted by the parliament or issued by the executive authority (which may subsequently result in annulment).