By Oskar Taxén (vol. 3, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
The recently approved constitutional amendment in Turkey has been hailed by many as a democratic reform but concurrently been assailed as an abrogation of the principle of separation of powers. However, from a strictly legal point of view the impact of the amendment is most uncertain. Although it does contain principles that promote democratization, much will depend on the implementation. The package will require amendments to approximately 200 laws and the outcome of this process remains uncertain.
By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 3, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
On September 12, Turkey will vote on a package of constitutional amendments. Yet the campaign has turned more into a referendum on the AKP government and on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan than on the merits of the amendments proposed. The campaign has been marked by the acrimonious tone between the main political leaders. It has thus served to underscore the polarization of Turkish society.. Essentially, the campaign is a major dress rehearsal for the general elections that must be held by July 2011, and not least a test of the stamina of the first major political challenger to Erdoğan’s AKP, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
The interests of the Islamic conservatives and the Kurds converged when both challenged the authority of the Turkish state. Today, however, the ruling Justice and development party (AKP) has little incentive to act differently toward the Kurds than its republican predecessors. And the Kurdish Peace and democracy party (BDP) has concluded that the cause of the Kurdish movement will not be advanced by supporting the AKP’s bid to tailor the constitution after its own needs.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
On March 22, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced a package of 26 proposed changes to the country’s constitution, including a restructuring of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK). Hailed as a major step towards full democratization and the harmonization of Turkish legislation with the requirements for EU accession by AKP supporters, the constitutional amendments are conversely criticized by the party’s opponents as an attempt by the AKP to seize control of the judicial system.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish Parliament’s landmark decision to change the constitution and lift the ban on Islamic headscarves in the universities represents a symbolic watershed in the history of the Turkish republic. It has polarized Turkey as perhaps never before and plunged the country into a crisis from which it will be extremely difficult to extricate without deep convulsions. Turkish intellectuals do not hesitate to issue warnings about civil war. Such warnings may be exaggerated; but Turkey could certainly be headed in a dangerous direction. Hence, conventional assumptions about Turkish political and ideological dynamics need to be revised.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.