Constitutional Renewal in Turkey: Some Questions Concerning Constitutional Theory

Turkey is currently undergoing a process of drafting a new constitution. The lack of legitimacy of the present, 1982, constitution, which was originated from the 1980 military coup d’état, renders adoption of a new contitution necessary in the public opinion. There are high public expectations for the new constitution in terms of assuring democratic standards.

The process for the new constitution officially started on 19th October, 2011. In order to carry out the task of drafting, a parliamentary committee of constitutional reconciliation was established. The committee is composed of an equal number (three) members from each of the four political parties sitting in the current parliament, plus the president of the parliament who serves as the president of the committee. According to the rules of procedure the committee itself adopted, consensus/unanimity is required for each matter to be put into the draft constitution.

Some of the political parties, led by the governing Justice and Democratic Party (AKP), and the (pro-Kurdish) Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), argue that the process should lead to a totally new constitution (here in the technical/constitutional law sense of the term), while others, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), seem to hold the view that the drafting process should be directed toward a large scale constitutional amendment. In other words, the majority of the current composition of the Parliament, represented by AKP, seems to assume to itself the constituent power of a constitutional assembly, even though this claim is dubious from the perspectivess of the CHP and MHP. Of course, these different opinions will have some important consequences, which I will come below. (By the way, the current composition of the Parliament resulted from the election of June, 2011, held for the regular term of legislative election ...

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