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The Future of Democratic Reform in Turkey: Constitutional Moment or Constitutional Process?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 May 2014


Turkey is undergoing the most substantial constitutional reform process in its history, at the same time as carrying out significant peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. These two processes will have profound effects on the country’s future governance. Most importantly, the processes could contribute to bridging gaps in Turkey’s polarized society. As the processes take place in secret, their substantive contents are currently unknown. This article provides a critical analysis of the processes in the light of the new theory of constitutionalism, paying particular attention to the changing role of the European Union in Turkey’s reform discussions. This analysis leads to some sceptical conclusions: given the secrecy, exclusiveness and political hostility surrounding the processes, it seems that they are unlikely to achieve their potential. In addition, despite its contradictions, the weakening of European Union conditionality appears to have negatively affected the reform process.

Copyright © The Author(s). Published by Government and Opposition Limited and Cambridge University Press 2014 

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Firat Cengiz is a Lecturer in Law and a Marie Curie Fellow at the Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice. Contact email:


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