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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019

3 - Regime Cycles, Constitution Making, and the Political System Question in Ottoman and Turkish Constitutional Developments

from Part II - Contextualizing Constitution Making in Turkey


A democratic constitution-making process was carried out in Turkey from 2011 to 2013, but failed to produce a new constitution. In 2017, the ruling Justice and Development Party amended the existing 1982 Constitution, imposing radical changes on the political system and introducing the so-called Turkish-style presidential system. This chapter argues that such changes and movements are part of a distinct and regular cyclical oscillation within the political system from relatively authoritarian to relatively democratic phases and back again. These regular swings are created by an intense power struggle between ideologically competing forces. Each cycle has its own characteristic institutions and political system preferences. In authoritarian phases the power of the assembly is diminished, as are the checks and balances on political power. Democratic phases, on the other hand, support assembly power, political participation, basic rights, and constitutional checks and balances. The history of constitution making in Turkey reflects and reinforces these regime cycles.