Why Turkey Needs a Post-Kemalist Order
January 1, 2012
The process of making a new constitution has prompted a debate about the place of Kemalism in the supreme normative order of the Turkish state. Whether Kemalism will be part of the new constitution is important because it will determine the democratic characteristics of the regime to be established thereafter. Questioning the compatibility of Kemalism with democracy this commentary argues that unless Kemalism is abandoned as an ideology protected by the Constitution and the law, there can be no full-fledged liberal democracy in Turkey. An ideology protected and promoted by the constitution sets limits to freedom of thought and expression, and blurs the boundaries between the ideological and the legal. Linking the search for a new constitution with the crisis of Kemalism it is concluded that a post-Kemalist order is needed in order to consolidate democracy, establish civilian control over the military, redefine secularism, and resolve the long-standing Kurdish question.