Although the Kurdish political movement has been participating in elections since 1991, never until June 2015 were they able to receive more than 7 percent of the vote. On June 7, the HDP nearly doubled its share of the vote. Although the election results indicated that the Kurdish voters wanted politicians to play a more prominent role within the movement, the PKK ended the two-year ceasefire to dig trenches, set up barricades and target the security forces in residential areas. The sharp decline in the HDP’s popularity suggests that the electorate would like to empower civilian leaders at the expense of violent groups.
Turkey’s 1982 Constitution does not reflect the values of modern constitutionalism. Originally, the Constitution maintained a state-centered, authoritarian character and failed to meet society‘s expectations. Pro-reform parties sought to replace the Constitution to address various societal demands. The AK Party also identified the drafting of a new Constitution as a primary objective and attempted thirteen amendments. There were two main motivations behind the amendments: Turkey‘s EU membership bid and frequent constitutional crises. In this sense, the amendments promoted individual rights and liberties in Turkey. The Constitution today is a legal text that underwent major changes over the years to establish more effective safeguarding mechanisms for individual rights and liberties. Turkey’s need for a new constitution, however, remains alive.
Turkey is moving toward achieving an ever-greater level of democracy by removing the remnants of restrictive and paternalistic administrative structures. The judiciary in Turkey has been one of the most influential instruments of state power in maintaining these structures. In the wake of the recently passed constitutional amendments, the question of whether the current government is trying to create a docile judiciary for its political purposes has been widely circulated. However, such questioning misses one of the most crucial motivators of the much needed reform package, i.e., the undemocratic record of the Turkish judiciary. The Turkish judiciary has traditionally considered itself as one of the guardians of the Turkish republic alongside the military. It has consistently delivered undemocratic decisions in the name of protecting the state. This article focuses on many examples of restrictive and paternalistic judiciary decisions in order to highlight the judiciary’s undemocratic role in the Turkish political system.