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Reforming Turkey’s Democracy

The constitutional amendments approved by the referendum of April 16, 2017 are not only a positive step toward renewal of Turkish law and the structure of its election system, but also a step that initiates reform in all dimensions of Turkey’s political system. This commentary argues that Turkey’s transition to a presidential system marks the beginning of a reform process that will strengthen the relationship between the public and the government and will result in the transition of Turkey towards a full democracy. Accordingly, it analyzes some of the main changes that can be expected in the post referendum period.

Reforming Turkey s Democracy
Banners picturing Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (R) and Devlet Bahçeli (L), the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, call the Turkish people to vote “Yes” in the April 16 referendum. March 24, 2017. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Introduction

The date April 16, 2017 points to a new phase in Turkey’s battle to become a full democracy. This new period can be defined as the last phase in the complete dissolution of the fascistic-institutional dominance that had acted as a determinant at several levels of Turkish political life since the proclamation of the Republic. The constitutional amendments approved by the referendum of April 16, 2017 are not only a positive step toward renewal of Turkish law and the structure of its election system, but also a step that initiates reform in all dimensions of Turkey’s political system. 

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