In the context of a discussion on whether Turkish Studies is a theory-consuming or a theory producing field of study, Murat Somer has succinctly articulated antagonistic features of the Turkish polity, existing side by side often in a way that breeds unabated political and societal strife: “Turkey is middle eastern and western, a strong and a weak state, democratic with a long history of democratization and authoritarian with a long history of oppressing dissent, all at the same time.”1 It is against this background that the Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC) has been undertaking constitutional review since 1962. As one of the oldest constitutional courts in the non-western world, its jurisprudence has reflected the ups and downs of the country’s turbulent political history. Long seen as an uncompromising defender of the status quo, the TCC has recently begun to adopt a more rights-based adjudication. This shift has largely been due to the introduction of the individual application system, which has compelled the Court to reflect the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Unlike abstract and concrete norm reviews where the Court deals with issues of more abstract nature, the individual application procedure calls for the Court to pinpoint alleged violations of constitutional rights by public power and provide the victim with effective remedies.
The Odyssey of the Turkish Constitutional Court into the World of Individual Application
Since the introduction of the individual application as a constitutional remedy, the Turkish Constitutional Court, which traditionally dealt with constitutional review of laws, constitutional amendments and political party dissolution cases, has embarked on the road towards transforming itself into a more effective rights adjudication body. It should be, however, kept in mind that this remedy is not, in and of itself, a magic panacea that will address Turkey’s ingrained human rights problems.
Then President of the Constitutional Court, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, declaring the decision of the court to close the Welfare Party, considered the center of antisecular activities, on January 16, 1998. AA PHOTO / ABDURRAHMAN ANTAKYALI
Already have an account? Sign In.