The Rise of Executive Constitutional Interpretation: Has President Erdogan Become the Turkish Constitution?

Erdogan, both as prime minister and president, has exhibited a pattern of robust constitutional engagement. This Article investigates that phenomenon by examining many of the controversial episodes in Turkish political history where Erdogan has interpreted the Constitution. First, it considers the normative question of whether the president should interpret the Constitution and finds textual indications that strongly suggest some executive mandate to interpret the Constitution, meaning the Turkish Constitutional Court should not be regarded as having a monopoly over constitutional interpretation. Second, from the standpoint of constitutional reality, Erdogan has been and is interpreting the Constitution. The Article, while reiterating the early finding that the Constitution does empower the President to engage in constitutional interpretation, concludes on a note of caution: executive statements interpreting the Constitution should not denigrate other branches of government.