The Turkish Constitution as a Disrespected Idol

In the past decades, constitutional reform has been a quasi-permanent item on Turkey’s political agenda. The answer to many political problems, it is suggested, consists of formal constitutional change, with citizens affirming this position by engaging in constitutional debates and actively participating in constitutional referenda. Between 2010 and 2017, two (successful) major reforms and two (failed) constitution-making processes took place. Most recently, the governing AKP have introduced a plan for “a constitution of re-founding” by 2023, the country’s centenary. Given the continuous engagement with constitutional form and its refinement, it is striking that Turkish political actors also brazenly violate the constitution in a variety of ways. To assess the true value of the formal constitution in the Turkish constitutional order, I explore the apparent discrepancy between a preoccupation with formal constitutional design and outright disrespect for the text by political actors.