Contemporary Turkey is marked by two parallel states and legal systems. One is the constitutional state that is supposed to be western-oriented and democratic, based on the rule of law, and loyal to Turkey’s commitments to various transnational organizations, such as the CoE and the EU. The other one is a “prerogative state” that has eliminated checks and balances and legal mechanisms to restrain its power. Turkish dual state is based on both of these parallel states, and it has arisen as an excellent tool for authoritarian, pragmatic and populist policies of the AKP. This paper will draw attention to the similarities of the recent political and constitutional transformations in Turkey and the German legal and political order of the 1930s. It will discuss to what extent the concept of “dual state” can be employed in explaining the present political situation in Turkey. In doing so, it also aims at unveiling the major characteristics of the contemporary authoritarianism.
In Russia, the increasingly authoritarian regime is challenged by a populist anti-corruption agenda. Reaction to such challenges often involves crackdown on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the constitutional right to participate in state affairs. Traditional channels of political participation and accountability are narrowing down. At the same time, the state tends to encourage citizens to refer to law and legal means of resolving their grievances. Thus, a particularly pragmatic and strategic use of law is developed. Against this background, law is often used by the state in the attempt to construct national identity on the basis of patriotism. These are the current trends that, when read together, outline the Russian approach to the rule of law which not only remains a fundamental constitutional principle, but is actively referred to by the state to justify the desirable course of action.
As part of its ‘reform and opening up policy’ initiated in 1978, the PRC started building a new legal system, modelled to a great extent after Western examples. In 1982, it adopted a new constitution, which has remained mostly the same with some amendments. While alternating between the creation of a true ‘rule of law’ or a ‘rule by law’, under Xi Jinping’s leadership China seems to be heading towards the latter, as the Chinese Communist Party is reasserting its monopoly on power and its ambition to create a ‘Socialist Rule of Law with Chinese characteristics’ in line with, at most, very thin notions of rule of law. The CCP exists in a parallel legal system while retaining control over crucial parts of that of the PRC. The prospects for a strong constitutionalist system seem bleak at this moment, while the populist moment in the rest of the world has strengthened the Chinese leadership’s confidence in the superiority of its system, even if it is still struggling to define it.
Measuring the human rights performances on the international rule of law scale on the part of only insufficiently democratised states – like Islamic Republic of Iran and Egypt – requires specific indications. These indicators help to classify the factual human rights practices of governments and judges of Supreme Constitutional Courts and analogue institutions, such as, the Iranian Guardian Council. My main indicator to measure the rule of law performances on the part of contemporary I.R. Iran and Egypt is linked to the question how far these two states are and have been receptive towards international human rights law and transnational jurisdiction. My comparative approach will exemplify how Egypt’s human rights performances throughout the 1990s have been significantly more effective in containing illegitimate governmental policy objectives.
The Polish democratic transition was portrayed as a shining example of the victory of liberal values over the socialist clientelistic authoritarianism. Yet, for the past two years the ruling Law and Justice party has been actively dismantling the system of checks and balances that was carefully put post-1989 and pre-EU accession. The easiness of this reactive transformation begs for the question as to the actual compliance with the values of the European Union, which is currently questioned through the Rule of Law Framework and Art. 7 TEU mechanism.
This paper aims to engage with the long complete accession and post-accession processes in order to identify the signs anticipating the current backsliding from democracy in the Polish context. It will focus on the judiciary and the Constitutional Court as chief actors, long criticised and unsuccessfully reformed, in order to determine whether the current crisis represents continuity or rupture in Polish democratic processes.