POSTS BY Cem Tecimer

Why the Turkish Constitutional Court’s Wikipedia Decision is No Reason to Celebrate

The Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC) recently lifted the ban on Wikipedia and a surge of, in my view, unwarranted optimism has now sprung out of nowhere both among international and Turkish circles following the case closely. I fail to share this optimism. By all means, the lifting of the ban on Wikipedia is something to be happy about. But the timing and content of the TCC’s decision, when especially read through the political context in which it was handed down, do not give much reason to celebrate.

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Abusive Constitutional Lip Service

Amid Turkey’s heated agenda of constitutional politics during the past few years one issue seems to have received little to no attention: President Erdogan’s repeated call for reinstating the death penalty. Can Erdogan reinstate the death penalty? No, simply because he doesn’t have enough political support. But that isn’t the point. The point is how Erdogan uses the (unfulfillable) constitutional promise to reinstate the death penalty to consolidate his base.

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Recognizing Court-Packing

There is near scholarly consensus that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has successfully packed the Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC). Court packing is commonly understood as expanding the membership of the court, appointing judges with long tenures that extend beyond a couple of election cycles, and who are ideologically committed to the executive’s constitutional vision. These elements, however, are still foreign to Turkey’s political elites.

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Is This President Erdogan’s Last Term in Office? A Note on Constitutional Interpretive Possibilities

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as president in 2014. In 2018, he was elected to the same position for a second term. The Turkish Constitution, aside from one exceptional case, is clear in its command that no-one may serve as president for more than two terms. Is this, then, President Erdogan’s last term in office? The short answer is maybe.

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The Curious Case of Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code: Insulting the Turkish President

Judgments by the Strasbourg Court are binding on Turkey and furthermore are the primary source for interpreting the European Convention of Human Rights, a treaty to which Turkey is party and which, according to Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, prevails over national laws such as Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code on insulting the President, in the event of conflict. ECtHR jurisprudence clearly indicates such a conflict between Article 299 and the Convention. But are Turkish courts aware of this?

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Rethinking Turkish Secularism: Towards “Unofficial” Islamic Constitutionalism?

There are both domestic and foreign concerns that Turkey is a theocracy in the making or some “attenuated” version thereof.  While most of these concerns are full of extravagant exaggerations, often suggesting Iran as an example Turkey is allegedly headed towards, there is a certain element of truth embedded in these concerns.

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Abusive comparativism: “Pseudo-comparativist” political discourse as a means to legitimizing constitutional change in Turkey

The constitutional amendment process has arguably weakened Turkey’s already-fragile constitutionalist system. This is well known. What is less known and pretty much overlooked is that comparativism and specifically comparative constitutionalism has suffered at the hands of Turkish political elites during the legal and political discussions that preceded the referendum.

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