I’d be very interested to learn more from any readers in Turkey about the passage of the constitutional amendments in yesterday’s referendum.
My thumbnail view is that Turkey was ahead of the game in 1982 when it adopted a “post-political” constitution, in which democratic institutions were constrained by a series of guardian institutions, including the constitutional court, the national security council, the higher education council, and, until the accession of Abdullah Gul, the presidency. Many other countries, especially in the 1990s, adopted such institutions that reflected a distrust of majoritarian processes.
In Turkey, however, the pendulum is now swinging the other way. These constitutional amendments will increase the control of political institutions, including the president and parliament, over the judicial council and constitutional court. To some degree this is an inevitable reaction to a judiciary that has been heavily involved in policing the political process. As a co-author and I have argued in a paper on judicial councils, the judicialization of politics is followed by the politicization of the judiciary.
Less advisably, the amendments also repeal immunity for the military for the 1980 coup, which seems like an issue better left for the history books than for the courts. Reactions from those more informed than I are most welcome.