Recent Publications

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The Turkish “model” of civil–military relations

October 4, 2013

As Egypt underwent a tumultuous military-led transition from autocracy to democracy beginning in 2011, a chorus of commentators advocated a “Turkish model” for civil–military relations in Egypt’s nascent democracy. This article takes up the task of giving content to that elusive phrase, beginning with an account of Turkish military involvement in politics and ending with an explanation of the recent exodus of the Turkish military from politics. It offers observations and lessons for other nations seeking to normalize their civil–military relations. Part of the International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East.

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Between text and context: Turkey’s tradition of authoritarian constitutionalism

October 4, 2013

Constitutionalism is often understood to mean more than mere adherence to the formal terms of a constitution. However, with the example of the 1982 Turkish Constitution in mind, this article develops a theory of “authoritarian constitutionalism” as a system in which the constitution, rather than constraining the exercise of public power, is coopted to sanction oppressive uses of it. This suggests that constitutions do, in fact, “matter,” though not uniformly as a force for political liberalization. Part of the International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East.

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Courts and constitutional transition: Lessons from the Turkish case

October 4, 2013

In contexts of democratization, the definition of judicial independence may require refinement, in order to take account of the special challenges of moving from the rule of the few to the rule of the many: an independent judiciary may stall legislative and constitutional reform by engaging in a form of constitutional review designed to shield elite preferences from democratic reversal. This article explores this problem through a detailed examination of a recent set of controversial constitutional cases in Turkey. Part of the International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East.

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Judicial institutions, the legitimacy of Islamic state law and democratic transition in Egypt: Can a shift toward a common law model of adjudication improve the prospects of a successful democratic transition?

October 4, 2013

This article contrasts the jurisprudence of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) construing the meaning of “shari’a” with the practice of ordinary Egyptian courts construing Egypt’s civil code. The article argues that a shift from the lower courts’ positivist outlook on law to the common-law style of legal reasoning deployed by the SCC would increase the Islamic legitimacy of Egypt’s overall legal system, facilitate Egyptian courts’ reconciliation with the constitutional commitments to Islamic authenticity, modernization and human rights, and assist in Egypt’s democratic transition. Part of the International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East.

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Designing Islamic constitutions: Past trends and options for a democratic future

October 4, 2013

In recent years, a growing number of countries have adopted constitutional provisions requiring that state law be consistent with Islamic law (sharia). This article explores the trends that gave rise to “sharia guarantee clauses” (SGCs) and provides a history of their incorporation into national constitutions. It then surveys a number of the remarkably varied schemes that countries have developed to interpret and enforce their SGCs, and it considers the impact that different schemes have had on society. Finally, building on this background, the article considers what types of SGC enforcement scheme, if any, are consistent with democracy. Part of the International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East.

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International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East: Introduction

October 4, 2013

Debates over constitutional design are at the very heart of political life as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) witnesses the greatest degree of political transformation and regime change in a generation—the Arab Awakening. These momentous events mark the occasion for this ICON Symposium, “Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East.” Part of the International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East.

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International Journal of Constitutional Law Special Issue: Constitutional Transitions in the Middle East

October 4, 2013

In March 2012, Constitutional Transitions held a symposium on the constitutional reformation of the Middle East and North Africa region in the wake of the Arab Spring. The papers presented at the symposium are collected in this special edition of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, with an introduction by Constitutional Transitions Faculty Director Sujit Choudhry.