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

By Turkuler Isiksel

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.