The Hegemonic Preservation Thesis Revisited: The Example of Turkey

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Seven G., Vinx L.

HAGUE JOURNAL ON THE RULE OF LAW, vol.9, no.1, pp.45-82, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s40803-016-0044-8
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.45-82
  • Keywords: Hegemonic preservation, Amendment review, Turkey, Democracy, Constitutionalism, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS, POLITICAL-PARTIES, COURTS, DEMOCRATIZATION, DEMOCRACY, ACTIVISM, JUSTICE, SUCCESS
  • TED University Affiliated: No


This paper offers a critical rereading of the history of judicial review of constitutional amendments in Turkey. We argue that, contrary to appearances, the claim to a power of amendment review on the part of the Turkish Constitutional Court does not fit Ran Hirschl' s model of hegemonic preservation, which aims to explain the genesis of strong constitutionalism and judicial review as the result of an anti -democratic elite consensus that tries to leverage the prestige of judicial institutions. Attempts to impose Hirschl' s model on the constitutional history of the Turkish Republic have been very popular in the jurisprudential literature on Turkey, but the model offers a misleading and incomplete diagnosis of what ails Turkish constitutionalism. It is not the supposed excessive strength of formal constitutionalism and judicial review in Turkey, but rather the normative weakness of the Turkish Constitution of 1982, that is responsible, at least in part, for Turkey's repeated constitutional crises. We therefore suggest an alternative template for understanding Turkish constitutional history-the theory of sovereignty as the power to decide on the exception put forward by Carl Schmitt.