Renegotiating Turkey? The June 12 general election and the prospects of democratization and constitutional reformad forum template


Renegotiating Turkey? The June 12 general election and the prospects of democratization and constitutional reform

Monday 30 May, 2011, 13:00 – 16:00


Mr. Hasan Bülent Kahraman,

Mr. Kadri Gürsel,

Mr. Andrew Finkel,

Mr. Halil M. Karaveli

Mr. Ihsan Dagi


Turkey’s ruling Justice and development party (AKP) as well as the main opposition Republican people’s party (CHP) have committed themselves to introducing a democratic, “civilian constitution” after the June 12 general election that would replace the current constitution which was bequeathed by the military junta in the 1980’s.

Yet although there seems to be a broad consensus about the need to draft a new constitution, Turkey is nonetheless set to encounter major difficulties even if it does embark on the road toward further liberalization. The issues of contention that have torn Turkey apart during the last years — the Kurdish issue, the question of the place of religion in society and the role of the military, are all necessarily going to be addressed during the process of drafting a “civilian”, democratic constitution. Thus, the existential differences that severely polarize Turkey can be expected to assert themselves even more during this process. What are the chances that Turkey will succeed? Is the June 12 election going to produce a parliament that will succeed in ushering in a liberal political order, bringing Turkey closer to Europe, or will the differences prove too great to surmount, inviting a backsliding/regression toward authoritarianism?

Hasan Bülent Kahraman is Vice Rector of Kadir Has University in Istanbul and the author, among many other works, of a multi-volume account of the dynamics of Turkish politics since the Ottoman reform era in the 19th century.

Kadri Gürsel is a columnist at the daily Milliyet. He has written extensively about Turkish foreign policy and about authoritarian inclinations in current Turkish politics.

Andrew Finkel is a journalist based in Istanbul for more than 20 years and author of the forthcoming Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know

Halil M. Karaveli, Senior Fellow at ISDP and managing editor of the Turkey Analyst. He recently authored Reconciling Statism with Freedom: Turkey’s Kurdish Opening.

Ihsan Dagi, Professor of International Relations, Middle East Technical University

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.

To attend: RSVP to Ms. Ebba Mårtensson at