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Since the failed coup attempt of July 15th, 2016, Turkey’s constitutional politics have been in turmoil. Following the state of emergency that had been in force for two years since the coup attempt, numerous executive decrees were issued causing the suspension and dismissal of tens of thousands of civil servants and leading to the partial suspension of the rule of law. This rule by decree has had massive consequences for numerous political and societal fields, such as the educational system and national security. The implications of these processes in terms of constitutional politics are wide-reaching: According to a decree passed in December 2017, actions against the coup attempt and against alleged “terrorist acts” which are presumed to be related are exempt from legal punishment.

The 2017 constitutional changes and their making during the state of emergency form the point of departure for the work of the “Research Lab: Constitutional Politics in Turkey”. In separate studies conducted in parallel, researchers of the lab from Germany and Turkey analyse the development of the state under the rule of law in Turkey and the diverse challenges it faces from various disciplinary, methodical and thematic angles.

Apart from the failure of the constitution-making process (2011-2013), the analysis of latest constitutional debates, amongst others with regards to gender politics and referendums, formed the core of the research lab’s first phase. Picking up on this, in its second the research lab includes actors and institutions outside of constitution-making in the strict sense. A particular focus is on changes to the rule of law under authoritarian and populist regimes and the wide-reaching effects of the state of emergency. Forms and conditions of parliamentary work, both in present and past, as well as practices of jurisprudence concerning freedom of speech and are some of the research subjects.

The analysis of these aspects allows for deeper insights into Turkey’s political processes at the crossroads between democratic consolidation and re-authocratisation. This offers many starting points for comparative research: The developments in Turkey are compared to other cases historically, regionally and in a problem-related manner. Through regular research lab meetings and this webpage, members of the research lab present extracts of their work. Public lectures in Berlin offer insights into the lab and its work to the wider public on a quarterly basis.

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