Conflict Resolution and Constitution Making in Turkey

The following research contains a series of studies on the role of constitution-making, in the conflict resolution process in Turkey, as a deeply polarized society. Constitutions serve a fundamental role in the functioning of states, as they regulate the executive, legislative and judicial branches of a country and guarantees the rights of citizens. If a constitution lacks these guarantees, it can open the door to the oppression of groups and eventually it may lead to conflict.

The first study entitled ‘Incrementalist Constitution-Making in Polarised Societies: The Turkish Case’ considers the incrementalist approach to constitution-making, which has been specifically designed for use in polarised societies and applies it to the current situation in Turkey. The study ‘Peace and Counterbalancing the Ruling Power in Turkey’ focusses on the balances of power in Turkey, stressing the need to support mechanisms that promote democratisation and to consider the opportunities in which the presidential system can be useful for peacebuilding. Other opportunities regarding the constitution-making process are outlined in the study ‘Constitutional Priorities in the Kurdish Issue’, which highlights the need for a new constitution by outlining the priorities of the constitutional process in polarised societies, considering a new constitution to be a possible pathway to the resolution of the Kurdish Issue. Other studies focus on the constitution-making process itself. ‘Confidence-Building Steps in Constitution-Making Processes’ discusses the importance of building confidence among the population before introducing a new constitution. The studies also discuss the undemocratic process in which the Turkish Constitution of 1982 came to be and the recent efforts to write a new constitution in Turkey.

The studies are part of DPI’s project titled ‘The Legal Basis for Peace’, which aims to understand the role that legal foundations and constitution-making processes can play as part of conflict resolution efforts. This project is part of a larger series of programmes developed by DPI, titled ‘Forging Pathways to Peace and Democracy in Turkey’, which are supported by the Norwegian, Swiss and Irish governments.

The views and opinions expressed in the studies remain those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DPI.