DPI held an in-person roundtable event entitled ‘Incrementalist Constitution-Making in Polarised Societies: The Turkish Case’ on 21 February 2022 in Istanbul. The event was the first meeting organised under the series titled ‘Constitution-making and Conflict Resolution in Turkey’, which aims to understand the role that constitution-making processes can play as part of possible conflict resolution efforts in Turkey. The new series was designed in conjunction with DPI’s recent research report with the same title published in January 2022, co-written by constitutional law experts Prof Dr Fazıl Hüsnü Erdem, Prof Dr Sevtap Yokus, Dr Vahap Coşkun and Dr Zeynep Ardıç.
The keynote speaker Fazıl Hüsnü Erdem, lecturer and professor of constitutional law, enunciated the incrementalist constitution-making method as a possible conflict resolution approach in polarised societies, and possibly Turkey. Erdem underlined that constitution-making processes are inherently difficult because constitutions are strict legal texts that are difficult to amend and modify. Therefore, oftentimes, constitution-making is considered a revolutionary moment.
The incrementalist constitution-making method is an effort to mitigate and prevent conflict. The aim is not to delve into the issues that cause conflict and to postpone these issues by using ambiguous and contradictory statements. Rather, the goal is to avoid deepening the conflict and to deal with conflicting issues in an atmosphere of reconciliation that will be created by the new constitution.
This roundtable forms part of a larger series of activities planned in the context of the project: “Forging Pathways to Peace and Democracy in Turkey”, supported by the Irish and Swiss governments.