Assessment report by Sevtap Yokuş: Constitutional-Legal Deadlocks and Opportunities for a Prospective Resolution Process in Turkey

This assessment provides an analysis of the role of the existing Constitution as an impediment or opportunity for the resolution process in Turkey. It considers the role of the Constitution in democratisation and safeguarding of fundamental rights and freedoms as preconditions for successful resolution to the conflict. It goes on to consider the potential role of the Constitutional Court as an instrument in upholding such elements of the Constitution. The paper addresses specific areas where the Constitution could be developed to build better foundations for the resolution process, such as constitutional citizenship, education in the mother tongue, and effective political participation particularly on the local level. In considering factors of the government system, the balance between the legislative and the executive is flagged as a potential challenge, alongside the relation between central and local government and the role of state of emergency regulation. The author assesses risks to the process caused by legislation on the state of emergency and on elections, political parties, associations and meetings and demonstrations, among others. The author concludes that the political atmosphere in Turkey stood in the way of democratic constitutionalism and democratic legislation, and that measures towards such constitutionalism would serve the resolution process, due to the close relation between peace and democratisation. The assessment was prepared for DPI by constitutional law scholar Prof. Dr. Sevtap Yokuş. The views and opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of DPI.