An Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment — The Turkish Perspective: A Comment on the Turkish Constitutional Court’s Headscarf Decision
10(1) International Journal of Constitutional Law (icon) 175-207 (2012)
33 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2012 Last revised: 31 Mar 2014
Date Written: April 28, 2012
In June 2008, the Turkish Constitutional Court annulled amendments to the Constitution regarding the principle of equality and the right to education, which had been enacted by parliament in order to abolish the headscarf ban in universities. In an important and controversial decision, the Constitutional Court ruled that the amendments were unconstitutional because they infringed on the constitutional provision mandating a secular state. In this paper, the authors set forth the historical and legal background to the Turkish Constitutional Court headscarf case, review the facts and decision of the case, and analyze it.
The authors accept the Constitutional Court’s conclusion that parliament’s amendment power is distinct from the original constituent power and therefore limited. However, the authors assert that the Constitutional Court’s competence to review constitutional amendments is restricted to a procedural review. Lastly, the authors claim there was no justification for annulling the amendments because they did not infringe on the constitutionally enshrined principle of state’s secularism.
Keywords: Turkey, secularism, unconstitutional constitutional amendments, unamendable provisions, judicial review of constitutional amendments
JEL Classification: K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation