An Empirical Analysis of Judicial Transformation in Turkey
36 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2016 Last revised: 2 Sep 2016
Date Written: March 11, 2016
Constitutional amendments in September 2010 restructured the Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC) by imposing term limits, adding six additional seats to the Court, and bolstering the role of the political branches in the appointments process. Numerous commentators argued that the structural reforms amounted to court packing, influenced court decisions in substantive ways, and undermined the TCC's ability to serve as an effective check on the political branches. But aside from speculation and normative analyses of isolated TCC decisions, there has been no systematic academic study on the consequences of the reforms.
In this Article, we aim to fill this scholarly gap. By making use of an original dataset of 200 cases randomly chosen for the period 2007-2014, we test the extent to which these reforms have changed judicial behavior. Our findings show a significant break in 2010 in the ideological position of the Court and detect a conservative ideological shift following the reforms that is increasing in magnitude with time. This shift, however, has not yet affected judicial outcomes in a statistically significant manner. We explain these results and discuss their implications.
Keywords: Turkey, Turkish Constitutional Court, Judicial Review, Constitutional Review, Constitutional Court, Court Packing
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