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Official discourse and political rights: A critical analysis of the Turkish Constitutional system.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:59 authored by Zühtü. Arslan
This dissertation is about the political rights in the Turkish Constitutional system. It critically analyses the Turkish Constitution and the case-law of the Constitutional Court concerning the political rights. In this analysis, I will use a liberal framework which is based on the constitutional principles of political neutrality and the rule of law. These liberal principles provide the necessary setting in which the political rights are protected. It is widely believed that the official ideology of Turkish Constitution has much in common with liberal ideas, and indeed it aimed at establishing a liberal democracy. My study refutes this argument. The main argument of this thesis, on the contrary, is that the official ideology of the Turkish Constitution, namely Kemalism, is not compatible with the liberal principles of political neutrality and the rule of law. As such Kemalism, together with the strong state tradition in Turkish political culture, constitutes the most serious obstacle to the protection of liberal political rights. The dissertation consists of two parts. While Part I sets out the theoretical framework of political rights. Part II tries to analyse the Turkish Constitution in the light both of this theoretical background and of Kemalist principles. A particular chapter in the second part is devoted to the critical evaluation of the decisions given by the Turkish Constitutional Court. It is argued that the Court's approach to political rights is determined by the official ideology of the Constitution. In other words, it is an ideology-based, not a rights-based, approach. This study concludes that the Turkish Constitutional system has to undergo some institutional and structural changes, and radical paradigm shifts in order to remove the obstacles to the implementation of political rights. The Court in particular must adopt the rights-based approach to political rights. At the heart of all these changes and paradigm shifts, I argue, lies the self-awareness and authenticity which may be achieved through a journey to selfhood.


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Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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