Constitutional Referendum in Turkey
By Selin Bölme & Taha Özhan
Policy Brief, No. 47, August 2010
On March 22, 2010, the AK Party announced a constitutional reform package which the Turkish parliament approved the bill to reform the constitution on May 7, 2010.
Since the establishment of the Turkish Republic, four constitutions have been adopted (1921, 1924, 1961, and 1982), which were significantly amended by the successive parliaments in light of new developments, yet remained short of meeting universal democratic standards. The last two constitutions were drafted in the aftermath of military interventions, and none of them have been produced out of negotiation, bargaining or a compromise process. Within the framework of the EU reforms, Turkey’s most recent constitution of 1982 has been amended several times – so much so that almost one third of the constitution has been reconstructed. There have been demands for the drawing up of a new constitution from both right and left wing parties, but the idea has never been realized.
On March 22, 2010, the AK Party announced a constitutional reform package which the Turkish parliament approved the bill to reform the constitution on May 7, 2010. The Turkish public will vote on the whole package on September 12, 2010; the date of the referendum has a symbolic meaning, as the current constitution is the product of the coup d’état of September 12, 1980.