A Reform Bill for Turkey

The referendum on political and judicial reform which had held Turkey in a state of tension has been decisively resolved in favor of the ruling AK Party of Prime Minister Erdogan. The vote, covering 26 amendments to the Turkish constitution, went a surprisingly confident 58%-42% in favor of the reform, which has widely been interpreted as a strong vote of confidence in the government. This despite the continuous obstructions to various reform proposals on the part of the AKP by the nationalist clique controlling the Turkish judiciary and much of its civil service, including a injunction by the constitutional court against legalizing the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in public places such as universities. The previous Turkish constitution of 1980 itself had been created after a military coup by nationalist forces ushered in an almost 20 year uninterrupted rule of this section of Turkish society, which is strongly reliant on the military, the Turkish bourgeoisie (centered largely in Istanbul) and its intelligentsia. The democratic legitimacy of the successive nationalist governments can be highly doubted despite their veneer of liberalism and their appeals to the liberal West, in particular with an eye to the repeated attempts (some successful) to ban any opposing party which threatened to be too successful and did not support their lines on the religion question or the Kurdish one. Continue reading “A Reform Bill for Turkey”