Courts in semi-democratic/authoritarian regimes: the judicialization of Turkish (and Iranian) politics
Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes
Cambridge University Press
283 - 303
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Turkey is not a typical authoritarian or democratic regime. For much of the past six decades Turkey has held regular multiparty and reasonably free and fair elections. Power has changed hands numerous times, and governments have come to office and left as a result of elections. Furthermore, even though the Turkish military has intervened in the political process on a number of occasions, unlike in most other developing countries, the periods of direct military rule have been relatively short (1960-1962 and 1980-1983). Finally, for much of the past half-century, Turkey has had lively social and political societies that have acted with relative freedom, although major shortcomings continue to plague both. There is much to suggest that Turkey should be classified as a democracy. At the same time, however, it is widely recognized that the Turkish political system displays authoritarian tendencies and that the military continues to play an important role in Turkish politics. The Turkish military has formally intervened in politics on four occasions (1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997). In 1960 and 1980, the military officially assumed the reins of power, while in the other two instances it limited itself to issuing a series of ultimatums that eventually brought down the governments of the day without formally interrupting the democratic experience. © Cambridge University Press 2008.