Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Joseph Szyliowicz, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Andrew Goetz

Third Advisor

Paul Viotti


Judicial system, Democratic consolidation, Turkey


This thesis analyzes the role of the judicial system in democratic consolidation using Turkey as a case study. It reviews the theoretical literature on this topic and identifies the role played by such key elements of the political system as the legislature, the executive, civil-military relations, and party politics. The role of these factors in the development and functioning of the Turkish judicial system is then analyzed over time.

The first aspect of investigation comprised an overview of Turkish governmental development since 1920. The second period of focus was on the reforms from the foundation of the Turkish Republic to the beginning of the multiparty period in 1950. The third period of study was from the start of multiparty elections in the 1950s to the 1980s. The fourth period of analysis ran from the 1980s to the beginning of 2000s. The focus here was on the military coup of the 1980s, which signaled a setback in the democratization process, as well as a weakening of the legal system. It was also a reason for increasing ideological and political conflicts within the legal system. The fifth period of analysis focused on the period from 2002 to today.

The thrust of the analysis claims that Turkish governmental development can best be understood as taking place on a continuum from transitional governments since the 1950s to democratic constitutionalism. Specifically, the hybrid formation of the Turkish government is understood through a careful analysis of the development of the judiciary branch, and many examples of such were provided throughout the text. Turkey has arguably set itself on the path of democracy and been pushing for a continuing blend of these aspects of government. As such, Turkey may not be called either a constitutional democracy or an authoritarian regime. It may not be called a failed state or an experimental state. Turkey is best understood as a vital hybrid of authoritarian and constitutional government dynamics, and one which can only reflect the prevailing cultural construction of government in Turkey by the people as it continues moving towards democratization.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Semih Oktay


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

95 p.


International Relations