Turkey’s Constitutional Showdown

Alex Taurel and Shadi Hamid have a CSM op-ed discussing what’s at stake in the upcoming Turkish Supreme Court judgment on the ruling AKP party’s legal status. I agree that a ruling outlawing the extremely popular and effective reformist party would send a horrible message to moderate Islamic parties trying to integrate the democratic process throughout the region. Taurel and Hamid don’t mention it, but it would also come at a very inopportune time, as Turkey is becoming an increasingly active and helpful regional actor. So I hope and imagine that we’re trying to influence the outcome in some way or other.

But I’m not sure it’s the United States’ role to publicly weigh in on what mounts to an internal constitutional process in an established, if flawed, democracy, as Taurel and Hamid suggest. More practically, Turkey is a fiercely independent country, so I’m not sure what impact our taking a position would have other than to undo the progress made over the past year of restoring relations between Washington and Ankara that were frayed by the Iraq War and the PKK conflict.