The Turkish Referendum: Democratic Consolidation or Political Conflict?
The campaign underway before the Turkish referendum on constitutional amendments has been intense. While the results of the referendum will have important implications for the powers of the presidency and the make up of the Constitutional Court, the struggle between the government and the opposition is not about defending or opposing the current constitution. It may be considered a struggle between different versions of a "Good Society" as envisioned by different political forces. Turkey is experiencing a legitimacy crisis whereby the secular credentials of the AKP are called into question by the opposition on the one hand, while the conservatives, the AKP elite included, question the commitment of the opposition parties to civilian supremacy over the military command on the other. A kulturkampf that reinforces the crisis of legitimacy, which in turn undermines trust between the major actors in Turkish politics, now defines the political atmosphere in Turkey.