Turkey Reforming Itself: Constitutional Change and Democratization

The Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy at the Cardozo School of Law and the World Policy Institute

Turkey Reforming Itself:
Constitutional Change and Democratization

In September 2010, Turkish voters endorsed constitutional reforms that, observers have variously argued, either moved the country closer to true democracy or allowed the ruling party to gain more control and further marginalize once dominant secularist forces. How should we understand Turkey's constitutional reforms and the broader context of transformation that has occurred under the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party? Is Turkey democratizing, or is the AKP, a party with Islamic roots, leading Turkey and its Muslim majority towards Islamicization? What lessons, if any, can Turkey provide to post-revolutionary societies in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East? This panel discussion, moderated by WPI Senior Fellow Belinda Cooper, seeks to address these questions and more.

Featured Panelists:

  • Emiliano Alessandri, Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States; Associate Fellow, Istituto Affari Internazionali; Editorial Board Member, The International Spectator
  • Halil Karaveli, Senior Fellow, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center at Johns Hopkins University; Managing Editor, Turkey Analyst
  • Nuh Yilmaz, Director, SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
Moderated by Belinda Cooper, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute


Wednesday, April 13, 2011
6 – 8 p.m.


Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
55 Fifth Avenue (between 12th and 13th Streets)
Room 1008


This event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required to reserve a seat. RSVP to events@worldpolicy.org or 212 481 5005, option 2.

Related Reading:  World Policy Journal on Turkey

A Self-Appointed Superpower
Piotr Zalewski, WPJ Winter 2010-11
At the close of the 20th century, Turkey became a candidate for membership in the European Union. Ten years later, its nose still pressed against the glass, Turkey is changing domestic and foreign policies, but no longer to win friends in Europe. Today, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is defining Turkey as a country that is as much Middle Eastern as European. Through improved economic relations with neighbors once considered enemies, Ankara has raised its stature on the international stage–at the expense of its bid to join the EU.

CODA: So Europe Ends at the Bosporus?
David Andelman, WPJ Summer 2010
What makes a bloc like the European Union thrive? Or even function? Or, more fitting for these times—does it even function? Editor David A. Andelman looks at Turkey, its unlikely future in the EU, its turn toward the Middle East, and the potentially bright future of newly emerging blocs from Africa to Asia.

Long Division
Nicholas Bray, Spring 2011
During the past three decades, as Europe came together, Cyprus stayed divided. Nicholas Bray reports on Cyprus's uncertain path to unity, reminding us that the island is also a fault line—between East and West, Christianity and Islam, atavistic nationalism and borderless globalization.

Sean Daly, “The Brotherhood’s Big Brother,” World Policy Blog, March 15, 2011

About the Sponsors:

The Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy was established in 2000 through a generous gift from Dr. Stephen Floersheimer. Its goal is to better understand, and to assist in improving, the functioning of constitutional democracies, both at home and abroad. The Center supports research by scholars and policymakers, hosts speakers and conferences, issues publications, and provides financial support for visiting scholars as well as student projects. Topics of particular concern include civil liberties in an age of terrorism, the structures of democratic government, and the relationship between church and state.

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