Turkey After the Referendum: A Roundtable
"Ultimately, the constitutional referendum in Turkey highlights one of the central quandaries inherent in the notion of democracy: the difficulty in disentangling democratic means from democratic ends. Whether a constitution is written by a military junta or by a civilian government has no bearing on whether the constitution can secure rights, plurality, judicial independence, freedom of expression, civil disobedience—in short, whether the constitution can do the work of democracy. While Erdoğan’s victory in the referendum will surely have nondemocratic ends—as we have already seen with Erdoğan using his victory speech to herald the return of the death penalty, or the post-referendum arrest of dozens involved with the “NO” campaign—it was couched in the language of democracy, won by democratic means, and achieved through liberal, democratic institutions. If opposition to Erdoğan’s tightening grip on the state apparatus is going to have any success, it first needs to recognize that his antidemocratic practices are not a crisis in Turkish politics, but instead represent the culmination of longstanding governmental logics and political discourses."