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Dissolution of political parties by the constitutional court in Turkey: Judicial delimitation of the political domain

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Chapter Summary

The case against Halkin Emek Partisi (People’s Labor Party [HEP]) started in July 1993, culminating in its dissolution on grounds of ‘separatism’, namely threatening the unity of the nation-state. The HEP and Refah decisions, analyzed in this chapter, were the first substantive judicial steps into the ongoing struggle between Kemalism and the perceived threats of politically engaged Islamists and Kurds in the post-1980 era. The chapter argues that these cases do offer an opportunity to reflect upon constitutionalism in Turkey and cannot be reduced to mere reflections of the constitution’s Kemalist imperatives. It shows that the 1982 Constitution offers a number of venues for judicial interpretation upon which the HEP and Refah parties relied in the hope of securing their constitutional legitimacy. The chapter stipulates that interim laws passed between the 1980 military intervention and the general elections of 7 December 1983 cannot be challenged on constitutional grounds.

Keywords: 1980 military intervention; constitutional legitimacy; Halkin Emek Partisi (HEP); Islamists; judicial delimitation; Kemalism; political party dissolution; Refah decision; Turkey



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