Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

The Failure of Popular Constitution Making in Turkey: Regressing Towards Constitutional Autocracy


Popular constitution making, a process that allows for public participation as opposed to a handful of elites writing a fundamental social contract behind closed doors and imposing it on the rest of society, is tricky. It sounds like a noble idea in theory, but it is difficult to execute effectively, efficiently, and, most importantly, democratically. Even trickier are the roles of publicity and media in popular constitution making. What are the consequences of reporting during the drafting of a new constitution? In what ways could the media lend legitimacy to the process by informing the public and incorporating public opinion into the drafting of a constitution? Coupled with the rise of new media technologies, an ideal of participatory constitution making (and an active role for the media) may seem desirable, not to mention attainable, but there are myriad ways to participate, and basing a constitution on popular opinion could easily devolve into a majority of 50 percent plus one that imposes its will on the rest. The bare minimum, ideally, is to expect journalists to report on facts without bowing to political or economic pressures, but even that is easier said than done. For which audiences are these journalistic facts intended? For those leaders drafting the new constitution or the public at large?




Baykurt, Burcu. 2020.“Illiberal Media and Popular Constitution-Making in Turkey” In The Failure of Popular Constitution Making in Turkey: Regressing Towards Constitutional Autocracy, edited by Felix Petersen and Zeynep Yanasmayan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.




UMass Amherst Open Access Policy