International Journal of Middle East Studies



ARTICLES
Change Within, Change Without: The Ottoman Empire and Turkey

A TALE OF TWO MAYORS: COURTS AND POLITICS IN IRAN AND TURKEY


Hootan Shambayati a1
a1 Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Bilkent University, 06533 Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey; e-mail: hootan@bilkent.edu.tr.

Countries such as Iran and Turkey do not fit comfortably into the democratic and authoritarian categories. In these countries, elections are held regularly, and the will of the people is accepted as one source of sovereignty. At the same time, both constitutionally and in practice the elected officials have to share the exercise of political power with institutions that do not draw their power directly from the will of the people. In such systems, the judiciary has two important political functions. First, the judiciary acts as a politically insulated decision-maker through which the unelected head can exercise some degree of control over the actions of the elected head. Second, the judiciary's direct involvement in the political arena increases political tensions and legitimates the continuation of the two-headed system. In systems based on divided sovereignty, the tensions created by the judicialization of politics contribute to the stability of the regime.



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