Backsliding in judicial reforms: domestic political costs as limits to EU's political conditionality in Turkey
Müftüler-Baç, Meltem (2019) Backsliding in judicial reforms: domestic political costs as limits to EU's political conditionality in Turkey. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 27 (1). pp. 61-76. ISSN 1478-2804 (Print) 1478-2790 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14782804.2019.1567477
Judicial reform has been part and parcel of democratization process among countries preparing for European Union accession. The literature on EU enlargement, political conditionality conceptualizes the EU's role in promoting rule of law and judicial reforms in its external neighbourhood, especially in the candidate states as largely positive. However, in the Turkish case, the EU's political conditionality in judicial reform presents a mixed picture. This paper provides a qualitative case study with the aim to assess the conditions under which backsliding occurs. The paper's main proposition is that this backsliding in judicial reforms and rule of law is due to the interplay of the relative weakness of the EU's political anchor and the relative strength of the domestic struggles facing political elites. Judicial reforms emerge as a visible aspect of backsliding as it has become a key priority area for the EU. This paper assesses to what extent the changing pace and direction of judicial reforms have been driven by a mix of factors; the EU's political conditionality as well as the domestic costs of adaptation.
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