Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Political Sciences and Political Systems of Eastern Europe

Previous Research Projects

Research Lab: Constitutional Politics in Turkey II

  • Prof. Dr. Silvia von Steinsdorff, Prof. Dr. Ece Göztepe
  • Duration 2017-2020
  • Funded by Stiftung Mercator



Project Discription

Contemporary forms of democratic backsliding involve political actors who come to power through democratic elections with a strong democratic rhetoric and a promise of political and economic empowerment of the masses. Once they are in power, however, they try to consolidate their power by eliminating constitutional limitations and democratic opposition through legal and constitutional reforms.

Research Lab: Constitutional Politics in Turkey II focuses on this general phenomenon of democratic backsliding, which is also defined with terms such as autocratic legalism, constitutional regression or new authoritarianism with a particular focus on its development in Turkey. Funded by Stiftung Mercator as part of the program Blickwechsel: Contemporary Turkey Studies, the Research Lab aims to understand the political, legal and social developments during the last two decades in Turkey with a particular attention to law and constitution.


Who we are

We are German and Turkish academics from the Department of Comparative Political Sciences and Political Systems of Eastern Europe at Humboldt University and the Law Faculty of Bilkent University in Ankara, who work together to analyse the history of the state under the rule of law in Turkey and the many challenges it is facing from different disciplinary, methodological, and thematic angles.



December 2018: The Sacred and the State in Turkey, Panel discussion at Humboldt University in Berlin.

June 2018: Fascism and Populism - Two Chapters of the same History, Guest lecture by Federico Finchelstein at Humboldt University in Berlin.

March 2018: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Legal Texts, Legal Practices and Parliamentary Work, Workshop at Humboldt University in Berlin.

May 2017: Politics and Society in Contemporary Turkey: State, Constitution and Media, International Conference at Humboldt University in Berlin.

May 2017: Politics in Turkey after the Referendum, Panel discussion at Humboldt University in Berlin.


Constitutional Politics in Eastern Europe


Constitutional politics in authoritarian and hybrid regimes

  • Dr. Anna Fruhstorfer
  • Duration 2016-2017
  • Funded by Volkswagen Stiftung
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This post doc project examines the impact of constitutional politics on the stability of autocratic and hybrid regimes. In line with recent research, it argues that constitutions and constitutional politics have a variety of purposes both in substance and in effect in these contexts. Assuming that ruling alone and absolutely is merely a theoretical possibility, political power is always, even in its most absolute sense dependent on a cohesive group and "a device" (following Ginsburg and Simpser) to control this group. In a surprisingly high number of cases, these devices of choice are constitutions. More importantly, hybrid regimes establish a unique form of commitment to constitutions. This results in fierce political conflicts over amendments. Hence, this project aims to understand how and why constitutional rule in autocratic and hybrid regimes helps to consolidate state power. The project utilizes an event-history approach, which allows to estimate the effects of the factors on the dependent variable (duration of the autocratic regime) over time. The preliminary factors found to hold some predictive power are few leadership changes, defeat in war, and low level of constitutional politics in general. The sample includes the constitutions of independent states that have existed between 1918 and 2015.

Further information on the pages of Volkswagen foundation ...

Constitutional Politics in Eastern Europe

  • Anna Fruhstorfer and Dr. Michael Hein
  • Funding period: 2014-2015
  • Financed by: Excellence Initiative (DFG)

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The Influence of Constitutional Courts on the Process of Transformation. A Comparative Perspective on Turkey and Germany

financed by: BMBF und Tübitak (2011-14)

  • with Prof. Dr. Ayça Ergun Özbolat, Felix Petersen, Anna Fruhstorfer, Maria Haimerl, Rosa Öktem

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Constitutional Politics in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe

  • Anna Fruhstorfer with Dr. Michael Hein (University Greifswald)
  • 2013-2015
  • financed by: Excellenceinitiative (Humboldt-University Berlin)

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Advocates or Notaries of Democracy? A Comparative Socio-legal Analysis of the Role of Constitutional Courts in Political Transformation Processes

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De Facto States in the Post-Soviet Area. Conflict prevention in Nagorny Karabakh and Transnistria

  • with Anna Fruhstorfer, Romy Werner
  • financed by the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD (2010-2012)
  • Program of the Conference (PDF)
  • Program of the Graduate Workshop (PDF)
  • The results of the academic discussion are published in a special issue of Communist und Post-Communist Studies.

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Implementation of Legal Norms. Violence against Woman in Turkey and Germany

  • with Helin Uçar
  • financed by Bosch Foundation (2009-2011)

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