The recent backsliding in judicial independence and erosion of rule of law in Turkey follow the findings of the existing literature which already informed us about the pathological effects and unintended consequences of the external promotion of the EU conditions. Yet, we know little about the domestic strategies of the governments that enable them to capture the judiciary under the guise of EU-led reforms. This article argues that the frequent and ad hoc institutional changes demanded and funded by the EU and readily adopted by the political elites open a window of opportunity for the consolidation of patronage networks within the judiciary system. This is achieved by the adoption of formal and informal domestic strategies of resistance – formal readoption, staff politicization and intimidation & bribery – remaking, distorting, and when necessary, reversing EU-led reforms in a way that enables governments to take control of the high judicial bodies and capture them from within.
I would like to thank Arolda Elbasani and two anonymous referees for their valuable feedback.
- rule of law
- judiciary capture