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Abstract

This study uses the case study of a ‘transitioning’ country, Turkey, in exploring institutional endurance and change. In this context it uses the framework of Arend Lijphart's majority and consensus democracy in order to uncover patterns of institutional evolution and persistence which have implications for the nature of its democratic transition. This is achieved through a step-by-step exploration of the key dimensions of democracy discussed by Lijphart. This empirical study seeks to demonstrate that despite the introduction of anti-majoritarian institutions in 1961, Turkey has never consolidated consensus democracy. Instead, since 1982 the trend has been a move towards a system more in line with the majoritarian regime established under the 1924 constitution. As such, the study offers a useful case study of the dynamics of political transformation in the face of institutional persistence, suggesting a need for tracing the history if we are to identify institutional patterns in contrast to the more generalized democratization frameworks.