Peace Negotiations and Civilian Targeting

Does the participation of armed actors in peace talks influence their strategy of targeting civilians? I argue that before peace talks belligerents have incentives to demonstrate their military strength and respect for humanitarian standards to international third parties. Thus, they are more likely to spare civilians and discriminately target enemy combatants before international talks. Using change point analysis and surrogate data testing on the daily casualty and territorial control data for the Syrian Civil War, I show that belligerents engaged in negotiations incite more combatant and fewer civilian casualties in the enemy territory immediately before an international meeting is to be held. These findings underscore that international parties can drive combatants to avoid violence against civilians by inviting them to peace talks.

The Impact of Court Packing on Turkish Constitutional Court Decisions

Using an original and comprehensive dataset, I measure Turkish Constitutional Court justices’ ideal points in a two dimensional ideology space. I show that justices’ ideologies and background characteristics are significant determinants of their votes and dissents in annulment action cases between 2002 and 2016. The more restrainist and liberal a justice is, the more likely they will vote for the unconstitutionality of AKP legislation. The main question this study seeks to answer is whether the impact of justices’ ideologies on their votes has been significantly different after the act of court packing in 2010. The analyses show that the probability of voting for the unconstitutionality of AKP legislation between 2010 and 2016 is significantly lower than the cases between 2002 and 2010.