‘Receiving’ the Swiss Civil Code: Translating authority in early republican Turkey
The promulgation of the Turkish Civil Code of 1926, a nuanced translation of the Swiss Civil Code of 1907, has long been celebrated as an exceptionally thoroughgoing instance of ‘legal transplantation’. Despite their pervasiveness, such assessments cloud appreciation of the multifarious power dynamics at work in the Code's preparation and implementation, especially the mechanisms through which it was made to serve Kemalist ideology's twofold agenda of ‘modernising’ socio-legal relations while retaining – and, in certain instances, augmenting – those ‘traditional’ practices which early republican legislators and administrators found to be of especial value for their ‘nation-building’ project. The chief objective of this study is to reveal the inadequacies of the Turkish Civil Code's standard characterisation as a ‘success story’ in comparative legal scholarship. Specifically, I demonstrate that the 1926 Code is best understood as the product of a deeply gendered tension between Kemalism's dedication to a state-driven programme of national ‘modernisation’ and elements of the ‘tradition’ this programme was crafted for the sake of mobilising, radicalising and transforming.
|Journal||International Journal of Law in Context|
Özsu, U. (2010). ‘Receiving’ the Swiss Civil Code: Translating authority in early republican Turkey. International Journal of Law in Context, 6(1), 63–89. doi:10.1017/S1744552309990309