Neither the opposition parties nor public opinion represent the most serious constraints for the incumbent government in pursuing policy. The real obstacles to the implementation of government policy in Turkey are the so-called veto players, the military and the high judiciary. On April 27, 2007, the military released a memorandum warning the government that it would protect the secular nature of the state. At the end of March 2008, the chief prosecutor appealed to the Constitutional Court to close down the governing AKP party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which had gained a very strong 47% of the vote in parliamentary elections eight months previously. On July 30, 2008, the Constitutional Court called the AKP a “focus of anti-secular activities.” However, the court refrained from the immediate closure of the party, saying that for the time being, it posed only a limited danger. Thus, the AKP was clearly in a delicate position, particularly in the first half of the period under investigation. Not long earlier, in June 2008, the Constitutional Court had already seriously limited the right of the parliament to change the constitution.
The resistance of the military, the high judiciary and the support they have from opposition parties were responsible for the government’s failure to make head scarves acceptable at universities, to put graduates of imam schools on an equal footing with graduates of other high schools, and its inability to take anything more than symbolic steps toward the solution of the Kurdish question. However, the government was by and large successful in pursuing its policy in the fields of economics, social security, taxes and foreign affairs.