Turkey’s Democracy score declined for the sixth time in a row


Democracy stagnates, Political participation rises, Women’s political participation makes progress, Europe’s democratic malaise persists, “Flawed democracies” fall further, The Return of Populism, Are Electoral process and pluralism free, Do freely elected representatives determine government policy? Is there a sufficient degree of societal consensus and cohesion to underpin a stable, functioning democracy? Is there a free media? Do ethnic, religious and other minorities have a reasonable degree of autonomy and voice in the political process?

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Democracy Index 2018

Turkey’s score declined further in 2018 as the country consolidated the shift to a presidential system of government, which grants the executive wide-ranging powers and greatly weakens parliament. In June Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the incumbent president, won the presidential election, which was held under a state of emergency. The election process appeared mostly free, but largely unfair. Opposition candidates received little to no media coverage; the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, had to campaign from prison; and the government restrained freedom of speech and freedom of association. A state of emergency expired on July 18th, but parliament then passed a security law on July 25th that imposes stringent restrictions on freedoms.

Disillusionment with traditional political parties and their ability to address clear weaknesses in the practice of democracy has fed through more broadly into support for democratic values, into belief that democratic systems support greater economic prosperity and security, and ultimately, into confidence in democracy itself.

At the same time, civil liberties that form the bedrock of democratic values are continuing to be eroded. As the Democracy Index 2017: Free speech under attack highlighted, despite the enormous potential for the expansion of free speech represented by the internet and social media, in practice free speech is increasingly being restricted by both state and non-state actors. In the past decade, in fact, no scores in the Democracy Index have deteriorated more than those related to freedom of expression and the presence of free print and electronic media. These trends continued into 2018 and were compounded by a disturbing deterioration in scores related to the use of torture by the state, and to the perception that human rights are well protected. [Full Report]

[Campaign by Amnesty International Turkey for Freedom of Expression]

[State of Emergency Ended, Repression Continues in Turkey]

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