According to research conducted on 41 countries that are members of the European Union and/or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Turkey is ranked in last place in terms of quality of democracy, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday.
Published by the German Bertelsmann Foundation, the study, titled “Sustainable Governance Indicators,” concluded that 26 of the 41 countries have seen a worsening of structures of democracy and rule of law compared to 2014, among which Turkey was assessed to be particularly noteworthy along with Hungary, Poland and Mexico.
As regards Turkey, the report recalled that a state of emergency declared following a failed coup attempt in July 2016 remained in force throughout 2017, during which tens of thousands were dismissed from public service through government decrees, media outlets were subjected to limitations and shutdowns, many journalists were arrested and companies and properties belonging to those affiliated with the Gülen movement were seized.
According to DW, the refusal of the Turkish Constitutional Court to overturn government decrees, the prosecution of thousands of individuals on the grounds of “insulting the president,” the sudden spike in the number of legal proceedings and the decline of the judiciary’s efficiency in the face of mass dismissals were also mentioned as among negative developments in the case of Turkey.
Aart De Geus, the board chairman of the Bertelsmann Foundation, pointed out that as the quality of democracy declined in countries such as Turkey, Poland and Hungary, citizens’ trust in the government improved. De Geus said he finds this trend “alarming.”
Daniel Schraad-Tischler, who was in charge of the study, said, “These developments demonstrate that in certain countries democratic values are not sufficiently embedded among some parts of the society.”
The report also asserted that the decline of the quality of democracy is also visible in several Western countries.
“The quality of democracy is in decline even in the United States which is considered to be an unshakable stronghold of democracy and freedom,” the report said, stating that it is shameful to see an American president who defines the press as the “enemy.”
“Sustainable Governance Indicators” has been regularly published by the foundation since 2011 and examines countries under three categories: standards of democracy, administrative performance and the performance of politicians in economic, social and environmental issues.