Turkey has been struggling with irregularities in many areas that became apparent after the abortive coup attempt, besides social-economic problems at home and diplomatic brawl with mostly democratic countries and its exporting insecurity to the weak countries in its neighborhood through coercive diplomacy made Turkey one of the declining third world countries.
Obviously, the roll-up events after coup attempt ramifications become daily life word by many experts, diplomats, independent organizations, international indexes and indicators agree that Turkey is no longer a democratic land and a rule of law country, especially after the huge purge, led widespread witch-hunt that culminated in documented ongoing human rights, rule of law, and International law violations against Hizmet Movement followers. The global purge was launched by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Erdoğan accusing self-reclusive Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the coup. Gülen has denied any involvement in the coup, proposing and suggesting the establishment of an independent international commission to investigate the coup attempt.
In order to grasp the direction and the image of Turkey, it is significant to have a look at international indexes. Almost in all international freedom indicators, transparency and rule of law Turkey demonstrate a downward trend arrow is convincing enough that Turkey is no longer a democratic country. On this rational assumption that meets with empirical studies on the ground, Turkey’s one-man regime activity on quantitative and highly scientific research and indexes are put together. This article will examine the last three years of Turkey in the independent and prominent International independent indexes. Under the light of International indexes, we hope we will have a better understanding of the direction of Turkey and her future.
World Justice Project is a leading rule of law index report provides the most comprehensive, original and independent data that measures the countries in 8 categories such as Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, Criminal Justice and Rule of law. In 2016 report Turkey moved down 8 positions compared to last year and ranked 99th out of 113 countries, in 2017-2018 Turkey dropped 2 points and ranked 103 out of 113. It’s regional rank is 13 out of 13 in Central Europe and Central Asian countries. According to WJP Turkey’s deterioration factor is order and security.
Another report by Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 as it was released by former Secretary State Ray Tillerson underlined several significant violations of Turkey toward religious minorities and 22 pages of Turkey is full of negative image that Turkey is no longer a country of tolerance toward religious minorities, non-religious minorities, and other faith groups.
The following report by Freedom House is crucial to understanding the political rights and civil liberties ranks Turkeys freedom upward arrow close to Rwanda. Freedom House similar to Rule of Law indexes measures countries freedom of liberties and political life. Freedom House changed Turkey status and declined from partly free to not freedom. According to Freedom House Press freedom and Net freedom Status are not free.
Political rights rating declined from 4 to 5, and its civil liberties rating declined from 5 to 6 due to a deeply irregular constitutional referendum that put all powers under the presidency a new system of Turkey, the direct appointment of the mayor mainly to Kurdish area and arbitrary prosecutions of rights activists and other imaginary enemies of the state, and continued local and global purges of state employees, all of these factors scared citizen to express their opinion on political life and other issues.
Another international index is Reporters without Borders –For freedom and information- ( RSF) measures countries freedom of reporting and to reports based on both qualitative and quantities methodology using the questionaries’ data. It promotes the freedom of media and information and advocates for it. Like other indexes, Turkey is in a great decline to RSF due to huge crackdown on media right after 2016 coup attempt. Following the order of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hundreds of professional journalists were incarcerated. Eliminating local and national critical media, Erdogan targeted publications, shut Wikipedia, and created its own partisan media. It is impossible to refer a reliable or out of the state circle papers in Turkey. Turkey, according to many Journalism platforms is the number one jailer of Journalists. Along with that, according to many Journalism indexes and data, Turkey is the number 1 jailer of Journalists. Around 300 journalists have been imprisoned without trial, turning Turkey into the world’s biggest prison for media personnel. 155 out of 180 countries in the world rankings in 2017, Turkey still continues to crack down on media outlets and indiscriminating imprison personnel.
Transparency International-Global Collation against corruption is one another significant nongovernmental organizations. It is leading to fight with corruption working in over 100 countries around the globe. TI highlights the corruption perception indexes in governmental departments in 180 countries.
Turkey for TI is one of the surprising and thorny countries after the coup attempt, the emergency of state gave unprecedented power to the state to curtail private enterprise, further the decision within the statutory decree, and hundreds of thousands were sacked and purged. Another indicator of the corruption, that the checks and balances mechanism is completely abolished and disappeared. The Turkish Wealth Fund system under presidency is not open to check and its free from the judiciary process. Its 40$ billion budget is not transparent without publishing figures, spending and values. Besides that, the discretionary spending is alarming in 14 years. 13.7 billion are spent without checks and balances. According to Transparency International, in Turkey more than 40 percent of public procurements are not subject to the public procurement law and 28 percent of those subject to the law are not open tenders as a result of the lack transparent of public procurement turned to be exceptional rather the law. Companies and businesspeople close to the government have a chance to gain public lender. .
Besides the rule of law, transparency, journalism, freedom of human rights and other indicators demonstrate the downward arrow and worsening trend of Turkey, education is another alarming field that Turkey fell below to the global average, PISA under OECD is one of the leading sources to compare countries educational level. Turkey hit the below in OECD countries in three headlines of Science, Mathematics, and Reading.
The share of low performers in Science, Mathematics, and Reading, country low performance has a huge impact on students the definition of low-performance. PISA says students can’t use the science in the daily basis, unable to interpret the data and have a sound and valid scientific conclusion. In Mathematics, students can’t approximate the price of an item and face difficulty in currency exchange or compare the distance of an alternative route. In reading, students struggle to comprehend the text and recognize the main idea. Erdogan strived to de-secularize the lifestyle in Turkish society through education. Opening thousands religious high school, changing the curriculum, distort the content of the textbook, appointing party oriented and loyalist to the head position at school administration, putting the 15 July ( coup attempt) in school annual program as a national heroic holiday etc. Erdogan rocked the education boat and it is sinking all the way to the bottom.
Violations of human rights, clamming down on educators, sacked teachers, confiscating Universities properties, closing down educational institute speaks itself that Turkey’s education system is collapsed, checking data for the last 3 years of so-called reforms in education by emergency decree law under the state of emergency, Turkey faces the unprecedented brain drain in its history. 100,000 public officials and civil servants have been dismissed or suspended. These include around 28,000 teachers alleged to be Gülen supporters and labeled by the government to be part of a terrorist organization. The day after the coup attempt, 1,577 deans — working at nearly every university in the country — were forced to resign by university administrators, rectors, please bear in mind that rectors in Turkey are appointed by President. An estimated 200,000 students were subjected to mobility or transfer after the closure of 15 universities (opened by state approval) approximately half of this number faced of several inhumane treatments such as labeling, psychological breakdown, bullying, moreover, students were victimized and had to interrupt their studies, many students with their junior couldn’t complete their education, lost their universal right of education, and become unemployed later. 1,043 private top schools popular for their math and science reportedly linked to Fethullah Gulen are closed down and propertied and land transformed to public schools and mainly turned into Imam-hatip ( Religious high schools) by the means of this shift, the characterization of the regime has been changed.
There is no conclusion here, Turkey will continue to decline, all international indexes show the downward arrow and alarming declining of Turkey in every direction is obvious and unstoppable, to up until the rule of law, justice and all promising democratic and liberal values are restored. It is evident that in numbers and figures collected from the leading independent international non-governmental institutions, Turkey is not a democratic country. As long as Erdogan and his cadets are in power, it is impossible to look at the bright side of Turkey. I urge to world leaders to stand to the values they have to uphold, and the upcoming 73rd of UN assembly meeting is a good opportunity to raise the issue of populist corrupted leaders.