Policy Performance


Economic Policies

Despite a prudent budgetary policy, Turkey falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 26) with regard to economic policies. After gains last year, its score on this measure has this year declined to within 0.1 point of its 2014 level.

GDP growth has been moderate to strong, but currency depreciation has undermined buying power. Inflation rates are above targets. The banking sector remained stable through the international crisis, but current-account deficits are unsustainably high.

The labor-force participation rate is low, particularly for women, but is rising consistently. Unemployment rates are relatively high, and the informal economy accounts for nearly one-third of employment.

The direct tax burden is low by OECD standards. Indirect taxes contribute the bulk of government revenue. Gross public debt is moderate by international standards, and is falling rapidly as a share of GDP, indicating a sustainable fiscal policy.

Social Policies

Despite encouraging steps forward, Turkey falls into the bottom ranks internationally (rank 36) with regard to social policies. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.3 points since 2014.

Near-universal primary enrollment was achieved in 2013 – 2014, but gender gaps increase strongly at higher educational levels, and PISA scores remain low overall. Income inequality is substantial. Poverty rates are falling rapidly, but remain high. Social-assistance spending is growing rapidly from a low level, with a focus on active labor-market policies.

Health care quality is steadily improving, but cost pressures are growing. The employment rate for women is very low. The government’s conservative family-affairs stance has hampered progress in this area.

Recent reforms have modernized the pension system, but fiscal sustainability is a problem. Turkey has received a significant share of the region’s refugees, but lacks integration policies. The long-term effects of this open-door policy are becoming a concern.

Environmental Policies

With relatively underdeveloped conservation regimes, Turkey receives the SGI 2016’s lowest overall score (rank 41) with regard to environmental policies. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.2 points since 2014.

Dynamic economic growth and a perception of ecological problems as risks to economic development threaten environmental sustainability. Improvements have been made in emissions controls, the use of renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Legal standards have been strengthened in many areas, but enforcement remains weak, and large investments will be needed to improve standards.

Overall emissions growth remains substantial. The country’s Climate Change Action Plan stresses commitments to international commitments and standards, and sets the objective of increasing cooperation with international actors. Cooperation on marine-conservation issues has been fruitful.



Quality of Democracy

With a number of notable gaps, Turkey falls into the bottom ranks internationally (rank 40) with regard to democracy quality. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.5 points since 2014.

A 10% vote threshold for parliamentary eligibility is a high hurdle for small parties. Party and candidate financing is non-transparent. Most mainstream media companies are either directly or indirectly controlled by the government. Private TV stations critical of the government have been closed and charged with supporting terrorism. Websites can be blocked without a court ruling.

Concerns over official abuse of the legal system call civil-rights protections into question. Violations of the freedoms of expression and assembly have become increasingly routine. Legislation limits the free use of the Internet.

Anti-domestic-violence policies have been implemented, but violence against women is a very serious problem. High-profile prosecutions can take unpredictable courses, and corruption remains a pressing concern.



Executive Capacity

Despite a strong core government, Turkey falls into the lower-middle ranks internationally (rank 29) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.3 points since 2014.

President Erdogan holds a tight grip on the government, undermining other constitutional power centers. The resource-rich Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Development are involved in policy development from an early stage. Strategic planning is common but often uncoordinated.

RIAs are theoretically required, but often omitted. Societal consultation is often neglected or ineffective. Communications coherence has declined. The ruling party has consolidated its control over state power, but the state’s policy-implementation record is mixed.

The government’s formerly unilateral approach to Syria and the Islamic State has given way to greater international cooperation. As a primary refugee transit and stopover country, Turkey has played a key role working with Europe to find international approaches to the refugee crisis.

Executive Accountability

With underdeveloped oversight mechanisms, Turkey falls into the bottom ranks internationally (rank 38) with regard to executive accountability. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.1 point relative to 2014.

Citizens’ policy knowledge is often weak, due partially to a lack of transparency regarding government policymaking. The media is polarized for and against the government, complicating acquisition of reliable information. Social media is frequently restricted by the government.

Parliamentarians have moderate resources, with capacity development a persistent problem. Formal oversight powers show significant gaps in practice. The audit court’s powers have been repeatedly modified in recent years. A recently created Ombudsman office has seen a low level of compliance with its decisions.

Parties are centralized. Economic-interest organizations develop proposals that the government claims to take under consideration. The government has created its own network of loyal civil-society groups, and largely excluded others from decision-making processes.
Back to Top