Turkey

   

Executive Accountability

#41
Key Findings
With oversight mechanisms being increasingly undermined, Turkey takes the SGI 2018’s bottom spot (rank 41) with regard to executive accountability. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.8 points relative to 2014.

The government’s lack of transparency with regard to policymaking, with policy plans often kept secret or subject to last-minute changes, makes it difficult for citizens’ to develop policy knowledge. Media independence has been severely compromised since the attempted coup, complicating acquisition of reliable information. Social media is frequently restricted by the government.

Parliamentarians have moderate resources, with capacity development a persistent problem. The government has demonstrated a lack of accountability to the parliament. The audit court reports to parliament but is not accountable to it. 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. An ideological divide hampers cooperation between secular and Islamic trade unions. The government has excluded opponents from decision-making processes, and created a network of loyal civil-society groups.

Citizens’ Participatory Competence

#26

To what extent are citizens informed of government policymaking?

10
 9

Most citizens are well-informed of a broad range of government policies.
 8
 7
 6


Many citizens are well-informed of individual government policies.
 5
 4
 3


Few citizens are well-informed of government policies; most citizens have only a rudimental knowledge of policies.
 2
 1

Most citizens are not aware of government policies.
Policy Knowledge
5
Except for the Ministry of Finance and the central bank, the government generally does not adequately inform citizens about the content and development of government policy. The head of government, ministers and high government officials highlight success stories and policies, but do not offer follow-up details. While there are no surveys that review how citizens get information on government policy, it is evident that policymaking in Turkey is not transparent or participatory. The government follows a selective and perception management approach to informing citizens about governmental processes. Although citizens in Turkey do reflect critically on politics in general, they often learn of policies only after their implementation has begun. The public’s level of knowledge about government affairs is low, as is the public’s level of satisfaction with the government. However, this has not until recently manifested in public unrest. Even the participatory mechanisms set up to assist government policymaking do not work effectively. Civil society organizations are unable to inform members or the public about ongoing developments. Policy plans are kept largely secret or subject to last-minute changes, and the parliament’s tendency to pass important measures as a part of an omnibus of legislative packages has been increasingly criticized, because it confuses the public.

Social media has become a widespread tool, even for the government in its public relations. Ministries and municipalities use social media frequently, though the information shared by executive officers is limited and propagandistic. Academic studies concluded that people consider social media a mechanism able to influence views and developments in two directions: government can inform its citizens and the people can influence government policies. In other words, social media can facilitate input-output and implementation and feedback in governmental processes. However, the accessibility and reliability of social media is a major obstacle. Only 52% of the population is active on social media. Moreover, the recent restrictions and bans on social media on the one hand and its limited presence on the other make it ineffective. Furthermore, as is the case demonstrated in other countries, social media may inform people, but it also tends to re-affirm biased views and opinions among the public. As a result, social media may underline or even exacerbate polarization tendencies in Turkey.

Citations:
“Orta Vadeli Program açıklandı,” 27.09.2017, http://aa.com.tr/tr/ekonomi/orta-vadeli-program-aciklandi/920725 (accesssed 1 November 2017)
2018 Yılı Para ve Kur Politikası, 5 Aralık 2017, http://www.tcmb.gov.tr/wps/wcm/connect/b8c11e58-25df-4149-a702-1669b6932a36/2018parakur.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID= (accessed 5 December 2017)
“More renewable investments high on Turkey’s energy agenda,” 1 November 2017, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2017/11/02/more-renewable-investments-high-on-turkeys-energy-agenda (accesssed 1 November 2017)
Volkan Göçoğlu and Mehmet Devrim Aydın, Kamu Politikası ve Sosyal Medya İlişkisinin Toplumsal Hareketler Bağlamında İncelenmesi, Uluslararası Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi, 2015, 8(37): 880-901.
“64. hükümetin sosyal medya reytingi yüksek” 9 March 2016, http://www.yenisafak.com/ekonomi/64-hukumetin-sosyal-medya-reytingi-yuksek-2430912?p=1 (accesssed 1 November 2017)
Digital in 2017: Global Overview, Ihttps://wearesocial.com/uk/special-reports/digital-in-2017-global-overview (accesssed 1 November 2017)
Mahmut Korkmaz, Sosyal Medya-Kamu Politikaları Etkileşimi: Gezi Parkı Olayları Üzerine Bir Değerlendirme, MA Thesis, Hacettepe University, 2014.

Legislative Actors’ Resources

#40

Do members of parliament have adequate personnel and structural resources to monitor government activity effectively?

10
 9

The members of parliament as a group can draw on a set of resources suited for monitoring all government activity effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The members of parliament as a group can draw on a set of resources suited for monitoring a government’s major activities.
 5
 4
 3


The members of parliament as a group can draw on a set of resources suited for selectively monitoring some government activities.
 2
 1

The resources provided to the members of parliament are not suited for any effective monitoring of the government.
Parliamentary Resources
6
The administrative organization of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) consists of departments that support the Speaker’s Office. The conditions of appointment of the administrators and officers are regulated by law (Law 6253, 1 December 2011). The administrative organization (including the research services department and the library and archives services department) is responsible for providing information as well as bureaucratic and technical support to the plenary, the bureau, committees, party groups and deputies; informing committees about bills and other legislative documents and assisting in the preparation of committee reports; preparing draft bills in accordance with deputy requests; providing information and documents to committees and deputies; coordinating relations and legislative information between the Assembly and the general secretary of the president, the Prime Minister’s Office and other public institutions; organizing relations with the media and public; and providing documentation, archive, and publishing services (Article 3, Law 6253). Although the budget of the Assembly is part of the annual state budget, it is debated and voted on as a separate spending unit. The Assembly prepares its own budget without negotiation or consultation with the government; yet, it does follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Finance.

During the review period, the 550 deputies were provided with 482 primary and 465 secondary advisers and 493 clerks. A total of 29 experts and 93 clerks are assigned to the various party groups. The Turkish parliament attempted to improve its human resources, especially for budget and final accounts processes, and provide greater support for parliamentary members’ work. Within this scope, the so-called Country Expertise Project covers 44 countries and employ four experts and 47 officers. However, capacity-building remains a major problem. The parliamentary library and research unit cannot effectively meet demands for information. Following the 15 July failed coup, several staff members were dismissed from the Assembly. In November 2017, the parliament advertised 192 job vacancies, mainly in logistical services.

Citations:
TBMM 26. Dönem 1. Yasama Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/26_1_yd_faaliyet_raporu_20102016.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
“TBMM personel alımı başvuru sonuçları açıklandı!” 15 November 2017, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/tbmm-personel-alimi-basvuru-sonuclari-aciklandi-40646332 (accessed 1 November 2017)
“İşte karşılaştırmalı TBMM İç Tüzük teklifi,” 10 Temmuz 2017, http://t24.com.tr/haber/iste-karsilastirmali-tbmm-ic-tuzuk-teklifi,413621 (accessed 1 November 2017)
Nakamura, Robert and Omer Genckaya. 2010.“Assessment for the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Support of the Implementation of the Public Financial Management Act.” Report to the World Bank.
Turkish Parliament: Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Research Center, Ankara, 2012.

Are parliamentary committees able to ask for government documents?

10
 9

Parliamentary committees may ask for most or all government documents; they are normally delivered in full and within an appropriate time frame.
 8
 7
 6


The rights of parliamentary committees to ask for government documents are slightly limited; some important documents are not delivered or are delivered incomplete or arrive too late to enable the committee to react appropriately.
 5
 4
 3


The rights of parliamentary committees to ask for government documents are considerably limited; most important documents are not delivered or delivered incomplete or arrive too late to enable the committee to react appropriately.
 2
 1

Parliamentary committees may not ask for government documents.
Obtaining Documents
5
According to Article 98 of the constitution, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey exercises its supervisory power over the government by posing written and oral questions, conducting inquiries, sponsoring general debates, offering motions of censure or starting parliamentary investigations (Articles 96-113 of the Rules of Procedure). Parliamentary committees or commissions may ask the ministries to provide any information relevant to their sphere of duty (Article 41 of the Rules of Procedure). However, in practice some parliamentary inquiry committees that deal with security, military or corruption issues have not been able to collect information from the relevant authorities. In fact, several motions of inquiry on sensitive issues for the government were rejected by parliamentary the votes dominated by the ruling party. During the review period, an inquiry into the so-called Paradise Papers affair submitted by the HDP was rejected. Some invited public officials, mainly military officers, have not attended parliamentary inquiry committee meetings. General Hulusi Akar, the chief of the Turkish General Staff, and Hakan Fidan, head of the Turkish Intelligence Service (MİT), testified before a parliamentary inquiry committee into the 15 July coup, but only by providing a written submission on 29 May 2017.

Citations:
Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, http://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/rules_of_procedure_en.pdf (accessed 5 November 2014)
“Paradise Papers’ inquiry rejected at Turkish Parliament, CHP to initiate censure motion,” Hürriyet Daily News, 15 November 2017, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/paradise-papers-inquiry-rejected-at-turkish-parliament-chp-to-initiate-censure-motion-122475 (accessed 1 November 2017)
Darbe Komisyonu, Hulusi Akar ve Hakan Fidan’ı dinlemeden kapatıldı,” Cumhuriyet, 3 January 2017, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/654848/Darbe_Komisyonu__Hulusi_Akar_ve_Hakan_Fidan_i_dinlemeden_kapatildi.html# (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Hulusi Akar’a sorulan 10 soru ve cevapları,” 30 May 2017, https://www.memurlar.net/haber/671262/hulusi-akar-a-sorulan-10-soru-ve-cevaplari.html (accessed 1 November 2017)
“İşte MİT’in Meclis’e gönderdiği 15 Temmuz raporu,” 26 May 2017, https://tr.sputniknews.com/turkiye/201705261028619119-mit-meclis-15temmuz-raporu/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Ruling party eventually nominates deputies for corruption commission,” Hürriyet Daily News, 26 June 2014, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ruling-party-eventually-nominates-deputies-for-corruption-commission.aspx?pageID=449&nID=68329&NewsCatID=338 (accessed 5 November 2014)
Merve Tahiroğlu, Turkey’s Inquiry into Corruption Charges Will Change Little, 12 May 2014, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/turkeys-inquiry-into-corruption-charges-will-change-little/#sthash.IY3PjmJl.dpuf (accessed 5 November 2014)

Are parliamentary committees able to summon ministers for hearings?

10
 9

Parliamentary committees may summon ministers. Ministers regularly follow invitations and are obliged to answer questions.
 8
 7
 6


The rights of parliamentary committees to summon ministers are slightly limited; ministers occasionally refuse to follow invitations or to answer questions.
 5
 4
 3


The rights of parliamentary committees to summon ministers are considerably limited; ministers frequently refuse to follow invitations or to answer questions.
 2
 1

Parliamentary committees may not summon ministers.
Summoning Ministers
5
According to Article 30 of the parliamentary rules of procedure, the prime minister or ministers can attend committee meetings as a representative of the government without invitation, and may talk on the subject matter at hand. However, the prime minister or ministers may also delegate a senior civil servant to be his or her representative at a committee meeting. If relevant, the committee may ask a minister to explain a government position, but he or she is not required to comply with this invitation if there is no legal obligation. While parliamentary committees are not able to summon ministers for hearings, the responsible minister may voluntarily decide to participate in a meeting. Normally, the committees are briefed by high-ranking ministerial bureaucrats. However, the ministers will always be present at the Planning and Budget Committee when the previous year’s final accounts and following year’s draft budget are discussed.

The annual activity reports of the TBMM do not provide any information on how many ministers were summoned and how many times by which parliamentary commission.

During the review period, the effects of the state of emergency, corruption scandals, resignation of metropolitan mayors, economic instability and regional affairs (e.g., Turkey’s involvement in the war in Syria, the massive movement of refugees from neighboring countries into Turkey, and Kurdish developments in and outside of Turkey) are highly visible. None of the government’s senior executives took responsibility for or allowed an independent parliamentary investigation into these issues. Instead, the government demonstrated a lack of accountability vis-à-vis parliament.

Citations:
Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, http://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/rules_of_procedure_en.pdf (accessed 5 November 2014)
TBMM 26. Dönem 1. Yasama Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/26_1_yd_faaliyet_raporu_20102016.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017))

Are parliamentary committees able to summon experts for committee meetings?

10
 9

Parliamentary committees may summon experts.
 8
 7
 6


The rights of parliamentary committees to summon experts are slightly limited.
 5
 4
 3


The rights of parliamentary committees to summon experts are considerably limited.
 2
 1

Parliamentary committees may not summon experts.
Summoning Experts
7
According to Article 30 of the parliamentary rules of procedure, committees are legally able to summon experts from non-governmental organizations, universities or the bureaucracy to provide testimony without limitation. During the review period, parliament made de facto use of this right, for example in committees to investigate past military coups, the mass killings in Tunceli (Dersim) in 1937 and 1938, and the Uludere incident of December 2011. The parliamentary majority of the ruling party and the polarized atmosphere in Turkish public policy, however, silence critical voices and diminishes the impact of independent experts in the policymaking process. Some academics and independent experts were invited to the parliamentary inquiry committee on the FETO Terror Organization Coup attempt.

Citations:
Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, http://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/rules_of_procedure_en.pdf (accessed 5 November 2014)
Fethullahçı Terör Örgütünün (Fetö/Pdy) 15 Temmuz 2016 Tarihli Darbe Girişimi İle Bu Terör Örgütünün Faaliyetlerinin Tüm Yönleriyle Araştırılarak Alınması Gereken Önlemlerin Belirlenmesi Amacıyla Kurulan Meclis Araştırması Komisyonu Raporu, May 2017.

Are the task areas and structures of parliamentary committees suited to monitor ministries effectively?

10
 9

The match between the task areas of parliamentary committees and ministries as well as other relevant committee structures are well-suited to the effective monitoring of ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The match/mismatch between the task areas of parliamentary committees and ministries as well as other relevant committee structures are largely suited to the monitoring ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The match/mismatch between the task areas of parliamentary committees and ministries as well as other relevant committee structures are partially suited to the monitoring of ministries.
 2
 1

The match/mismatch between the task areas of parliamentary committees and ministries as well as other relevant committee structures are not at all suited to the monitoring of ministries.
Task Area Congruence
6
There are 18 standing committees in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM), which are generally established in parallel with structure of the ministries. The most recent such committee, the Security and Intelligence Commission, was established in spring 2014. Except for committees established by special laws, the jurisdiction of each committee is not expressly defined by the rules of procedure. Some committees have overlapping tasks. Committees do not independently monitor ministry activity but do examine draft bills. During discussions, committees may also supervise the ministry activity indirectly. The State Economic Enterprises Commission does not audit ministries but plays an important role in monitoring developments within their administration. The distribution of the workload of these committees is uneven. The Planning and Budget Commission is the most overloaded group, as every bill possesses some financial aspect. Professionalization among committee members is low. Neither the Strategic Plan nor the Activity Reports of the TBMM emphasize the need to implement effective ministerial monitoring. These committees recently stated their intent to recruit more qualified personnel in certain areas.

Citations:
Nakamura, Robert and Omer Genckaya. 2010.“Assessment for the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Support of the Implementation of the Public Financial Management Act.” Report to the World Bank.
TBMM İdari Teşkilatı 2015 Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/faaliyet_raporu_2015.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016)
TBMM 26. Dönem 1. Yasama Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/26_1_yd_faaliyet_raporu_20102016.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)

To what extent is the audit office accountable to the parliament?

10
 9

The audit office is accountable to the parliament exclusively.
 8
 7
 6


The audit office is accountable primarily to the parliament.
 5
 4
 3


The audit office is not accountable to the parliament, but has to report regularly to the parliament.
 2
 1

The audit office is governed by the executive.
Audit Office
4
According to Article 160 of the constitution, the Court of Accounts is charged on behalf of the Grand National Assembly with auditing all accounts related to revenues, expenditures and properties of government departments that are financed by the general or subsidiary budgets. The Court’s auditing capacity was limited by the Law 6085 in 2010, but the Constitutional Court annulled Article 79 regulating the audit of the Audit Court’s accounts in 2013. In December 2012, the Court also annulled the provision limiting performance auditing. In December 2013, a new article was added to the Regulation Concerning the Submission of the Public Institutions’ Accounts to the Audit Court, which meant that these accounts are to be excluded from the audit of the Court until the end of 2016. Although the Court completed the reviews of 480 public institutions and 77 public enterprises’ accounts and found several corrupt transactions in 2014, parliament does not have sufficient capacity to monitor them effectively. In addition, about 15% of defense expenditures, including several governmental funds related to defense, are not supervised by parliament.

Audit reports for 2016 on central and local administrations unveiled several irregularities and illegal financial transactions. The Audit Court found that the General Directorate of Highways (KGM) did not account for where TYR 6 billion for raising the quality of the roads went.

The parliamentary Final Accounts Committee reviews the TBMM’s accounts annually. The Court of Accounts reports to parliament but is not accountable to it. The parliament, from a list compiled by its Plan and Budget Commission, elects the Court’s president and members. The Council of Ministers, however, appoints court rapporteurs and prosecutors.

Citations:
“Sayıştay raporu: ‘Yolların kalitesi’ne ayrılan 6 milyarın nereye harcandığı belirsiz,” http://www.diken.com.tr/sayistay-raporu-yollarin-kalitesi-icin-ayrilan-6-milyarin-nereye-harcandigi-belli-degil/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Sayıştay raporu Topbaş’ı yalanladı: AKP’li belediyeler borç içinde,” http://sendika62.org/2017/10/sayistay-raporu-topbasi-yalanladi-akpli-belediyeler-borc-icinde/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
Fikret Bila, Sayıştay’ı daha etkisiz kılacak teklif, Milliyet daily newspaper, 21 April 2013, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/ sayistay-i-daha-etkisiz-kilacak teklif/siyaset/siyasetyazardetay/ 21.04.2013/ 1696253/ default.htm, (accessed 5 November 2014)
Transparency International Government Defense Anti Corruption Index, Turkey 2015 Country Summary, http://government.defenceindex.org/downloads/docs/turkey.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015).
TC Sayıştay Başkanlığı 2014 Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, http://www.sayistay.gov.tr/tc/faaliyet/faaliyet2014.asp (accessed 27 October 2015).

Does the parliament have an ombuds office?

10
 9

The parliament has an effective ombuds office.
 8
 7
 6


The parliament has an ombuds office, but its advocacy role is slightly limited.
 5
 4
 3


The parliament has an ombuds office, but its advocacy role is considerably limited.
 2
 1

The parliament does not have an ombuds office.
Ombuds Office
4
A law establishing a Turkish ombudsman office, called the Public Monitoring Institution (KDK), was adopted in June 2012 and went into force in December 2012. The office is located within the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office, and is accountable to parliament. The ombudsman reviews lawsuits and administrative appeals (from the perspective of human rights and the rule of law) and ensures that the public administration is held accountable. In 2014, a total of 5,639 petitions arrived at the Ombudsman and by the end of 2014 it had addressed 6,348 complaints (including the pending cases from 2013). According to the KDK itself, two main obstacles hamper the efficacy of its work. First, the degree of compliance with its decisions has been low, with only 20% of its released decisions having been obeyed by public administrative bodies. Second, under the current law, the KDK cannot conduct inquiries on its own initiative. Moreover, the mandate of the office does not cover administrative actions performed by military personnel.

The Parliamentary Petition Committee reviews citizens’ petitions (a total of 6,055 in 2015) and refers them to the relevant authority, when appropriate. The Human Rights Investigation Commission has the authority to receive, investigate and review complaints on human-rights issues. The Commission on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men is entitled to review complaints regarding violations of gender equality.

Citations:
The Ombudsman Institution (2014) ‘The Chief Ombudsman Annual Press Conference,’ http://www.ombudsman.gov.tr/en/content_detail-322-779-the-chief-ombudsman-annual -press-conference.html (accessed 10 December 2014)
T.C. Kamu Denetçiliği Kurumu 2016 Yıllık Rapor, https://www.ombudsman.gov.tr/contents/files/KDK-2016-YILLIK-RAPORU.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
TBMM Dilekçe Komisyonu 24. Dönem Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/komisyon/dilekce/docs/faaliyet_raporlari/24_yd_faaliyet_rapor.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015)

Media

#41

To what extent do media provide substantive in-depth information on decision-making by the government?

10
 9

A clear majority of mass media brands focus on high-quality information content analyzing government decisions.
 8
 7
 6


About one-half of the mass media brands focus on high-quality information content analyzing government decisions. The rest produces a mix of infotainment and quality information content.
 5
 4
 3


A clear minority of mass media brands focuses on high-quality information content analyzing government decisions. Several mass media brands produce superficial infotainment content only.
 2
 1

All mass media brands are dominated by superficial infotainment content.
Media Reporting
3
Despite the pluralistic media scene in Turkey, the Turkish media (TV channels, newspapers, etc.) seems increasingly split between proponents and opponents of the AKP government. Media freedoms deteriorated significantly after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016. Numerous journalists were imprisoned without indictment, which had an intimidating effect on other journalists. In consequence, it is difficult for citizens to find objective or substantive in-depth information on government policies and government decision-making. A media-ownership structure based on industrial conglomerates (the so-called Mediterranean or polarized pluralist media model), the government’s clear-cut differentiation between pro- and anti-government media, and the increasingly polarized public discourse make it difficult for journalists to provide substantial information to the public. News coverage and debates are mainly one-sided in the pro-government media, while self-censorship is common in the mainstream, neutral media. This is true even of the main news agencies, such as Anadolu, ANKA, Doğan and Cihan. Superficial reporting, self-censorship and dismissal of critical journalists from their job are widespread within the major media outlets. Media ownership, and direct and indirect government intervention in private media outlets and journalism obscure the objective analyses of government policies. Thus, few newspapers, radio or TV stations offer in-depth analysis of government policies or their effects concerning human rights, the Kurdish issues, economic conditions and so on.

In 2017, internet freedom declined in Turkey and several internet sites were blocked, including sites managed by journalists in exile. Social media services and websites (e.g., Wikipedia) were also blocked. The Minister of Transportation and Communication stated that Turkey is often mentioned together with terrorist organizations on social media platforms. For example, Wikipedia articles include content that suggests Turkey supports terrorist organizations. Turkey is among 30 governments that employs “opinion shapers” to promote government views and agendas, and counter government critics on social media.

Citations:
Freedom on the Net 2017, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2017 (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Turkey spells out conditions to blocked site Wikipedia,” http://www.euronews.com/2017/05/11/wikipedia-reste-interdit-en-turquie (accessed 1 November 2017)
Derya Sazak, Batsın Böyle Gazetecilik (İmralı Zabıtları / Gezi / 17 Aralık), İstanbul: Boyut Yayın Grubu, 2014.
Sabahattin Önkibar, İmamlar ve Haramiler Medyası, İstanbul: Kırmızı Kedi Yayınevi, 2015.
Basın Konseyi, “Kaygılıyız, Endişeliyiz” 13 Eylül 2015, http://www.basinkonseyi.org.tr/basin-konseyi/basin-konseyi-kaygiliyiz-endiseliyiz (accessed 27 October 2015)
Ethical Journalism Network, Censorship in The Park: Turkish Media Trapped by Politics and Corruption, 2014. http://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/assets/docs/021/035/02fc715-bc8d623.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015)
Aslı Tunç, Türkiye’de Medya Sahipliği ve Finansmanı: Artan Yoğunlama ve Müşteri İlişkileri, Paltform 24.org, ttp://platform24.org/projeler/1357/turkiye-de-medya-sahipligi-ve-finansmani (accessed 27 October 2015)

Parties and Interest Associations

#41

How inclusive and open are the major parties in their internal decision-making processes?

10
 9

The party allows all party members and supporters to participate in its decisions on the most important personnel and issues. Lists of candidates and agendas of issues are open.
 8
 7
 6


The party restricts decision-making to party members. In most cases, all party members have the opportunity to participate in decisions on the most important personnel and issues. Lists of candidates and agendas of issues are rather open.
 5
 4
 3


The party restricts decision-making to party members. In most cases, a number of elected delegates participate in decisions on the most important personnel and issues. Lists of candidates and agendas of issues are largely controlled by the party leadership.
 2
 1

A number of party leaders participate in decisions on the most important personnel and issues. Lists of candidates and agendas of issues are fully controlled and drafted by the party leadership.
Intra-party Democracy
2
The centralized structure of the Political Parties Law (Law 2820) and the bylaws of the major parties does not encourage intra-party democracy. Consequently, strong party discipline is a common feature of all political parties. Although the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religious orientation with regard to membership, contestation within the parties is limited, at best. Dissenting voices are generally unable to find an institutional path by which to engage in effective debate. Competition usually revolves around party members’ ability to create local power centers through which they compete for the attention and goodwill of the party leader.

Membership, party congresses and executive boards are not democratically managed in most political parties. Three deputies were dismissed from the MHP in March 2017. Several deputies of the AKP allegedly closer to illegal Gülenist networks either resigned or faced being dismissed, especially in the aftermath of coup attempt in 2016. On the request of the president and AKP chair, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the mayors of six provinces, including Ankara and Bursa, resigned in fall 2017. Erdoğan stated that “people do not take these offices as independent candidates but as candidates shown by parties.”

The AKP determines its candidates through a somewhat complex process involving a so-called tendency survey, interviews by special commissions and the supreme board’s final say. However, candidates are ultimately chosen by the party’s leadership, which consults “significant” public opinion leaders. The CHP chose 301 out of 550 candidates through primary elections before the 7 June 2015 elections. However, most of the delegates were determined by the trusteeship of the party’s central executive committee during the provincial and township congresses.

Citations:
“AKP’de ‘metal fırtına’: Erdoğan, “Gökçek dahil 6 belediye başkanının istifasını istedi” iddiası,” 2 October 2017, http://t24.com.tr/haber/erdogan-gokcek-dahil-6-belediye-baskaninin-istifasini-istedi-iddiasi,455251 (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Turkey’s Erdogan Calls on Mayors to Resign, Hurriyet Newspaper Says,” 19 October 2017, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-10-19/turkeys-erdogan-calls-on-mayors-to-resign-hurriyet-newspaper-says (accessed 1 November 2017)
Mehmet Akıncı, Özgür Önder and Bilge Kağan Sakacı,”Is Intra-Party Democracy possible in Turkey? An Analysis of Politcal Parties Act and Party By-Law,” European Scientific Journal, 2013, 9(11): 33-49.
AKP’nin milletvekili adaylarını belirleyecek ‘üst kurulu’nda kimler yer alıyor? 9 March 2015, http://t24.com.tr/haber/akpnin-milletvekili-adaylarini-belirleyecek-ust-kurulunda-kimler-yer-aliyor,289760 (accessed 27 October 2015)
Ve AK Parti’de 3 dönem kuralı kalktı! 12 September 2015, http://www.radikal.com.tr/politika/ve-ak-partide-3-donem-kurali-kalkti-1432915/ (accessed 27 October 2015)
Tarhan Erdem, Parti içi demokrasi yine ertelendi, 5 October 2015, http://www.radikal.com.tr/yazarlar/tarhan-erdem/parti-ici-demokrasi-yine-ertelendi-1445250/ (accessed 27 October 2015)
Bekir Ağırdır, Fuat Keyman, Tarhan Erdem, Türkiye’nin Demokratikleşmesi İçin Kapsamlı Bir Siyasi Parti ve Seçim Sistemi Reformu Önerisi, İstanbul: IPC, 2015, http://ipc.sabanciuniv.edu/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Turkiyenindemokratiklesmesiicinkapsamli.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015)

To what extent are economic interest associations capable of formulating relevant policies?

10
 9

Most interest associations are highly capable of formulating relevant policies.
 8
 7
 6


Many interest associations are highly capable of formulating relevant policies.
 5
 4
 3


Few interest associations are highly capable of formulating relevant policies.
 2
 1

Most interest associations are not capable of formulating relevant policies.
Association Competence (Business)
5
The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) is the most influential business association in Turkey, representing more than 1.2 million enterprises and members of various industry and business chambers. The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), affiliated with TOBB University in Ankara, provides extensive surveys in various fields. The pro-Western, Istanbul-centric Turkish Industrialists’ and Entrepreneurs’ Association (TÜSİAD) and the conservative, Anatolian-centric Independent Industrialists’ and Entrepreneurs’ Association (MÜSİAD), also have R&D units and sponsor reports on political reforms, education, health care, security and migration. The degree of direct impact of such proposals and amendments on legislation is unknown, but the government regularly claims to take such reports under consideration.

The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), an umbrella organization founded in 2005 and representing seven business federations, 211 business associations and over 55,000 entrepreneurs from across Turkey, is believed to be close to U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen and his global network of enterprises and schools. In November 2015, the Ankara police department launched a raid against the TUSKON headquarters as part of an investigation into the illegal, allegedly terrorist network, called “Parallel State Structure Terror Organization/Pro-Fethullah Terror Organization.” Moves against the confederation and its members intensified after the July 2016 failed coup.

Among labor unions, the ideological split between secular unions such as the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) and the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) and the more conservative-Islamic Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-İş) tends to prevent common action. Moreover, it has become increasingly obvious over the last decade that religiosity has become a strategic resource in creating solidarity among union members, and in bolstering loyalty to the government. Turkey’s oldest trade union, Türk-İş, has for many years prepared monthly surveys on hunger and poverty thresholds and is included in the collective bargaining process.

TÜSİAD repeatedly calls for an end to the state of emergency to improve freedom and plurality in Turkey. However, the government argues that the state of emergency is not a hurdle for business.

Citations:
“State of emergency no hurdle for business in Turkey: Erdoğan,” 18 May 2017, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/state-of-emergency-no-hurdle-for-business-in-turkey-erdogan-113283 (accessed 1 November 2017)
Ayse Bugra and Osman Savaskan, New Capitalism In Turkey The Relationship between Politics, Religion and Business, Edward Elgar, 2014.
Ankara police raid Gülen-linked business group TUSKON, 6 November 2015. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-police-raid-gulen-linked-business-group-tuskon.aspx?pageID=238&nID=90838&NewsCatID=509 (accessed 7 November 2015)
Türk-İş, Açlık ve yoksulluk, http://www.turkis.org.tr/Aclik-Yoksulluk-catg91-pn1 (accessed 27 October 2015)

To what extent are non-economic interest associations capable of formulating relevant policies?

10
 9

Most interest associations are highly capable of formulating relevant policies.
 8
 7
 6


Many interest associations are highly capable of formulating relevant policies.
 5
 4
 3


Few interest associations are highly capable of formulating relevant policies.
 2
 1

Most interest associations are not capable of formulating relevant policies.
Association Competence (Others)
3
The number of non-economic civil society organizations has increased in the last decade, indicating a growing degree of public engagement within many segments of Turkish society. In November 2017, 104,174 associations with more than 10 million members were active. Most are professional, sport or religious organizations. A total of 5,054 foundations are active nationwide. Most foundations are social solidarity organizations, 22 are foreign foundations and 167 are religious organizations. Among others, TESEV, TESAV, TEPAV, SETA, ASAM can be regarded as semi-professional think-tanks which conduct research and publish reports on various policy issues. SETA is a very influential pro-government policy research organization.

Most civil society organizations are not professionally organized, and lack financial and human resources. The number of pro-government and pseudo-CSOs (i.e., GONGOs) benefiting from public and EU funding has increased recently. Several CSOs lack the staff, resources and visibility to carry out face-to-face fundraising. Turkey ranked 128 out of 135 countries in the World Giving Index 2014 (WGI), but has not been included in subsequent indexes. The government has excluded opponents from government decision-making processes. Instead, the government has created its own loyal civil society groups, such as TÜRGEV – a foundation led by President Erdoğan’s son, which has gained political influence in the executive and expanded its financial resources.

Local and global environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace have increasingly demonstrated against dam and hydroelectric-energy projects throughout Turkey, but their protests are regularly suppressed by the security forces and subjected to criminal investigations. The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitat (TEMA) is the most established environmental organization in Turkey with 500,000 volunteers.

The Association for Support of Women Candidates (KA.DER) has for years promoted the equal representation of women and men in all walks of life. KA.DER sees equal representation as a condition for democracy and calls for equal representation in all elected and appointed decision-making positions. It conducts several EU- and UNDP-sponsored projects and advocate its objectives.

The initiave Oy ve Ötesi Girişimi (Vote and Beyond) in collaboration with the Unions of Bars of Turkey, several bars and the Checks and Balances Network monitored the local and presidential elections in 2014 and two parliamentary elections in 2015 with tens of thousands of volunteers spanning the spectrum of political affiliations and ideological backgrounds. Upon receiving training, these volunteers acted as independent election observers and reported the accuracy of the official election results.

In the wake of the failed coup in July 2016 and the government’s declaration of the state of emergency, hundreds of foundations and CSOs that were allegedly part of the Gülenist movement were shut down, their assets confiscated and their members detained. Arguably, some religious orders and communities have replaced the Gülenist movement, and extended their own networks under the name of various solidarity associations. The state of emergency has extremely diminished the influence of civil society on governmental actions.

Citations:
“Yıllara, Nevilere ve İllere Göre Dernek ve Üye Sayısı,” https://www.dernekler.gov.tr/tr/AnasayfaLinkler/yillara-nevilere-ve-illere-g%C3%B6re-dernek-ve-uye-sayisi.aspx (accessed 1 November 2017)
“VAKIFLARIN TÜRLERİNE GÖRE DAĞILIMI (28.07.2017),” https://www.vgm.gov.tr/Documents/webicerik195.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
“TEMA Vakfı 2016 yılının çevre olaylarını değerlendirdi,” 4 January 2017, http://www.tema.org.tr/web_14966-2_1/entitialfocus.aspx?primary_id=1681&target=categorial1&type=2&detail=single (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Türkiye’deki Düşünce Kuruluşları,” http://insamer.com/tr/turkiyedeki-dusunce-kuruluslari_157.htm (accessed 1 November 2017)
CIVICUS, State of Civil Society Report 2016, http://civicus.org/documents/reports-and-publications/SOCS/2016/summaries/SoCS-full-review.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016)
Oy ve Ötesi Derneği, Seçim Sonuçları Değerlendirmesi 2015, http://oyveotesi.org/1-kasim-2015-genel-secimleri/1-kasim-2015-secim-sonuc-degerlendirmeleri/
Doğader, http://www.dogader.org/index.php/aciklama/72-marpmarmara-vre-platformu-ve-tptke-vre-platformu-sekreteryalari-doder-de
Ka.Der, Projects, http://www.ka-der.org.tr/en-US/Page/Show/665/project.html
Back to Top