Turkey

   

Quality of Democracy

#41
Key Findings
With concerns rising sharply following the attempted coup, Turkey takes the SGI 2018’s bottom spot (rank 41) with regard to democracy quality. Its score on this measure has declined by 1.8 points relative to its 2014 level.

The state of emergency imposed following the July 15 coup attempt remained in force throughout 2017. The government passed numerous laws by executive decree, and continued practices of closing or restricting media outlets and detaining journalists, and seizing Gülenist companies or property. The Constitutional Court ruled that it could not review decrees issued under the state of emergency.

The Supreme Board of Elections’ power to sanction electoral-law violations was repealed by emergency decree. Several media outlets were sold to unknown owners assumed to have government ties. Fundamental rights and freedoms are deemed to be severely at danger. Insulting the president is a criminal offense, with thousands of people facing years in prison.

Judicial polarization has increased. Judicial effectiveness has been undermined by the massive increase in cases, paired with the dismissal of more than 4,000 judges, prosecutors and staff. Corruption has deepened, particularly at the local level.

Electoral Processes

#40

How fair are procedures for registering candidates and parties?

10
 9

Legal regulations provide for a fair registration procedure for all elections; candidates and parties are not discriminated against.
 8
 7
 6


A few restrictions on election procedures discriminate against a small number of candidates and parties.
 5
 4
 3


Some unreasonable restrictions on election procedures exist that discriminate against many candidates and parties.
 2
 1

Discriminating registration procedures for elections are widespread and prevent a large number of potential candidates or parties from participating.
Candidacy Procedures
7
The Turkish constitution, Law 298 on the basic principles of elections and the electoral registry, Law 2839 on deputies’ elections, and Law 2972 on local-administration elections lay the legal groundwork for fair and orderly elections and prevent discrimination against any political party or candidate. However, the relative freedom given to each political party’s central executive committee in determining party candidates (by Law 2820 on political parties, Article 37) renders the candidate-nomination process rather centralized, anti-democratic and exclusionary. The parliament weakened the centralization of political parties’ leadership to some extent in 2014 with the passage of a law permitting co-leadership structures. However, administrative courts and the Council of State stopped these practices.

The nationwide 10% electoral threshold for parliamentary elections (Law 2839 on deputies’ elections, Article 33) is a major obstacle for all small political parties. In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found the 10% electoral threshold to be excessive, but not in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights’ (ECHR) Protocol 1 Article 3. As of November 2015, there were 100 registered political parties, although only 20 participated in the 7 June 2015 parliamentary elections, and 16 in the subsequent 1 November 2015 elections. The share of the representation of valid votes rose to 92% during the last two parliamentary elections. Parties’ executive boards typically determine their parties’ candidate lists, with the exception of the Republican People’s Party, which holds a primary-election vote. An independent candidate who secures a majority of votes in his or her electoral district is allowed to take a parliamentary seat without regard to the nationwide threshold.

According to the constitutional amendments of 2017 (Article 101/3), political parties that either individually or as a coalition gained at least 5% of the total votes in the last parliamentary election can nominate a presidential candidate. In addition, independents can run as a presidential candidate if they collect at least 100,000 signatures certified by a public notary, which creates a financial obstacle for candidates. It is not yet clear whether a notarization for each signature will be required. However, if a notary is required, the cost of collecting 100,000 signatures to the candidate is likely to be around TYR 15 million (€3.3 million).

Presidential candidates are not asked to pay a nomination fee; however, political parties require parliamentary candidates to pay a fee ranging from €185 to €2,800. Women candidates are generally asked to pay half or less of the fee required from male candidates. Most political parties do not ask for a nomination fee from disabled candidates. Independent candidates face greater obstacles, as they must submit a nomination petition along with a fee of about €3,279 (TRY 10,167). This fee is held by the revenue department of the provincial election board where the candidate is standing for election. If the independent candidate fails to be elected, this fee is registered as revenue by the Treasury.

Citations:
Gençkaya, Ömer Faruk, Umut Gündüz and Damla Cihangir-Tetik, Political Finance and Transparency İstanbul: Transparency International Turkey Chapter, 2016. http://www.seffaflik.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Siyasetin-Finansman%C4%B1-EN.pdf (accessed 16 January 2016)
Supreme Board of Election, Decision 3237, 12 July 2014, http://www.ysk.gov.tr/ysk/content/conn/YSKUCM/path/Contribution%20Folders/Kararlar/2014-3237.pdf (accessed 5 November 2014)
Supreme Board of Election, Decision 543, 12 November 2013, http://www.ysk.gov.tr/ysk/docs/Kararlar/2013Pdf/2013-543.pdf (accessed 5 November 2014)
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, INTERIM REPORT 28 September – 21 October 2015, 23 October 2015, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/194216?download=true (accessed 27 October 2015)
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights NEEDS ASSESSMENT MISSION REPORT 14 – 17 April, 27 April 2015, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/153211?download=true (accessed 27 October 2015)
“100 bin oyla adaylık için dudak uçuklatan noter faturası,” 23 July 2017, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/787433/100_bin_oyla_adaylik_icin_dudak_ucuklatan_noter_faturasi.html
“Danıştay’dan “eş başkanlık” uygulamasının durdurulmasına onay,” 23.03.2016, http://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/1213998-danistaydan-es-baskanlik-uygulamasinin-durdurulmasina-onay

To what extent do candidates and parties have fair access to the media and other means of communication?

10
 9

All candidates and parties have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. All major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of the range of different political positions.
 8
 7
 6


Candidates and parties have largely equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. The major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of different political positions.
 5
 4
 3


Candidates and parties often do not have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. While the major media outlets represent a partisan political bias, the media system as a whole provides fair coverage of different political positions.
 2
 1

Candidates and parties lack equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communications. The major media outlets are biased in favor of certain political groups or views and discriminate against others.
Media Access
1
According to Law 3984 on the establishment of radio and television enterprises and broadcasts, “equality of opportunity shall be established among political parties and democratic groups; broadcasts shall not be biased or partial; broadcasts shall not violate the principles of election bans which are determined at election times.” However, legislation regulating presidential elections and referendums does not ensure equal access for political parties and candidates to public and private media. The Supreme Board of Elections’ ability to sanction electoral violations was repealed using the state of emergency decree issued in January 2017.

Currently, most mainstream media companies, including the state-owned radio and television company (TRT), are either directly or indirectly controlled by the government, or self-censor. Privately owned media outlets face either judicial or financial investigations, and media freedom is thus being placed at risk in an unconstitutional manner.

During the April 2017 constitutional referendum, the “yes” campaign dominated visual media coverage. Government members, and the Justice and Development Party dominated 70% of all airtime taken by political groups. An independent observer group reported that the president and government party appeared on visual media for about 120,000 minutes, while the main opposition party appeared for about 3,000 minutes. The HDP, pro-Kurdish party, did not appear on any mainstream media channel. Restrictions on social media, violence against journalists and media outlets have increased.

After the 15 July coup attempt, government control over “mainstream” media and media critical of the government further increased. Large-scale lawsuits were systematically used against media outlets critical of the government. The visibility of opposition members in the news media gradually deteriorated. This was felt most dramatically by HDP parliamentarians who faced allegations of supporting terrorism and whose immunity was suspended in the months following 15 July.

Citations:
Gençkaya, Ömer Faruk, Umut Gündüz and Damla Cihangir-Tetik, Political Finance and Transparency İstanbul: Transparency International Turkey Chapter, 2016. http://www.seffaflik.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Siyasetin-Finansman%C4%B1-EN.pdf. (accessed 16 January 2016)
Money, Politics and Transparency, Turkey Report, 2015, https://data.moneypoliticstransparency.org/countries/TR/ (accessed 27 October 2015)
OSCE/ODIHR,Republic of Turkey Constitutional Referendum 16 April 2017, OSCE/ODIHR Limited Referendum Observation Mission Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/324816?download=true (accessed 1 November 2017)
Bianet, “TV’de Referandum Dağılımı: Erdoğan 53 Saat, CHP 17 Saat, HDP 33 Dakika,” https://bianet.org/bianet/medya/184761-tv-de-referandum-dagilimi-erdogan-53-saat-chp-17-saat-hdp-33-dakika (accessed 1 November 2017)
OSCE/ODIHR, Republic of Turkey Presidential Election 10 August 2014 OSCE/ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission Report, 7-9 May 2014, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/119439?download=true

To what extent do all citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right of participation in national elections?

10
 9

All adult citizens can participate in national elections. All eligible voters are registered if they wish to be. There are no discriminations observable in the exercise of the right to vote. There are no disincentives to voting.
 8
 7
 6


The procedures for the registration of voters and voting are for the most part effective, impartial and nondiscriminatory. Citizens can appeal to courts if they feel being discriminated. Disincentives to voting generally do not constitute genuine obstacles.
 5
 4
 3


While the procedures for the registration of voters and voting are de jure non-discriminatory, isolated cases of discrimination occur in practice. For some citizens, disincentives to voting constitute significant obstacles.
 2
 1

The procedures for the registration of voters or voting have systemic discriminatory effects. De facto, a substantial number of adult citizens are excluded from national elections.
Voting and Registration Rights
6
All Turkish nationals over the age of 18 can exercise the right to vote (Constitution, Article 67). The Supreme Election Board is the sole authority in the administration of Turkish elections (Law 298, Article 10). The General Directorate of the Electoral Registry, a part of the Supreme Election Board, prepares, maintains and renews the nationwide electoral registry.

The ban on military students and conscripts, and the blanket restriction on voting rights for prisoners are disproportionate and at odds with Turkey’s international obligations (e.g., Turkey’s OSCE commitments). About 600,000 citizens were ineligible to vote in the 2017 referendum. Moreover, special security zones were in place in a few provinces in the southeast of Turkey, which affected about 700,000 voters.

In 2008, the parliament passed a law facilitating voting for Turkish citizens who are not living or present in Turkey during elections (Law 5749). In the 2015 parliamentary elections, about 54 million voters were registered domestically, along with an additional 2.8 million voters living abroad. More than one million voters cast their votes abroad. The distance of polling stations from residents’ homes and the comparatively short voting period can be considered as potentially major obstacles to voting.

Turkey has a passive electoral registration system maintained by the Supreme Election Board. Despite the recent revision of the national electoral registry based on an address-registration system, critics have noted that the number of registered voters and the number of eligible citizens registered in the address system do not match. In autumn 2015, these critics argued that about 672,000 citizens are missing from the electoral rolls. However, OSCE reports have judged the registration process to be reliable and inclusive.

Parliamentary and local elections are conducted by local election boards under the supervision of the Supreme Election Board. These local boards verify election returns and conduct investigations of irregularities, complaints and objections, with the national board providing a final check. Vote and Beyond (Oy ve Ötesi), a non-governmental organization, reported no significant violations of the law at the polling stations in 2015. Whether thousands of citizens, who were detained following the failed coup attempt or had their passports confiscated and cannot leave the country, will have their democratic rights restricted remains to be seen.

Disabled voters sometimes face difficulties if the polling stations lack appropriate access facilities.

Citations:
OSCE/ODIHR (2017) Republic of Turkey Constitutional Referendum 16 April 2017 OSCE/ODIHR Limited Referendum Observation Mission Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/324816?download=true (accessed 1 November 2017)
OSCE/ODIHR (2015b) Republic of Turkey Early Parliamentary Elections, 1 November 2015. OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/219201?download=true (accessed 27 October 2015)
OSCE/ODIHR (2015a) Republic of Turkey Parliamentary Elections, 7 June 2015 Limited Election Observation Mission
Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/177926?download=true. (accessed 27 October 2015)
Temiz Seçim Platformu, 2007-2015 Seçim Hileleri Raporu, 1 Mayıs 2015, TUİK ile YSK’nın Türkiye Listelerinin Karşılaştırılması, temizsecim.org/2007-2014-secim-hileleri-raporu.html (accessed 27 October 2015)
‘672 bin seçmen buharlaştı (672 thousand voters evaporated)’, Cumhuriyet daily newpaper, 3 October 2015, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/380955/672_bin_secmen_buharlasti.html (accessed 27 October 2015)

To what extent is private and public party financing and electoral campaign financing transparent, effectively monitored and in case of infringement of rules subject to proportionate and dissuasive sanction?

10
 9

The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring to that respect. Effective measures to prevent evasion are effectively in place and infringements subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
 8
 7
 6


The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring. Although infringements are subject to proportionate sanctions, some, although few, loopholes and options for circumvention still exist.
 5
 4
 3


The state provides that donations to political parties shall be published. Party financing is subject to some degree of independent monitoring but monitoring either proves regularly ineffective or proportionate sanctions in case of infringement do not follow.
 2
 1

The rules for party and campaign financing do not effectively enforce the obligation to make the donations public. Party and campaign financing is neither monitored independently nor, in case of infringements, subject to proportionate sanctions.
Party Financing
4
Article 60 of Law 2820 requires political-party organs at every level to keep a membership register, a decision book, a register for incoming and outgoing documents, an income and expenditure book, and an inventory list. According to Article 73 of Law 2820, political parties must prepare yearly statements of revenues and expenditures, at both the party-headquarters and provincial levels. However, Turkish law does not regulate the financing of party or independent-candidate electoral campaigns. Presidential candidates’ campaign finances are regulated by Law 6271; these candidates can legally accept contributions and other aid only from natural persons having Turkish nationality. However, the Supreme Election Board has allowed political parties to organize campaign activities and purchase advertisements for their candidates in a way unregulated by law. Thus, the state aid provided to the political parties can be used indirectly for presidential-campaign activities.

There is no legal ceiling for campaign expenditures. The finances of candidates in local and parliamentary elections are not regulated by law. There is no specific reporting obligation for campaign contributors, apart from a general requirement, based on the Tax Procedure Code, for individuals to declare expenses (which could include political contributions) to the tax authorities. Pursuant to Article 69 of the constitution, Article 74 of Law 2820 stipulates that political-party finances must be audited by the Constitutional Court to verify whether the parties’ property acquisitions, revenues and expenditures are in compliance with the law. Auditing decisions by the Constitutional Court are published in the Official Gazette. The review report of the Supreme Election Board on presidential candidates’ campaigns must be announced within a month of the audit’s completion. However, the law does not specify where the audit result shall be announced.

The Constitutional Court, with the assistance of the Court of Accounts, examines the accuracy of information contained in a party’s final accounts and the legality of recorded revenues and expenditures on the basis of information at hand and documents provided. However, the court’s examination of the main parties’ accounts is slow and sometimes takes longer than three years. Law 2820 contains criminal, administrative and civil sanctions on political parties’ unlawful income or expenditures, with fines accruing to the state treasury.

Ceilings for donations to political parties by private individuals are evaluated each year. This level was approximately €10,349 in 2017. However, donations are often not properly or systematically recorded – for example, cash and in-kind contributions or expenditures made in support of parties or candidates during elections are not recorded. The funds collected and expenditures incurred by individual elected representatives or candidates during political party activities, including electoral campaigning, are not included in party accounts. Party accounts published in the Official Gazette provide only general figures and potential infringements. The accuracy of the financial reports posted by political parties online needs to be examined. Critics have argued that discretionary funds controlled by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the president were used for the incumbent party’s campaigns.

Citations:
GRECO, Third Evaluation Round Evaluation 3rd Interim Compliance Report on Turkey, 2 December 2016, https://rm.coe.int/third-evaluation-round-third-interim-compliance-report-on-turkey-incri/168072247a (accessed 1 November 2017)
Ö. Faruk Gençkaya, Umut Gündüz and Damla Cihangir-Tetik, Political Finance and Transparency İstanbul: Transparency International Turkey Chapter, 2016. http://www.seffaflik.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Siyasetin-Finansman%C4%B1-EN.pdf. (accessed 16 January 2016)
Ö. Faruk Gençkaya, “Financing of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns in Turkey,” S. ASayarı, P. Ayan-Musil and Ö. Demirkol, Party Politics in Turkey: A Comparative Perspective, Routledge, 2018.
Money, Politics and Transparency, Turkey Report, 2015, https://data.moneypoliticstransparency.org/countries/TR/ (accessed 27 October 2015)
OSCE/ODIHR (2015b) Republic of Turkey Early Parliamentary Elections, 1 November 2015. OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/219201?download=true
OSCE/ODIHR (2015a) Republic of Turkey Parliamentary Elections, 7 June 2015 Limited Election Observation Mission
Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/177926?download=true.
OSCE/ODIHR (2014), Republic of Turkey Presidential Election 10 August 2014 OSCE/ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission Report, 7-9 May 2014, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/119439?download=true.

Do citizens have the opportunity to take binding political decisions when they want to do so?

10
 9

Citizens have the effective opportunity to actively propose and take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through popular initiatives and referendums. The set of eligible issues is extensive, and includes national, regional, and local issues.
 8
 7
 6


Citizens have the effective opportunity to take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through either popular initiatives or referendums. The set of eligible issues covers at least two levels of government.
 5
 4
 3


Citizens have the effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure. The set of eligible issues is limited to one level of government.
 2
 1

Citizens have no effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure.
Popular Decision-Making
2
According to Article 67 of the constitution, all citizens over 18 years old have the right to take part in referendums. Referendums are held in accordance with the principles of free, equal, secret and direct universal suffrage, with votes counted publicly. In recent years, referendums were held to amend the 1982 constitution. Paragraph 3 of Article 175 of the constitution reads that, if the parliament adopts a draft constitutional amendment referred by the president by a two-thirds majority, the president may submit the law to a referendum. Laws related to constitutional amendments that are the subject of a referendum must be supported by more than half of the valid votes cast in order to be approved.

If a law on an amendment to the constitution is adopted by at least a three-fifths majority but less than a two-thirds majority of the total number of members of the Grand National Assembly, and is not sent back to the Assembly for reconsideration by the president, it is then published in the Official Gazette and submitted to a referendum.

A law on a constitutional amendment adopted by a two-thirds majority of the Assembly directly or upon the return of the law by the president may be submitted to a referendum by the president.

Popular decision-making is also possible at the local level. Law 5593 on municipalities (Article 76) enables city councils to implement policies for the benefit of the public. Yet these units are not wholly effective, as they depend upon the goodwill of the local mayor, and some councils exist on paper only and have yet to be established in fact. Law 6360, in effect since 2014, paved the way for more centralized decision-making processes, including in urban planning and on local matters. Some municipalities conducted local referendums on traffic management and environmental planning.

Turkey has not signed the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).

Citations:
Emine Behiye Karakitapoğlu, Public participation in EIA process of small hydro power plants (HES) in Turkey, University of Uppsala, 2015.
Huseyin Gul / Hakan M. Kiris (2015), Democratic Governance Reforms in Turkey and Their Implications, in Alexander R. Dawoody (ed.), Public Administration and Policy in the Middle East, New York, Heilderberg, Dordrecht and London: Springer.
Semanur Karaman (2013), How do Turkish citizens participate in decision-making? 4 August 2013, https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/semanur-karaman/how-do-turkish-citizens-participate-in-decision-making

Access to Information

#41

To what extent are the media independent from government?

10
 9

Public and private media are independent from government influence; their independence is institutionally protected and fully respected by the incumbent government.
 8
 7
 6


The incumbent government largely respects the independence of media. However, there are occasional attempts to exert influence.
 5
 4
 3


The incumbent government seeks to ensure its political objectives indirectly by influencing the personnel policies, organizational framework or financial resources of public media, and/or the licensing regime/ market access for private media.
 2
 1

Major media outlets are frequently influenced by the incumbent government promoting its partisan political objectives. To ensure pro-government media reporting, governmental actors exert direct political pressure and violate existing rules of media regulation or change them to benefit their interests.
Media Freedom
1
Although Turkey has a somewhat diversified media structure, the government places direct and indirect pressure on media owners in order to obtain coverage favorable to the government party. Most critical private media groups have been seized or turned into politically friendly trustees. The oligopolistic and pro-government ownership of media outlets, and self-censorship are the main factors undermining media freedoms.

The constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and freedom of expression are rarely upheld in practice. The current legal framework and practice are restrictive and do not meet EU standards. The government appoints the general director of the country’s public broadcaster, Turkish Radio and Television (TRT). In doing so, it essentially exercises tutelage over the public-media organization’s administration. Several TRT channels regularly broadcast pro-government programs, and invite experts allied with the government party to appear on these programs.

Most concerning for many observers have been the unprecedented expansion in the range of reasons given for journalists’ arrests, the massive phone-tapping campaign and the contempt shown for source confidentiality. These factors have in sum reintroduced a climate of intimidation with regard to the media.

Media freedom deteriorated dramatically in the aftermath of the July 2016 failed coup attempt. The Venice Commission reported that the use of state of emergency powers had violated media freedom. The Association of Contemporary Journalists reported that in the year following the state of emergency declaration on 20 July 2016, 318 members of the press were detained, 103 members of the press were arrested, 18 journalists were attacked, one journalist died, two online news sites were banned and 25 online news sites were suspended. Furthermore, a total of 147 media outlets were closed down, 1,404 members of the press were dismissed, and 32 parliamentary access cards and 624 yellow press cards were withdrawn. Thus, media pluralism was limited to a handful of low-circulation publications. Several foreign journalists were also detained or deported. Turkey ranked 155 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2017.

Particularly, the aftermath of the 15 July coup attempt saw high numbers of arrests, hearings, detentions, prosecutions, censorship cases and layoffs. A number of physical attacks on media outlets and journalists took place. The closure of media outlets, the appointment of trustees to control media groups, and the active use of the tax authority, the financial crimes unit and courts against critical media intensified.

Intimidating statements by politicians and lawsuits launched against journalists critical of the government, combined with the media sector’s ownership structure, have led to widespread self-censorship by media owners and journalists. In some cases, journalists have simply been fired. The politicized Radio and TV Supreme Council (RTÜK) has issued disproportionate fines to pro-opposition media; however, after the 2015 parliamentary elections, the Supreme Election Board asked the RTÜK to issue fines to media companies that violated the election law.

Citations:
Venice Commission, “Turkey Government Memorandum on the Measures Taken Durıng the State of Emergency
Relevant to the Freedom of the Media,” 22 February 2017, http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=CDL-REF(2017)010-e (accessed 1 November 2017)
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016).
Reporters Without Borders, Turkey, https://rsf.org/en/turkey (accessed 1 November 2017)
Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2017, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/freedom-press-2017 (accessed 1 November 2017)
‘FETÖ’ Gerekçeli OHAL’de Neler Kapatıldı? http://www.cgd.org.tr/index.php?Did=1016 (accessed 1 November 2017)
Bianet, Media Monitoring Report April-May-June 2017, https://bianet.org/english/media/188342-301-journalists-face-4-260-years-in-prison-142-aggravated-lifetime (accessed 1 November 2017).
Aslı Tunç, “Media Ownership and Finances in Turkey Increasing Concentration and Clientelism” Accessed June 15, 2016. http://mediaobservatory.net/sites/default/files/Media%20Ownership%20and%20Finances%20in%20Turkey.pdf

To what extent are the media characterized by an ownership structure that ensures a pluralism of opinions?

10
 9

Diversified ownership structures characterize both the electronic and print media market, providing a well-balanced pluralism of opinions. Effective anti-monopoly policies and impartial, open public media guarantee a pluralism of opinions.
 8
 7
 6


Diversified ownership structures prevail in the electronic and print media market. Public media compensate for deficiencies or biases in private media reporting by representing a wider range of opinions.
 5
 4
 3


Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize either the electronic or the print media market. Important opinions are represented but there are no or only weak institutional guarantees against the predominance of certain opinions.
 2
 1

Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize both the electronic and the print media market. Few companies dominate the media, most programs are biased, and there is evidence that certain opinions are not published or are marginalized.
Media Pluralism
2
In addition to the increasing restrictions on media freedom in Turkey (see “Media Freedom” section), the country’s dominant media structure features ownership by industrial conglomerates, strong links between political forces and media organizations, and a lack of unionization in the media (a so-called Mediterranean or polarized pluralist media model). This undermines pluralism in the media sector. Adopted in 2011, Law 6112 increased the maximum allowable foreign-ownership stake in media companies from 25% to 50%, with the condition that a single foreign investor cannot invest in more than two enterprises. Foreign companies still cannot be majority stakeholders in domestic media companies.

Several media outlets were sold to unknown owners, who are assumed to have close government ties. Bianet Report found that media ownership lacks transparency and no information is available about the concentration of media ownership. Political control of the media, media financing and news agencies is high. In October 2016, the Press Advertising Authority (BIK), which controls the allocation of state advertising, adopted a new policy under which newspapers whose ownership, management or employees face terrorism-related charges cannot benefit from state advertising.

The economic interests of media owners constitutes a key problem for media freedoms. Although Article 29 of Law 3984 restricts media owners’ shareholder rights, owners with stakes in other business sectors have still used media coverage to promote their outside business interests. A significant share of media owners are industrial conglomerates with interests that conflict with freedom of the press and opinion, and some have close relationships with the government. This further undermines media independence, and increases self-censorship and job insecurity among journalists. The number of outlets belonging to the so-called pool media (Havuz Medyası) – media owned by government-allied businesses which the government can use – has expanded.

Media Pluralism Report stated that the preselected media owners serve the government. The government uses economic tools or seizes media outlets to reconfigure the media environment. Dissident media outlets and critical journalists regularly face attacks and sanctions.

Journalists living inside and outside Turkey have found ways to publish on newly created news websites and portals. However, access to these websites from within Turkey is censored by the authorities.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016).
Media Pluralism Monitor Results 2016, Turkey, http://cmpf.eui.eu/media-pluralism-monitor/mpm-2016-results/turkey/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2017, Turkey Country report, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2017/turkey (accessed 1 November 2017)
Bianet, Media Monitoring Report April-May-June 2017, https://bianet.org/konu/bia-media-monitoring-report-april-may-june-2017 (accessed 1 November 2017).
Aslı Tunç, “Media Ownership and Finances in Turkey Increasing Concentration and Clientelism” Accessed June 15, 2016. http://mediaobservatory.net/sites/default/files/Media%20Ownership%20and%20Financ es%20in%20Turkey.pdf
Bianet, Media Ownership Monitor in Turkey, https://turkey.mom-rsf.org/tr/bulgular/gostergeler/#!255aab01a0f9f22f09246334c9edbfe8 (
Digital Transformations in Turkey: Current Perspectives in Communication Studies, Banu Akdenizli (ed.), Lexington Books Lantam, Boulder, New York London, 2015.
Sabahattin Önkibar, İmamlar ve Haramiler Medyası, İstanbul: Kırmızı Kedi Yayınevi, 2015.

To what extent can citizens obtain official information?

10
 9

Legal regulations guarantee free and easy access to official information, contain few, reasonable restrictions, and there are effective mechanisms of appeal and oversight enabling citizens to access information.
 8
 7
 6


Access to official information is regulated by law. Most restrictions are justified, but access is sometimes complicated by bureaucratic procedures. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms permit citizens to enforce their right of access.
 5
 4
 3


Access to official information is partially regulated by law, but complicated by bureaucratic procedures and some poorly justified restrictions. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms are often ineffective.
 2
 1

Access to official information is not regulated by law; there are many restrictions of access, bureaucratic procedures and no or ineffective mechanisms of enforcement.
Access to Government Information
4
According to Law 4982, citizens, noncitizens and foreign corporations have the right of access to government information. However, many public records are not included within the scope of the law, as there are exceptions for state secrets, intelligence information, individual privacy and communication privacy. There is no legislation on state and trade secrets, preventing effective use of access to information. Most public offices have a department that deals with access to information requests. These requests can be made in person or electronically.

Access to information rights and complaint mechanisms are not used effectively. A total of 1.6 million applications for information based on Law 4982 were submitted to public institutions in 2016. According to official information, 84% of requests resulted in the full provision of the requested information, 7.2% resulted in partial information or a negative response, and 8% were rejected. A total of 6,924 applications were found to concern state secrets or private issues. The government’s annual report on access to information requests does not include details about the subject of the applications.

The Board of Review for Access to Information examines administrative decisions rendered under articles 16 and 17 of the access to information law. The board did not publish an annual report for 2015. As with other administrative decisions, appeals can be made to an administrative court if information requests are denied. A total of 622 information requests were appealed in 2015. Although the number of applications decreased radically, the number of “positive” responses from the relevant public bodies increased in 2015.

In addition to the right to petition (Law 3071), the Prime Minister’s Communication Center has received public complaints, requests, denunciation and opinions since 2006. The center received two million submissions in 2016.

Finally, under its state of emergency powers, the government passed laws by executive decree without the need for parliamentary debate. This sidelining of parliament and parliamentary deputies by the government exacerbated the already limited access of citizens to political decision-making processes.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016).
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/RoLI_Final-Digital _0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkanlığı Basın, Yayın ve Halkla İlişkiler Başkanlığı Bilgi Edinme Hakkının Kullanılması Bakımından 2016 Yılına İlişkin Değerlendirme,
https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/bilgiedinme/2016_raporu_baskanlik_aciklamasi.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkanlığı, 2016 Yılı Bilgi Edinme Genel Raporu, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/bilgiedinme/2016_yili_degerlendirme_raporu.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017).
The Board of Review for Access to Information, Sample Decisions, http://www.bedk.gov.tr/Kararlar.aspx

Civil Rights and Political Liberties

#41

To what extent does the state respect and protect civil rights and how effectively are citizens protected by courts against infringements of their rights?

10
 9

All state institutions respect and effectively protect civil rights. Citizens are effectively protected by courts against infringements of their rights. Infringements present an extreme exception.
 8
 7
 6


The state respects and protects rights, with few infringements. Courts provide protection.
 5
 4
 3


Despite formal protection, frequent infringements of civil rights occur and court protection often proves ineffective.
 2
 1

State institutions respect civil rights only formally, and civil rights are frequently violated. Court protection is not effective.
Civil Rights
2
While Article 10 of the constitution guarantees equality before the law, and Article 12 enshrines fundamental rights and freedoms, concerns over shortcomings in judicial proceedings remain, including limited access by defense attorneys to prosecution files, lengthy pretrial detentions, and excessively long and catch-all indictments. This relates especially to numerous cases involving Kurdish activists, journalists, union members, students, military officers, and policy and security personal being tried for alleged violations of the Anti-Terror Law. Many such cases are considered by domestic and foreign observers to be partly or even fully politically motivated. Fundamental rights (e.g., freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and right to privacy) are severely at danger. Improper influence over regulatory enforcement is moderately high and respect for due process is declining. The accessibility, affordability and effective enforcement of civil justice need to be strengthened.

In the aftermath of the 15 July coup attempt, even more serious violations of civil rights have occurred. Although the government claims it conducts the rules of emergency government with utmost care, these practices are based on executive decrees having the force of law and are not subject to judicial review. Some decrees affected policy areas outside the scope of the state of emergency. The institutionalized neglect of civil rights in Turkey are reflected in mass arrests of alleged coup plotters and sympathizers, confiscation of their properties, sentences against journalists and opposition politicians, renewed violence in the southeast, widespread restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly, a deteriorating judicial system, violence against women and impaired relations with key international actors. In July 2017, the State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission was established to receive the complaints from people who have been affected by the ongoing state of emergency. Over 100,000 people have submitted complaints to the commission to date. It is expected that the commission will make its first decisions in December 2017.

Political influence and pressure on the judiciary as well as allegations of conspiring with Gülenist organizations has weakened the independence of the judiciary as the sole guarantor for civil and political rights and liberties. The Justice Minister’s right of veto, as ex officio President of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), continued to be a source of major concern. Despite the reorganization of the judiciary, the court system does not work effectively.

Since September 2012, the Constitutional Court accepts individual petitions if the right to a fair trial has been violated. Since September 2012, 1,314 violations of the right to fair trial have been noted by the court. Article 148 of the constitution states that anyone who believes his or her human or civil rights as set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) have been infringed upon by a public authority has a right to apply to the Constitutional Court, after exhausting other administrative and judicial remedies. The cost of individual application was about €57.22 in 2017. Individual applications must be filed within 30 days after the notification of the final proceeding that exhausts other legal remedies. A total of 82 applications were made between January 2016 and November 2017. More than 16,000 applications were received by the European Court of Human Rights between January and July 2017, and about 13,000 cases remain pending.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016).
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/RoLI_Final-Digital _0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)Anayasa Mahkemesi Bireysel Başvuru Kararları, http://www.anayasa.gov.tr/icsayfalar/kararlar/kbb.html (accessed 1 November 2017)
ECtHR, Press Country Profile Turkey,http://echr.coe.int/Documents/CP_Turkey_ENG.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
T.C. Ministry of Justice (2014), Action Plan on Prevention of ECHR violations, http://www.inhak.adalet.gov.tr/eng/announced/actionplan.pdf (accessed 10 December 2014)
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)
İnsan Hakları Kurulu Kararı, (Eşit Haklar İçin İzleme Derneği – Yüksek Seçim Kurulu), 25.06.2015, http://www.tihk.gov.tr/www/files/13-Temmuz-YSK-karari.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015)

To what extent does the state concede and protect political liberties?

10
 9

All state institutions concede and effectively protect political liberties.
 8
 7
 6


All state institutions for the most part concede and protect political liberties. There are only few infringements.
 5
 4
 3


State institutions concede political liberties but infringements occur regularly in practice.
 2
 1

Political liberties are unsatisfactory codified and frequently violated.
Political Liberties
3
Whereas the freedoms of thought, conscience and religion are generally respected, official violations of the freedoms of expression and assembly occur, particularly when criticism of the ruling government and its policies is involved. Several key pieces of legislation adopted regarding the rule of law and fundamental rights were not in line with European standards, such as the law on data protection. The constitutional amendment to parliamentary immunities adoption in May 2016 allowed lifting immunity for a large number of deputies, and resulted in the detentions and arrests of several HDP members of parliament, including the two co-chairs in November 2016. Following the 2015 parliamentary elections, a peaceful solution for the Kurdish issue was replaced by a “nationalist” anti-terror policy by the government.

A highly controversial Internal Security Law adopted in March 2015 granted the police the power to detain a person caught in the act of committing a crime. A person can be kept in custody for 24 hours without seeing a judge, and this period can be extended to 48 hours if the police deem that a “collective crime” has been committed. The police forces have been allowed to use firearms against demonstrators, deepening fears of crackdowns on dissent ahead of parliamentary elections. This law was considered a threat to the Turkish state’s conflict-resolution negotiations with the PKK, and a means of attracting nationalist votes for the AKP.

In the Penal Courts of Peace established in July 2014, single judges have the authority to issue search warrants and approve detentions and the seizure of property. Judges have been criticized for undermining the public’s trust in the judiciary due to the arbitrary nature of their detainments, arrests and judgments.

The European Commission stated during the review period that the freedoms of expression and assembly have become major shortcomings in Turkey. Intimidation of journalists, up to and including physical attacks, has taken place. The Commission advised Turkey to improve monitoring of the implementation of the Action Plan on Prevention of ECHR Violations (adopted in March 2014). The Commission’s 2016 Progress Report identified several major weaknesses, including: the intimidation of and denial of accreditation to journalists; the government’s blocking of websites with or without a court decision; the lack of editorial independence within the public broadcast system, especially during the elections; and media ownership transparency more generally. The number of journalists in prison increased during the review period.

Although bans on social media imposed by the government in early 2014 were subsequently lifted by the Constitutional Court, legal provisions limiting the free use of the internet, presented as necessary for “national security and protection of the public order,” have raised additional concerns. Wikipedia has been suspended due to its anti-government content.

Human Rights Association of Turkey reported that the state of emergency has exceeded its initial purpose and become a permanent practice. This violates Turkey’s constitution (Article 15), the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 15) and the U.N. Civil Code (Article 4). Laws passed by decree have been used on almost every subject. In total, about 300 legislative changes have been passed by decree. In an extensive report on Turkey’s state of emergency, Common Platform for Human Rights identified 12 constitutional violations between 21 July 2016 and 9 February 2017. All rules and practices related to municipal bodies are regulated through Municipal Law 5393 (Articles 38, 39 and 40), which was amended by Decree 674. The number of municipalities to which a trustee has been assigned has reached 80. A total of 320 refusal decisions made by Administrative Courts across Turkey. The Constitutional Court ruled that it is beyond its authority to review state of emergency decrees. In the aftermath of the coup attempt, the government seized numerous Gülenist companies and confiscated property worth nearly €10 billion.

The European Court of Human Rights declared 25,000 applications inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies. However, the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions contradicted statements made by the Venice Commission and the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe concerning Turkey’s state of emergency. The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission proposed creating an independent ad hoc Turkish body to examine individual dismissed cases, subject to judicial review. Subsequently, the Turkish government issued Decree 685 on 23 January 2017, establishing a commission to review its state of emergency procedures. It is expected that the commission will make its first decisions by the end of 2017.

Citations:
İnsan Hakları Ortak Platformu, Fact Sheet State of Emergency Measures In Turkey, 23 February 2017, https://bianet.org/english/politics/184123-21-statutory-decrees-under-state-of-emergency
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/RoLI_Final-Digital _0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pd f (accessed 1 November 2016).
Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2016, https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FH_FTOP_2016Report_Final_04232016.p df (accessed 1 November 2016)
Web Index Report 2014-2015, http://webfoundation.org/about/research/the-2014-15-web-index/ (accessed 27 October 2015)

How effectively does the state protect against different forms of discrimination?

10
 9

State institutions effectively protect against and actively prevent discrimination. Cases of discrimination are extremely rare.
 8
 7
 6


State anti-discrimination protections are moderately successful. Few cases of discrimination are observed.
 5
 4
 3


State anti-discrimination efforts show limited success. Many cases of discrimination can be observed.
 2
 1

The state does not offer effective protection against discrimination. Discrimination is widespread in the public sector and in society.
Non-discrimination
4
While Article 10 of the constitution guarantees equality before the law, irrespective of language, race, sex, political opinion or religion, the political reality in Turkey differs significantly from this constitutional ideal. The executive’s political discourse discriminates and insults opposition groups, including the CHP (the main opposition party), the HDP (the pro-Kurdish party), journalists, academics and LGBT communities. Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in jail. In 2016, 4,936 cases against people charged with “insulting” President Erdoğan were opened. The courts convicted 1,080 of the defendants, acquitted 679 individuals and suspended judgment in 867 other cases.

The Law on the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey provides a positive development toward non-discrimination. Turkey did not ratify Protocol 12 of the ECHR providing a general prohibition of discrimination. The definition of hate crime is excessively narrow, while the Criminal Code does not explicitly provide that racist, homophobic or transphobic motivations constitute an aggravating circumstance. Core elements of the anti-discrimination law are not in line with recommendations from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). Members of the Human Rights and Equality Institution were selected by the Council of Ministers (eight members) and the president (three members) in March 2017, only one member of the institution is female.

The educational needs of refugee children, work permits for refugees and return of displaced Kurds are major issues affecting the integration of disadvantage groups. Although Turkey ratified the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, gender-related violence, hate speech and discrimination against LGBT communities are serious problems. LGBT communities do not have any legal protections. The number of female victims of violence increased from 278 in 2016 to 293 in 2017. Physical attacks on non-Muslim residents were reported during the period under review, and physical and verbal anti-Semitic assaults are common in public. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s 2015 Global Anti-Semitism Index, 71% of Turkey’s adult population is estimated to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes – a slightly higher figure than for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region overall.

A number of high court rulings remain unimplemented, including the European Court of Human Rights’ December 2014 decision on cemevi (gathering places for Alevi Muslims) as a place of worship and February 2015 rejection of Turkey’s appeal on the issue of compulsory religious-education classes, as well as the Turkish Court of Cassation’s August 2015 judgment on cemevi as religious locations within the scope of the ECHR ruling. Some leading politicians’ “uneven” treatment of the Alevis negatively affects the public atmosphere.

The use of Kurdish and some other languages in formal education gradually widened. However, investigations and detentions of Kurdish activists have undermined efforts to find a workable solution to the Kurdish issue. The government introduced a National Strategy and Action Plan for Roma people, yet Roma continued to face discrimination in social and economic life.

Three years ago, the Ministry for Family and Social Policies adopted a national action plan to combat violence against women. However, despite rising public awareness, the incidence of violence against women in Turkey has undergone a dramatic and rapid increase in the last decade. Even though a large number of cases go officially unreported, women’s rights groups reported that 230 women had been killed in 2016 as of mid-November. In some cases, courts have ruled that “extenuating circumstances” existed for perpetrators of so-called honor crimes. A 2014 Penal Code amendment expanding penalties for violence against women was considered unsatisfactory by women’s rights associations. A controversial amendment on victims of sexual abuse was submitted by a group of AKP deputies in early November 2016, yet withdrawn by the Constitution Commission following street protests. Gender discrimination and discrimination against LGBTI in the workplace is widespread.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pd f (accessed 1 November 2016).
Anti-Defamation League, Global 100, 2015 Update, http://global100.adl.org/#map/2015update (accessed 1 November 2016).
“Turkey withdraws child rape bill after strreet protests,” 22 November 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38061785 (accessed 1 November 2016).
Cumhuriyetçi Eğitim Ve Kültür Merkezi Vakfi v. Turkey (application no. 32093/10) ECHR 355 (2014), 02.12.2014, http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/app/conversion/pdf/?library=ECHR&id=003-4952135-6065927&filename=003-4952135-6065927.pdf. (accessed 27 October 2015)
2015 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 21 September – 2 October 2015, http://www.osce.org/odihr/186991?download=true (accessed 27 October 2015)
Yargıtay’dan cemevi kararı, Hürriyet daily newspaper, 17 August 2015, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yargitaydan-cemevi-karari-29834823. (accessed 27 October 2015)
COE – ECRI Report on Turkey (fifth monitoring cycle), 4 October 2016, https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/country-by-country/turkey/TUR-CbC-V-2016-037-ENG.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
Şiddetten Ölen Kadınlar İçin Anıt Sayaç, http://anitsayac.com/?year=2017/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Totaliter Politikaları Eleştireyim Derken…,” 4 March 2017, https://m.bianet.org/biamag/toplum/184159-totaliter-politikalari-elestireyim-derken (accessed 1 November 2017).
“1,080 convicted in Erdoğan ‘insult’ cases in Turkey last year,” Hürriyet Daily News, 28 June 2017, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/1080-convicted-in-erdogan-insult-cases-in-turkey-last-year-114850 (accessed 1 November 2016).Özgül Kaptan, A Decade of Violence against Women in Turkey, 15 September 2015, http://researchturkey.org/a-decade-of-violence-against-women-in-turkey/ (accessed 27 October 2015)

Rule of Law

#41

To what extent do government and administration act on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions to provide legal certainty?

10
 9

Government and administration act predictably, on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions. Legal regulations are consistent and transparent, ensuring legal certainty.
 8
 7
 6


Government and administration rarely make unpredictable decisions. Legal regulations are consistent, but leave a large scope of discretion to the government or administration.
 5
 4
 3


Government and administration sometimes make unpredictable decisions that go beyond given legal bases or do not conform to existing legal regulations. Some legal regulations are inconsistent and contradictory.
 2
 1

Government and administration often make unpredictable decisions that lack a legal basis or ignore existing legal regulations. Legal regulations are inconsistent, full of loopholes and contradict each other.
Legal Certainty
2
Several articles in the Turkish constitution ensure that the government and administration act in accordance with legal provisions, and that citizens are protected from the despotism of the state. Article 36 guarantees citizens the freedom to claim rights, and Article 37 concedes the guarantee of lawful judgment. According to Article 125, administrative procedures and actions are subject to administrative review. In 2016, the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, received more than 272,211 files and reviewed 135,741 cases. There is no available data about the average length of time spent on each case or how many procedures and actions were annulled by administrative courts.

The main factors affecting legal certainty in the administration are a lack of regulations on particular issues, the misinterpretation of regulations by administrative authorities (mainly on political grounds), and unconstitutional regulations that are adopted by parliament or issued by the executive. In addition, the high frequency of amendments to some basic laws under certain circumstances lead to a lack of consistency. High-profile prosecutions can follow unpredictable courses. For example, after prisoners associated with the clandestine Ergenekon network were released, they were called back for a retrial. Legal as well as judicial instruments are sometimes used against government opponents, especially those in the media.

The 15 July failed coup attempt caused a major uncertainty in legal and practical terms. The governmental decrees issued during the state of emergency are not subject to judicial review. Moreover, at least 110,000 public servants mainly from the military, judiciary, health sector and universities were dismissed. The restructuring of the public service will take time and lead to further uncertainty, especially given the need to harmonize the current legal framework and constitutional amendments. More importantly, the government regulated some public matters by the state of emergency decree instead of through legislation, as is required by the constitution. During the review period, the practice of detaining and releasing journalists and pro-Kurdish politicians without clear legal cause became a regularity. The State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission has been established and is expected to publicize its decisions by the end of 2017.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pd f (accessed 1 November 2016).
Yargı Reformu Strateji Belgesi 2015, http://www.sgb.adalet.gov.tr/yargi_reformu_stratejisi.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015)
‘Turksat to remove opposition channels,’ Broadband TV News, 23 October 2015, http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2015/10/21/turksat-to-remove-opposition-channels/, (accessed 13 November 2015)
Turkey’s economy tsar warns of deteriorating rule of law, Hürriyet Daily News, 14 May 2015, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-economy-tsar-warns-of-deteriorating-rule-of-law.aspx?pageID=238&nID=82394&NewsCatID=338 (accessed 27 October 2015)
“1 yıla damga vuran 26 KHK,” 20 July 2017, https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2017/07/20/1-yila-damga-vuran-26-khk/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
“TÜSİAD Başkanı Bilecik: OHAL’in mümkün olan en kısa sürede sonlandırılması önemlidir,” 5 February 2017, https://www.ntv.com.tr/ekonomi/tusiad-baskani-bilecik-ohalin-mumkun-olan-en-kisa-surede-sonlandirilmasi-onemli,qgu1SW97uUqtTBH4lthayg (accessed 1 November 2017)

To what extent do independent courts control whether government and administration act in conformity with the law?

10
 9

Independent courts effectively review executive action and ensure that the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 8
 7
 6


Independent courts usually manage to control whether the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 5
 4
 3


Courts are independent, but often fail to ensure legal compliance.
 2
 1

Courts are biased for or against the incumbent government and lack effective control.
Judicial Review
3
The constitution (Article 9) emphasizes judicial impartiality and independence. Moreover, the constitution (Article 125) states that all government administrative decisions and actions are subject to judicial review. Developments during the review period demonstrated that the Constitutional Court plays a vital role in safeguarding judicial review in Turkey.

According to the amended constitution (Article 105), a parliamentary investigation can be opened against the president if an absolute majority in the parliament votes that the president likely committed a crime. Criminal investigations against the general chief of staff and other army commanders can be initiated with the prime minister’s approval. Moreover, the trial of the under-secretary of the National Intelligence Service (MİT) is subject to the approval of the president. Acts within the president’s area of competence, decisions of the Supreme Military Council (excluding acts relating to promotion or retirement) and decisions of the Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors (except for dismissals of public officials) are open to judicial review.

The Turkish judiciary is currently under severe pressure, given the substantial increase in cases. The effectiveness of the judiciary in the aftermath of the attempted coup was further compromised by the dismissal of 4,000 judges, prosecutors and judicial staff. In order to fill the large number of vacancies in the judiciary, the government launched 4,000 judges and 2,000 prosecutor cadres in mid-2017. However, independent observers state that judicial performance has been slowing down. In January 2017, the Court of Cassation had 804,344 appeal files to be reviewed, while the Council of State had 32,298 first instance court files and 219,977 appeal files. Since 2015, no data about the number of files before administrative courts has been available.

Judicial independence and impartiality has been undermined by the contradictory and unclear court indictments concerning several prisoners. The Cumhuriyet trial started on 11 September 2017, 300 days after executives and journalists of the Cumhuriyet daily newspaper were detained. The judiciary should be fair and neutral in politically oriented cases. However, since 2007, politicization of the judiciary has been increasing. Criminal investigations are not conducted effectively. Prosecutors’ indictments do not provide concrete, reliable and objective documentation. Delays and postponements in trials are unreasonably widespread. Finally, courts are known to unfairly discriminate.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pd f (accessed 1 November 2016).
European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission) Turkey Opinion on the Amendments to the Constitution Adopted By the Grand National Assembly on 21 January 2017 and to Be Submitted to A National Referendum on 16 April 2017, http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=cdl-ad(2017)00 5-e (1 November 2017)
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/RoLI_Final-Digital _0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
WEF, The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, 2017, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2017-2018/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2017%E2%80%932018.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
T.C. Yargıtay Başkanlığı 2016 Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, February 2017, https://www.yargitay.gov.tr/sayfa/faaliyet-raporu/documents/2016_faaliyet.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
T.C. Danıştay Başkanlığı, 2016 Yılı İdari Faaliyet Raporu, http://www.danistay.gov.tr/upload/17_03_2017_123330.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Askeri Yargıtay ve AYİM kaldırıldı,” Milliyet, 29 April 2017, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/askeri-yargitay-ve-ayim-kaldirildi-gundem-2441186/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
HSYK 5000 hakim ve savcı sınavını incelemeye aldı, 8 November 2015, http://zete.com/hsyk-5000-hakim-ve-savci-sinavini-incelemeye-aldi/ (accessed 10 November 2015)
“CHP’den 1. yılında OHAL raporu: 50 bin tutuklu, 111 bin ihraç,” Cumhuriyet, 20 July 2017, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/785737/CHP_den_1._yilinda_OHAL_raporu__50_bin_tutuklu__111_bin_ihrac.html (accessed 1 November 2017)
“2 bin hakim adayı ve 4 bin hakim kadrosu ihdas edildi,” 25 August 2017, https://www.memurlar.net/haber/690129/2-bin-hakim-adayi-ve-4-bin-hakim-kadrosu-ihdas-edildi.html (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Journalists Outside Initiative Calls for Solidarity for Next Hearing in Cumhuriyet Trial,” 28 August 2017, https://bianet.org/english/media/189444-journalists-outside-initiative-calls-for-solidarity-for-next-hearing-in-cumhuriyet-trial (accessed 1 November 2017)

To what extent does the process of appointing (supreme or constitutional court) justices guarantee the independence of the judiciary?

10
 9

Justices are appointed in a cooperative appointment process with special majority requirements.
 8
 7
 6


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies with special majority requirements or in a cooperative selection process without special majority requirements.
 5
 4
 3


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies without special majority requirements.
 2
 1

All judges are appointed exclusively by a single body irrespective of other institutions.
Appointment of Justices
3
The 2015-2019 Judicial Reform Strategy continues to be implemented. However, no measures were taken to tackle key shortcomings on independence and impartiality. It is crucial that the strategy is revised to address key outstanding problems and is implemented with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society.
The structure of the so-called Gülenist parallel state in the judiciary came to attention beginning in 2013 and has undermined the judiciary’s credibility. While the number of court cases is increasing – not least after 15 July 2016 and the dismissal of thousands of judges and prosecutors allegedly linked to Gülenist networks – the lack of professional judicial personnel creates further deadlocks.

The Constitutional Court has 17 members, as outlined by Article 146 of the 2010 constitutional referendum, whose members are nominated or elected from other higher courts by the country’s president, the parliament and professional groups made up of senior administrative officers, lawyers, first-degree judges, prosecutors or Constitutional Court rapporteurs who have served for at least five years.

To be appointed to the Constitutional Court, candidates must either be members of the teaching staff of institutions of higher education, senior administrative officers or lawyers; be over the age of 45; have completed higher education; and have worked for at least 20 years. Constitutional Court members serve 12-year terms and cannot be reelected. The appointment of Constitutional Court judges does not take place on the basis of general liberal-democratic standards such as cooperative appointment and special majority regulations. In addition, the armed forces still wield some civilian judicial influence, as two military judges are members of the Constitutional Court.

Recruitment patterns in the past have highlighted the politicization of the judiciary. Following the recently adopted constitutional amendments, four members of the new Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) were appointed directly by the president and seven members were elected by parliament. The HSK does not offer adequate safeguards for the independence of the judiciary and considerably increases political influence over the judiciary.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pd f (accessed 1 November 2016).
Yargı Reformu Strateji Belgesi 2015, http://www.sgb.adalet.gov.tr/yargi_reformu_stratejisi.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015)
European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission) Turkey Opinion on the Amendments to the Constitution Adopted By the Grand National Assembly on 21 January 2017 and to Be Submitted to A Natıonal Referendum on 16 April 2017, http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=cdl-ad(2017)005-e (1 November 2017)
“Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sistemi’nde AYM ve HSK üyeleri nasıl belirleniyor?.,” 17 March 2017, https://www.ahaber.com.tr/galeri/turkiye/cumhurbaskanligi-sisteminde-aym-ve-hsk-uyeleri-nasil-belirleniyor (1 November 2017)

To what extent are public officeholders prevented from abusing their position for private interests?

10
 9

Legal, political and public integrity mechanisms effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 8
 7
 6


Most integrity mechanisms function effectively and provide disincentives for public officeholders willing to abuse their positions.
 5
 4
 3


Some integrity mechanisms function, but do not effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 2
 1

Public officeholders can exploit their offices for private gain as they see fit without fear of legal consequences or adverse publicity.
Corruption Prevention
2
Law 5018 regarding public financial management and oversight also touches on issues of legality, transparency and predictability. However, these concepts, as well as instruments such as the formation of strategic plans, performance budgets and regulatory impact assessments, are not effectively incorporated into government oversight processes. An amendment to the law on audit court has limited the degree to which state expenditures can be audited. Public-procurement safeguards have deteriorated thanks to legislation allowing municipalities to operate in a less than transparent fashion. There are no codes of conduct guiding members of the legislature or judiciary in their actions. Conflicts of interest are not broadly deemed a concern, and there is no effective asset-declaration system in place for elected and appointed public officials.

The asset-declaration system was established in 1990 by Law 3628 on Asset Disclosure and Fighting Bribery and Corruption. All public officials (legislative, executive and judicial, including nationally and locally elected officials) must disclose their assets within one month of taking office and renew their declaration every five years. However, these declarations are not made public unless there is an administrative or judicial investigation. The Regulation on Procedure and Basis of Application of the Civil Servants Ethical Behavior Principles defines civil service restrictions, conflicts of interest and incompatibilities. The Council of Ethics for Public Officials lacks the power to enforce its decisions through disciplinary measures. Codes of ethics do not exist for military personnel or academics. Legal loopholes (e.g., regarding disclosure of gifts, financial interests and holdings, and foreign travel paid for by outside sources) in the code of ethics for parliamentarians remain in place. In 2016, a total of 1,792 public civil servants across 26 institutions were provided ethics training. The European Commission continued to sponsor ethics leadership training for Turkish civil society groups in 2017.

Political party finances are regulated by Law 2820. Parties that achieve 3% or more of the val id votes during the general election receive state aid, and those overcoming the 10% threshold receive higher sums proportionate to the share of votes received. Parties’ accounts are reviewed annually by the Constitutional Court, although this process is not timely. In recent years, the court found that the main parties had received or spent money unlawfully.

In general, corruption remains widespread, and unfair and biased bureaucratic treatment is common. Especially at the local level, corruption remains a systemic problem. While municipalities controlled by opposition parties are closely monitored by law-enforcement authorities and government inspectors, municipalities controlled by the AKP are shielded from close scrutiny. The Turkish Court of Accounts reported several improper transactions in the 2016 annual accounts of several metropolitan municipalities, including Ankara, İstanbul, Gaziantep, Bursa, Ş.Urfa and Kocaeli. However, these reports have not been discussed by the parliament. Though the reports were published in the media and online, publicly exposing hidden budget expenditures, housing-procurement abuses and tax compromises. Instead of prosecuting the corrupt officials, President Erdoğan simply removed them from office.

A 2014 omnibus law amended various aspects of Turkish public-procurement legislation, introducing restrictive measures that make the previously optional domestic price advantage of up to 15% compulsory for “medium and high-technology industrial products.” The law authorizes the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology to determine the list of items for which a domestic price advantage will be compulsory; this gives considerable discretion to the administration.

During the review period, corruption has deepened due to the rentier economy, the government’s authoritarian tendencies, weakened parliamentary oversight, dysfunctional public administration and financial audit institutions, and impunity. Moreover, the gold trader Reza Zarrab’s testimonies in the U.S. indicate that Zarrab bribed former AKP ministers with millions of U.S. dollars between 2011 and 2013. On 17 December 2015, the Bribery and Corruption Investigation decided not to prosecute four ministers and their relatives. In January 2015, due to the AKP’s parliamentary majority, the Turkish parliament voted not to put the ministers on trial. Though these cases can be reopened in future. The main opposition party leader stated that the President Erdoğan’s family members transferred millions of U.S. dollars to a company in the Isle of Man (a tax haven) in 2011 and 2012. In a counter attack, the Minister of Interior removed the mayor of Ataşehir, a town in İstanbul, from office following allegations of corruption.

Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pd f (accessed 1 November 2016).
OECD, Risk Management by State-Owned Enterprises and their Ownership, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2016.
World Bank, Turkey Asset Declaration System, https://star.worldbank.org/star/sites/star/files/turkey-ad-country-profile.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016).
Turkey’s top judicial body suspends graft probe prosecutors: agency, 30 December 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/30/us-turkey-corruption-prosecutors-idUSKBN0K80WC20141230#MAC1r24rc4pB862h.97 (27 October 2015)
Daniel Donbay, Turkish parliament votes against graft trial for former ministers, Financial Times, 21 January 2015, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7f805574-a14a-11e4-8d19-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3rrWV7tpq (27 October 2015)
Çiğdem Toker, Sayıştay yeni soygunu belgeledi, Cumhuryet daily newspaper, 7 October 2015, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/koseyazisi/382949/Sayistay_yeni_soygunu_belgeledi.html (27 October 2015)
TBMM Yolsuzluk Soruşturma Komisyonu Raporu’nun tam metni, 12 January 2015, http://odatv.com/tbmm-yolsuzluk-sorusturma-komisyonu-raporunun-tam-metni-1201151200.html (accessed 1 November 2017)
Sayıştay’ın yayınladığı rapor AKP’li belediyelerin borçlarını ortaya çıkardı, 10 October 2017, http://siyasihaber3.org/sayistay-in-yayinladigi-rapor-akp-li-belediyelerin-borclarini-ortaya-cikardi (1 November 2017)
GRECO, Third Evaluation Round Third Interim Compliance Report on Turkey ”Incriminations (ETS 173 and 191, GPC 2)” ”Transparency of Party Funding,” https://rm.coe.int/third-evaluation-round-third-interim-compliance-report-on-turkey-incri/168072247a (1 November 2017)
T.C. Başbakanlık Kamu Görevlileri Etik Kurulu, 2016 Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, 2016, http://etik.gov.tr/Portals/0/faaliyet_raporlari/faaliyetraporu_2016.pdf (1 November 2017)
Ö.Faruk Gençkaya, “New Public Management Approach and Ethical Issues in Local Administrations in Turkey” Y. Demirkaya, ed., New Public Management in Turkey: Local Government Reform, Routledge, 2016.
Ö. Faruk Gençkaya, “Financing of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns in Turkey,” S. ASayarı, P. Ayan-Musil and Ö. Demirkol, Party Politics in Turkey: A Comparative Perspective, Routledge, 2018.
Serkan Demirtaş, “The Zarrab case and corruption claims could bring Turkey’s elections forward,” Hürriyet Daily News, 2 December 2017, (accessed 2 December 2017)
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