Turkey shows improvements in several areas but still ranks at the very bottom of the Status Index.
The country continues to trail far behind the average attainment levels for the OECD in terms of the quality of democracy, social policies and security issues. Though its financial sector was spared the brunt of global crisis, exports have declined amid the global downturn.
Yet several improvements have been achieved, particularly with regard to improving the sustainability of public budgets and creating a more equitable pension system.
The quality of democracy Turkey ranks at the bottom of the OECD.
The 2007 parliamentary elections resulted in greater pluralism in representation. However, campaign finance is not regulated by law, and bans placed on political parties undermine democratic political party life. Access to media is not equal for all parties and politicians.
Problems faced by ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities are serious concerns in Turkey. Partisan judicial appointments and an inefficient judical process hamper the delivery of justice.
Despite improvements on some individual measures, Turkey’s remains very close to the OECD’s bottom in terms of economic policy, at rank 29.
The global financial crisis had little effect on Turkey’s national banking system. However, the slowdown in Europe led to contraction in the automotive and textile industries, the two leading export sectors.
Labor market participation increased from 2008 to 2009, in part because the crisis diminished family incomes, driving persons previously out of the labor force to hunt for jobs.
Turkey collects only 25% of its income through taxes, but since 2006 the scope of the central government budget has expanded considerably. The government has raised social security spending, taking serious steps in the direction of enhancing social equality as well as sustainability.
At rank 31, Turkey continues to receive social policy ratings that are among the OECD’s lowest.
Health care policy still results in significant gaps in coverage. In order to reduce a shortage of health personnel, the capacity of medical and nursing schools has been increased.
Little has been done to combat poverty effectively. More than 20% of the population still lives under the poverty line.
The current social insurance programs, which covered 80.2% of population in 2008, show a significant fiscal deficit.
The country lacks a developed integration policy, despite rising labor-driven migration and settlement from the Caucasus, the Balkans and even the EU.
A critical, and often tense, geopolitical crossroads, Turkey has long seen the military play an influential role in society. The parameters of defense policy and the military’s role are still being defined.
Although NATO membership is not openly questioned by military leaders, some elements oppose EU membership and favor a closer relationship with Russia and China instead.
Despite military successes against the PKK, problems related to Kurdish guerrillas remain unresolved.
At rank 30, Turkey’s record of sustainable resource use is markedly poor by OECD comparison.
Industrialization and unplanned urbanization combined with high birth rates have led to significant environmental issues. The country is vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, particularly drought and desertification. Water resources and forests are deteriorating rapidly.
The government has spent between 0.7% and 0.8% of GDP for R&D, a comparatively low sum. The main objectives of science and technology policy are to increase the innovation capacity of the private sector, to develop domestic skills and to transform these skills into a social benefits.
The educational system contains significant inequities, and does not provide enough skilled labor for the labor market’s needs.