Turkey

   

Executive Accountability

#41
Key Findings
With oversight mechanisms being increasingly undermined, Turkey takes the SGI 2019’s bottom spot (rank 41) with regard to executive accountability. Its score on this measure has declined by 1.1 points relative to 2014.

The government often fails to publicize policy plans before implementation. Media freedoms have been badly undermined, journalists have been imprisoned and threatened, and the largest media organization was sold to a pro-government media conglomerate in 2018. These factors make it difficult for citizens to find objective and substantive information on government policies and decision-making.

Parliamentarians have moderate resources, with capacity development a persistent problem. The ability of parliament to oversee the new presidential system remains uncertain. 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. A data-protection authority is newly operational.

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

#36

To what extent are citizens informed of public policies?

10
 9

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


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


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

Most citizens are not aware of public policies.
Political Knowledge
4
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. Although, public opinion polls rarely provide substantial results, it can be assumed that public knowledge about government affairs is low, in contrast to public satisfaction with the government. While public dissatisfaction with the justice and education systems is increasing, there are a few civil society organizations that mostly satisfactorily inform the public about ongoing developments related to the health care, education and security sectors. Policy plans are kept largely secret or are 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. Public institution’s annual activity reports only provide data about policy achievements. A recent report on governance in Istanbul’s municipalities indicated that municipalities do not provide stakeholders with sufficient information on decision-making processes.

In the aftermath of the early presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2018, the pluralistic structure of Turkey’s media was fatally undermined by the sale of Doğan Media, the flagship of Turkey’s media, to Demirören media, a pro-government media conglomerate in 2018. Media freedoms deteriorated significantly after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016. Numerous journalists have been imprisoned without indictment, which has had an intimidating effect on other journalists. Consequently, it is difficult for citizens to find objective and substantive information on government policies and decision-making.

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. Some 54% of the population has access to the internet and 70% of the population expresses optimism with regard to digital transformation. 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:
TC Maliye Bakanlığı, 2017 Yılı Genel Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.bumko.gov.tr/Eklenti/11192,2017-genel-faaliyet-raporupdf.pdf?0&_tag1=911F80DC33E9561482271ED12E6CECD4737655AB (accesssed 27 October 2018)
“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)
Ömer Zeybek, “Yaşam Memnuniyeti 2017,” https://medium.com/@merzeybek/ya%C5%9Fam-memnuniyeti-2017-72075f4d745a, (accesssed 27 Octoberr 2018)
Bilal Alat, “Türkiye’de İl Belediye Web Sitelerinin İşlevselliği Üzerine Bir Araştırma,” Fırat Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, 28(1), 2018: 93-114.
Belediye Yönetişim Karnesi, http://belediyekarnesi.argudenacademy.org/docs/Arguden-Akademi_Belediye-Yonetisim-Karnesi.pdf, (accesssed 27 October 2018)
Digital in 2018: Global Overview, https://hootsuite.com/pages/digital-in-2018 (accesssed 1 November 2018)

Does the government publish data and information in a way that strengthens citizens’ capacity to hold the government accountable?

10
 9

The government publishes data and information in a comprehensive, timely and user-friendly way.
 8
 7
 6


The government most of the time publishes data and information in a comprehensive, timely and user-friendly way.
 5
 4
 3


The government publishes data in a limited and not timely or user-friendly way.
 2
 1

The government publishes (almost) no relevant data.
Open Government
4
Turkey is moderately prepared in the area of public administration reform, with a strong commitment to a more open administration and the use of e-government. However, there has been serious backsliding in the area of public service provision and human resource management, and in the area of accountability (e.g., with regard to the right to administrative justice and the right to seek compensation). A transparent and effective response still needs to be provided for the large-scale dismissals of public sector employees.

The OGP Steering Committee designated the Government of Turkey as inactive in OGP on 21 September 2016. Due to Turkey’s failure to meet the requirements, Turkey’s participation in the OGP ended in September 2017. In fact, in the fight against corruption, Turkey prepared an Action Plan 2012 – 2013, which included opening four web portals (for transparency, expenditure, electronic procurement and regulations); identifying areas at risk of corruption; developing of relevant measures; minimizing bureaucratic obstacles; and promoting integrity, transparency and accountability.

According to the World Justice Project’s Open Government Index 2015 (which assesses publicized laws and government data, rights to information, complaint mechanisms, and civic participation), Turkey ranked 82 out of 102 countries with a score of 0.44 – in the middle for the first three criteria and in the bottom tercile for civic participation.

Citations:
Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/turkey-withdrawn (accessed 27 October 2018)
TÜSEV, Sivil Toplum İzleme Raporu 2015-2016, Açık Yönetim Ortaklığı ve Türkiye Süreci Vaka Analizi, 2017, (accessed 27 October 2018)
World Justice Project, Open Government Index 2015, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/ogi_2015.pdf, (accessed 27 October 2018)

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.

In 2017, 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. As of 2018, 86 legislative experts -16 of them were assigned in the standing committees- and 30 deputy-experts were employed at the Department of Laws and Resolution. 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 Expert 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.

Citations:
26. Dönem, 1, 2 ve 3. Yasama Yılı, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/komisyon/insanhaklari/faaliyet_raporlari_26.htm (accessed 1 November 2018) “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)

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 request government documents.
Obtaining Documents
5
According to the Rules of Procedure (Article 62), the speakership of the TBMM may invite the vice-president, ministers and deputy-ministers, and senior public officials to provide information at the plenary, as described by Article 119 of the Constitution (state of emergency). Parliamentary commissions may directly communicate with any ministry and request information from a ministry relevant to the commission’s work (Article 41)

Citations:
Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/ictuzuk.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Ş. İba, Parlamento Hukuku, Ankara: Turhan Yayınevi, 2017.

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
4
Ministers can attend committee meetings as a representative of the government without invitation, and may talk on the subject matter at hand (Rules of Procedure, Article 29, 30 and 31). However, 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 (Article 62). 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. In the new presidential system, 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. They also attend the budgetary debates in the plenary.

The latest available GNAT activity report is from 2016.

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, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/ictuzuk.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
TBMM Faaliyet Raporu, 26. Dönem, 1, 2 ve 3. Yasama Yılı, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/komisyon/insanhaklari/faaliyet_raporlari_26.htm (accessed 1 November 2018)

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
Parliamentary rules of procedure, committees are legally able to summon experts from non-governmental organizations, universities or the bureaucracy to provide testimony without limitation (Rules of Procedure, Article 29 and 30). There is no detailed information about the use of experts’ opinions by the parliament.

Citations:
Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/ictuzuk.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
26. Dönem, 1, 2 ve 3. Yasama Yılı, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/komisyon/insanhaklari/faaliyet_raporlari_26.htm (accessed 1 November 2018)

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
Under the new governmental system following the April 2017 referendum on the introduction of presidentialism, the number of ministries has been reduced to 16. Advocates of the new system argue that the system would run more efficiently. However, the alignment of ministries (or rather the presidency and its new executive structure) and parliamentary committees is likely to create frictions in policymaking.

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. Except few, 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:
Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/ictuzuk.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Ş. İba, Parlamento Hukuku, Ankara: Turhan Yayınevi, 2017.
26. Dönem, 1, 2 ve 3. Yasama Yılı, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/komisyon/insanhaklari/faaliyet_raporlari_26.htm (accessed 1 November 2018)

Media

#41

To what extent do media in your country analyze the rationale and impact of public policies?

10
 9

A clear majority of mass media brands focus on high-quality information content analyzing the rationale and impact of public policies.
 8
 7
 6


About one-half of the mass media brands focus on high-quality information content analyzing the rationale and impact of public policies. 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 public policies. Several mass media brands produce superficial infotainment content only.
 2
 1

All mass media brands are dominated by superficial infotainment content.
Media Reporting
2
In the aftermath of the early presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2018, the pluralistic structure of Turkey’s media was fatally undermined by the sale of Doğan Media, the flagship of Turkey’s media, to Demirören media, a pro-government media conglomerate in 2018. 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 also true even of the main news agencies, such as Anadolu (a state-owned company) and Doğan, which has been sold to Demirören media. 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:
European Commission, Turkey 2018 Report, Brussels, 17.4.2018, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20180417-turkey- report.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2017, https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FOTP_2017_booklet_FINAL_April28.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Freedom House, Freedom on the Net 2018: The Rise of Digital Authoritarianism, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2018/rise-digital-author itarianism (accessed 1 November 2018)
N. Newman and et al., Reuters Institute Digital News Reports, http://media.digitalnewsreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/digital-news-repor t-2018.pdf?x89475 (accessed 1 November 2018)
“Turkey spells out conditions to blocked site Wikipedia,” http://www.euronews.com/2017/05/11/wikipedia-reste-interdit-en-turquie (accessed 1 November 2017)

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 issue agendas 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 issue agendas 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 issue agendas are fully controlled and drafted by the party leadership.
Intra-party Decision-Making
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.”

Citations:
“AKP’de ‘metal fırtına’: Erdoğan, “Gökçek dahil 6 belediye başkanının istifasını istedi” iddiası,” 2 October 2017, http://t24.com.tr/haber/Erdoğan-gokcek-dahil-6-belediye-baskaninin-istifasini-istedi-iddiasi,455251 (accessed 1 November 2017)
“Turkey’s Erdoğan Calls on Mayors to Resign, Hurriyet Newspaper Says,” 19 October 2017, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-10-19/turkeys-Erdoğan-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.
P. Ayan-Musil, Authoritarian Party Structures and Democratic Political Setting in Turkey, Palgrave, 2011.
C. Erdoğan, CHP (1919-2018) İdeoloji-Örgütsel Yapı Parti İçi Demokrasi ve Oligarşi, Sokak Kitapları Yayınları, 2018.
Bekir Ağırdır, Fuat Keyman, Tarhan Erdem, Türkiye’nin Demokratikleşmesi İçin Kapsamlı Bir Siyasi Parti ve Seçim Sistemi Reformu Önerisi, Istanbul: 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 (e.g., employers, industry, labor) 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 (Employers & Unions)
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.

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. Trade unions and civil society representatives participated in drafting Law No. 6356 on trade unions, although the final output was ultimately determined by the government. 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.

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-Erdoğan-113283 (accessed 1 November 2017)
Ayse Bugra and Osman Savaskan, New Capitalism In Turkey The Relationship between Politics, Religion and Business, Edward Elgar, 2014.
A. Şahin and A. Söylemez, “Sendikalara Yönelik Politikaların Belirlenmesinde Sendikaların Rolü ve 6356 Sayılı Sendikalar Kanunu,” Sosyal Ekonomik Araştırmalar Dergisi, 17, 2017: 135-144.
Kolektif, 2000’li Yıllarda Türkiye’de Sendikacılık Zorluklar, Eğilimler, Olanaklar, Epos Yayınları, 2017.

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, 106,861 associations with more than 11 million members were active. Most are professional, sport or religious organizations. A total of 5,083 foundations are active nationwide. Most foundations are social solidarity organizations, 22 are foreign foundations and 167 are religious organizations. Among others, TESEV, TESAV, TEPAV, SETAV, 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 advocates its objectives. Like SETAV in general, KADEM (Women and Democracy Association) was founded with the patronage of Erdoğan’s family members and is used as a social policy instrument.

The Oy ve Ötesi Girişimi (Vote and Beyond) initiative – in collaboration with the Unions of Bars of Turkey, several bars, and the Checks and Balances Network – monitors local and presidential elections. The Computer Engineers Association also made an analysis of ballot box results with regard to inconsistency of electoral results.

According to the Audit Court’s reports, state institutions contributed a total of €500 million (TRY 3.7 billion) to associations, foundations, organizations and similar non-profit organizations in 2017. About €1.6 million (TRY 9.5 million) was allocated by the president and prime minister to such organizations.

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 2018)
TC Başbakanlık Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü 2017 Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.vgm.gov.tr/Documents/2017%20YILI%20%20%C4%B0DARE%20FAAL%C4%B0YET%20RAPORU.pdf
(accessed 1 November 2018)
“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
“Sayıştay açıkladı, devletin kasasından 3.7 milyar lira kayıp!,” http://t24.com.tr/haber/sayistay-acikladi-devletin-kasasindan-37-milyar-lira-kayip,716145 (accessed 1 November 2018)

Independent Supervisory Bodies

#41

Does there exist an independent and effective audit office?

10
 9

There exists an effective and independent audit office.
 8
 7
 6


There exists an effective and independent audit office, but its role is slightly limited.
 5
 4
 3


There exists an independent audit office, but its role is considerably limited.
 2
 1

There does not exist an independent and effective audit office.
Audit Office
4
According to Article 160 of the constitution, the Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) 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 how the TCA would audit the accounts of public institutions. In December 2012, the Constitutional Court also annulled the provision limiting performance auditing. Currently, the TCA has three functions: auditing, financial trials and reporting. It conducts regulatory audits and performance audits. Contrary to the Constitutional Court’s decision, the current law prohibits the TCA to conduct a propriety audit.


The court’s audit reports for 2017 also revealed several improper financial transactions, corrupt procedures and processes across various public institutions, including government ministries, the Directorate of Religious Affairs, TÜBİTAK, universities, and municipalities governed by AKP and CHP. It is claimed that financial irregularities in Istanbul metropolitan municipality and its annex institutions reached up to €125.5 million (TRY 753 million).

The TCA reports to parliament, but is not accountable to parliament. The president and the members of the TCA are elected by the parliament among the graduates of universities or higher education institutions of law, political science, economics and administrative sciences who have served at least 16 years in public service. The auditors are selected from among the university graduates of the same fields to the service by multilevel written and oral examinations. If a criminal act is found during the audits and investigations, the relevant auditor notifies the president of the TCA immediately. If a public criminal case is required, the chief prosecutor of the TCA sends the documents either to the relevant public authority or to the chief public prosecutor of the republic (highest prosecutors of the country).
The Turkey Wealth Fund is subject to independent audit and will be audited for the first time by the parliamentary Plan and Budget Commission in November 2018. The fund is under the scope of the court’s audit.

According to the TI Defense A-C Index, the Turkish parliament has limited-to-no formal powers to oversee defense spending. The parliament cannot formally oversee the defense budget, monitor procurement or scrutinize the military’s commercial activities.

The European Commission has recommended that Turkey develop an effective monitoring system in the TCA to follow up implementation of auditors’ recommendations.

Citations:
European Commission Turkey Report 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/…/sites/…/20180417-turkey-report.pdf, (accessed 27 October 2018)
TC Sayıştay Başkanlığı 2017 Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.sayistay.gov.tr/tr/Upload/76662805/files/SAYI%C5%9ETAY%202017%20YILI%20FAAL%C4%B0YET%20RAPORU(1).pdf (accessed 27 October 2018).
“Sayıştay haberleri,” https://odatv.com/tag/Say%C4%B1%C5%9Ftay (accessed 20 November 2018)
Fikret Şimşek, “Sayıştay nasıl etkisizleştirildi?” https://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/sayistay-nasil-etkisizlestirildi-235978.html (accessed 20 November 2018)

Transparency International Government Defense Anti Corruption Index, Turkey 2015Country Summary, http://government.defenceindex.org/downloads/docs/turkey.pdf (accessed 27 October 2015).

Does there exist an independent and effective ombuds office?

10
 9

There exists an effective and independent ombuds office.
 8
 7
 6


There exists an effective and independent ombuds office, but its advocacy role is slightly limited.
 5
 4
 3


There exists an independent ombuds office, but its advocacy role is considerably limited.
 2
 1

There does not exist an effective and independent 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 2017, it received 17,131 new applications, almost three times as many as the annual average for the previous four years. It concluded 14,746 cases and adopted 422 full or partial recommendations. Overall, public administration has acted on about 65% of these recommendations, confirming a steady trend of increasingly adopting recommendations. 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 Ombudsman has been active in raising awareness of the role. However, due to its limited authority to initiate investigations and intervene in cases with legal remedies, the Ombudsman remained silent on certain human rights issues, most notably on reported human rights violations in the southeast of Turkey. The Ombudsman’s limited powers reduce the institution’s effectiveness and contribution to the fields of human rights and good governance.

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:
European Commission Turkey Report 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/…/sites/…/20180417-turkey-report.pdf, (accessed 27 October 2018)
T.C. Kamu Denetçiliği Kurumu 2017 Yıllık Rapor, https://www.ombudsman.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2017-y%C4%B1ll%C4%B1k-rapor-SON-PDF.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
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)

Is there an independent authority in place that effectively holds government offices accountable for handling issues of data protection and privacy?

10
 9

An independent and effective data protection authority exists.
 8
 7
 6


An independent and effective data protection authority exists, but its role is slightly limited.
 5
 4
 3


A data protection authority exists, but both its independence and effectiveness are strongly limited.
 2
 1

There is no effective and independent data protection office.
Data Protection Authority
3
In 2016, the country ratified the Council of Europe Convention 108 on the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data and its additional protocol dated 1981. The Personal Data Protection Authority is now operational and its nine-member board has been appointed. Of the nine members, five were appointed by the parliament and four by the president. Law No. 6698 on Protection of Personal Data dated 2016 does not fully align with the EU acquis. This concerns the powers of the Data Protection Authority, the balancing of data protection with the right to freedom of expression and information.

Citations:
European Commission Turkey Report 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/…/sites/…/20180417-turkey-report.pdf, (accessed 27 October 2018)
Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu, http://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/1.5.6698.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
İ. Korkmaz, “Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu Hakkında Bir Değerlendirme,” TBB Dergisi, 124, 2016: 81-152.
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