Turkey

   

Quality of Democracy

#41
Key Findings
Despite the end of the post-coup-attempt emergency period, Turkey takes the SGI 2019’s bottom spot (rank 41) with regard to democracy quality. Its score on this measure has declined by 2.0 points relative to its 2014 level.

The state of emergency imposed following the 2016 coup attempt remained in force throughout July 2018. During that time, the state engaged in serious civil rights violations, massive judicial interference, mass dismissal of civil servants, the closure of civil society organizations and media outlets, torture during pretrial detention, private-property expropriation and more.

The parliamentary and presidential elections in 2018 were held without electoral-board oversight. The government controls the public and much of the private media. Journalists are often threatened or even attacked, and censorship is widespread.

Gender-based violence and discrimination, and hate speech and human-rights violations against minorities (e.g., LGBTI persons) are a serious concern. The transition to a presidential institutional model was implemented by decree rather than through legislation, as required by the constitution. Corruption remains widespread.

Electoral Processes

#41

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
6
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 the co-mayoral practices of the HDP. 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.

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 2018, there were 82 registered political parties, but only 10 of them participated in the 24 June 2018 parliamentary elections. The Party Law (Article 90/2) was amended in order to enable parties to form pre-electoral alliances in March 2018. The share of the representation of valid votes rose to 98%, and resulted in overrepresentation of big parties (8%) and underrepresentation of small parties (6%) in this parliament.

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 for which notarization is not required in the 2018 elections.

Presidential candidates are not asked to pay a nomination fee; however, political parties require parliamentary candidates to pay a fee ranging from €250 to €1,700 in 2018. Women candidates are generally asked to pay half or less of the fee required from male candidates or no fee at all. 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 €2,300 (TRY 13,916). This fee is held by the revenue department of the provincial election board where the candidate is standing for election and is registered as revenue by the Treasury if the candidate fails to be elected.

The early parliamentary and presidential elections in 2018 were held under the state of emergency, which was proclaimed after the averted coup attempt in 2016 and extended seven times until after the June 2018 elections.

Selahattin Demirtaş, who was the co-chair and presidential candidate of HDP, has been detained since 4 November 2016. Consequently, Demirtaş failed to take part in the 2017 referendum, or 2018 parliamentary and presidential elections freely. The ECtHR found Turkey in violation of Articles 5/3, 3 Protocol 1 and Article 18 (stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate) and unanimously demanded that the Turkish government take all necessary measures to end the applicant’s pre-trial detention.

Citations:
Seçimlerin Temel Hükümleri ve Seçmen Kütükleri Hakkında Kanun İle Bazı Kanunlarda Değişiklik Yapılmasına Dair Kanun, 16 March 2018, http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2018/03/20180316-28.htm, (accessed 27 October 2018)
Rıza Türmen, “OHAL altında seçim,” 9 May 2018, http://t24.com.tr/yazarlar/riza-turmen/ohal-altinda-secim,19650 (accessed 27 October 2018)
Selahattin Demirtaş v. Turkey, https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press#%22itemid%22:[%22003-6255331-8141045%22] (accessed 20 November 2018)
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)
Faaliyette olan siyasi partiler, https://www.yargitaycb.gov.tr/sayfa/faaliyette-olan-siyasi-partiler/documents/SPartiler19112018.pdf (accessed 19 November 2018)
OSCE - ODIHR, Early Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Republic of Turkey 24 June 2018 , ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/397046?download=true (accessed 27 October 2018)
“Danıştay’dan “eş başkanlık” uygulamasının durdurulmasına onay,” 23.03.2016, http://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/1213998-danistaydan-es-baskanlik-uygulamasinin-durdurulmasina-onay
(accessed 7 October 2017)
Ömer F. Gençkaya, “Financing political parties and electoral campaigns in Turkey,” S.Sayarı, P. Ayan-Musil and Ö. Demirkol (eds), Party Politics in Turkey, Routledge: Oxon and New York, 2018.

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’ (SBE) ability to sanction electoral violations was repealed using the state of emergency decree (No. 687) issued in January 2017. This impunity mechanism facilitated several violations without any sanction in the June 2018 elections.

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.

Throughout the June 2018 presidential and early parliamentary election campaigns, most print and visual media outlets favored the incumbent president and the ruling AKP. Between 14 May and 22 June 2018, the state-run TRT channels dedicated about 250 hours of coverage to the incumbent president and the AKP, but only 25 hours to opposition parties and other presidential candidates. The pro-government TV channels reserved no airtime for opposition parties or candidates (or referred to them in a negative tone if they were included). Meanwhile, the mainstream private TV channels, CNN-Turk and NTV, provided opposition parties and candidates less than half of the airtime that was provided to the incumbent president and party. Overall, 70% of paid advertising on TV channels was dedicated to the incumbent president and party. Some pro-government party TV channels failed to broadcast any opposition party or candidate advertising.

An OSCE-ODIHR Report also underlined that candidates were unable to contest fairly and equally in terms of resources and media visibility. Anadolu Agency, a state-run news agency, mock data testing results were broadcasted by a pro-government TV channel, TVNET, on 19 June 2018, declaring Erdoğan’s victory with 53% votes. Anadolu Agency, a monopoly news agency, disseminated the results of over 180,000 electoral ballots before the SBE had announced the official results. These developments reinforced suspicions of electoral fraud.

Following the sale of Doğan Media Outlet to a pro-government conglomerate in 2018, a number of current affairs and political debate programs were terminated and more than 50 journalists dismissed. The opposition candidates and parties have extensively used social media networks due to their restricted access to conventional media (newspapers and TVs).

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)
SBE, Decision 2018-940, https://www.rtuk.gov.tr/ysk-kararlari/3721/3912/ysk-kararlari.html?Keyword=ysk (accessed 27 October 2018)
OSCE - ODIHR, Early Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Republic of Turkey 24 June 2018 , ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/397046?download=true (accessed 27 October 2018)
“AA’nın seçim sonuçları “yanlışlıkla” seçimden 4 gün önce yayınlandı,” https://odatv.com/aanin-secim-sonuclari-yanlislikla-secimden-4-gun-once-yayinlandi-21061823.html (accessed 27 October 2018)
“Tek sesli yayıncılıkta çığır açtılar, https://www.sozcu.com.tr/2018/gundem/tek-sesli-yayincilikta-cigir-actilar-2482005/” (accessed 27 October 2018)
F. Sarp Nebil, “2018 Cumhurbaşkanlığı seçiminde hangi aday sosyal medyayı daha iyi kullandı?”, http://t24.com.tr/yazarlar/fusun-sarp-nebil/2018-cumhurbaskanligi-seciminde-hangi-aday-sosyal-medyayi-daha-iyi-kullandi,19975 (accessed 27 October 2018)
Ömer F. Gençkaya, “Financing political parties and electoral campaigns in Turkey,” S.Sayarı, P. Ayan-Musil and Ö. Demirkol (eds), Party Politics in Turkey, Routledge: Oxon and New York, 2018.

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
5
All Turkish nationals over the age of 18 can exercise the right to vote (Constitution, Article 67). The Supreme Election Board (SEB) 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 SBE, 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 six million young people waiting to vote in November 2019 could not vote because early elections were held in June 2018.

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 2018 early parliamentary and presidential elections, about 1.5 million votes, or half of the registered voters in total, were cast 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 SBE. 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. Disabled voters sometimes face difficulties, as many polling stations lack appropriate access facilities.

Parliamentary and local elections are conducted by local election boards under the supervision of the SBE. These local boards verify election returns and conduct investigations of irregularities, complaints and objections, with the national board providing a final check. According to an independent report, during the 2018 elections, 127 attacks were organized, four people were killed and 90 people were injured, while 387 people were detained and 15 people were jailed.

Inconsistency in electoral results were examined by some NGOs, including Oy ve Ötesi and the Chamber of Computer Engineers. These reports underlined some insignificant errors. In order to double check the election results published by the SBE, the CHP organized a “fair election mobilization” system. However, this system proved to be ineffective.

Citations:
OSCE - ODIHR, Early Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Republic of Turkey 24 June 2018 , ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/397046?download=true (accessed 27 October 2018)
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 2018)
24 Haziran 2018 Milletvekili Seçim Sonuçları - Yurt dışı, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/secim/24-haziran-2018-secimleri/yurtdisi-milletvekili-secim-sonuclari (accessed 27 October 2018)
Seçim Döneminde HDP’ye 93 Ayrı Müdahale, https://m.bianet.org/bianet/siyaset/198468-secim-doneminde-hdp-ye-93-ayri-mudahale (accessed 27 October 2018)
“Oy ve Ötesi 24 Haziran Seçimleri Ön Değerlendirme Raporu ile YSK Kesin Sonuçları Karşılaştırmalı Veri Analizi,” https://odatv.com/images2/2018_11/2018_11_13/oyveotesiverianalizi.pdf (accessed 27 October 2018)

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 (SEB) 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. The SEB has not published the accounts of Turkey’s main parties since 2015. Therefore, it is unknown how much political parties spent on campaigning over the last two presidential elections. Excluding Erdoğan, presidential candidates collected about €5.3 million (TRY 32 million) in donations from eligible people.

The cap on donations to political parties from private individuals is reviewed each year. In 2018, the limit was approximately €7,072 (TRY 42,434). However, donations are rarely properly and systematically recorded. For example, cash donations and in-kind contributions to, and expenditure on behalf of parties or candidates during elections are not recorded. The funds collected and expenditure incurred by elected representatives and party candidates (e.g., during election campaigning) are not included in party accounts. There is no legal ceiling on campaign spending. 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.

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. Pursuant to Article 69 of the constitution, Article 74 of Law 2820 stipulates that 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. Only three out of approximately 800 auditors of the Court of Accounts are mandated to audit party and campaign finance. The Constitutional Court and the SEB, the two institutions mandated with oversight powers, do not have expertise in auditing. The Constitutional Court’s examination of the main political parties’ accounts tends to be slow and can take longer than three years. Auditing decisions by the Constitutional Court are published in the Official Gazette. The SEB’s review report on presidential candidates’ campaigns must be announced within a month of the audit’s completion. However, the law does not specify when the audit should be completed. Law 2820 contains criminal, administrative and civil sanctions on political parties’ unlawful income or expenditures, with fines accruing to the state treasury. However, the lack of substantial oversight reduces the transparency, integrity and accountability of political finances.

Critics have argued that discretionary funds (e.g., unemployment funds) controlled by the government and the president were used for the ruling party’s 2018 campaigns. An OSCE-ODIHR report also underlined that the ruling party was using public facilities illegally during the election campaign, which contradicts the distinction between state and party, and international good practice.

Citations:
GRECO, Fourth Interim Compliance Report on Turkey, 4-8 December 2016, https://rm.coe.int/third-evaluation-round-fourth-interim-compliance-report-on-turkey-incr/1680792e28 (accessed 27 October 2018)
OSCE - ODIHR, Early Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Republic of Turkey 24 June 2018 , ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/397046?download=true (accessed 27 October 2018)
Ö. Faruk Gençkaya, “Financing of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns in Turkey,” S. Sayarı, P. Ayan-Musil and Ö. Demirkol, Party Politics in Turkey: A Comparative Perspective, Routledge, 2018.
“İşsizlik Sigortası Fonu Seçimler İçin Kullanılıyor,” 21 June 2018, https://m.bianet.org/bianet/siyaset/198366-issizlik-sigortasi-fonu-secimler-icin-kullaniliyor (accessed 27 October 2018)

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, strategic planning for 2015 to 2019 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:
H. Akay, Yerel Yönetimlerde Katılımcı Mekanizmalar ve Süreçler, Istanbul: Türkiye Avrupa Vakfı, 2016.
Emine Behiye Karakitapoğlu, Public participation in EIA process of small hydro power plants (HES) in Turkey, University of Uppsala, 2015.
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
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. Transparency and accountability of the board meetings of TRT, the state run audio-visual media, were eliminated by an amendment to the relevant regulation just before the early presidential and parliamentary election in April 2018.

The editors of Turkey’s leading media outlets were summoned to a meeting in January 2018 at which the prime minister gave them 15 “recommendations” on how to cover the military operations in a “patriotic” manner. The current legal framework and practice do not guarantee the exercise of freedom of expression in the media and internet. In March 2018, RTÜK was entitled to license, monitor and suspend Turkish media services operating from abroad. This was considered by OSCE Media Freedom representative a further limitation of media pluralism. Despite several limitations, traditional media brand as well as some digital-born brands operate freely, providing alternative perspectives.

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. 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 sale of the Doğan media outlet to Demirören media group, which has shown a pro-governmental business profile, reshuffled the outlet’s structure. Approximately 70 journalists, including directors, were removed from TV channels, forced to resign, or left because they could not work with the new administration. Journalists and media organizations critical of the government faced threats and physical attacks, fines and closure of TV and radio channels, and restrictions on access to the airwaves. As of October 2018, 145 journalists and media workers had been jailed and hundreds of journalists remained on trial. During the review period, some of the convicted journalists (e.g., Şahin Alpay, Deniz Yücel, Mehmet Altan and Enis Berberoğlu) were released for various reasons.

In 2017, six temporary or permanent broadcasting bans were applied, three instances of accreditation discrimination occurred, 47 passports and one press card were cancelled, and three media outlets were closed. During this period, 10 websites, six newspapers, 97 news reports and articles, eight books, six magazines, three Twitter messages and eight caricatures were censored, while nine censorship cases were noted. During the review period, one Syrian woman and one U.S.-Saudi Arabian journalist were killed in Istanbul, 20 journalists were physically assaulted and five journalists verbally assaulted, one newspaper and one publishing house were attacked, and 12 journalists and five media outlets were threatened.

The Venice Commission reported that the use of state of emergency powers had violated media freedom. The Committee to Protect Journalists joined 18 other international press freedom and freedom of expression organizations in calling on Turkey’s politicians to prioritize press freedom and journalists’ safety, just before the 2018 elections. The ECtHR examined some applications and found that the Turkish authorities had violated journalists’ rights to liberty, security and freedom of expression.

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 2018 Report, Brussels, 17.4.2018, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20180417-turkey- report.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
“CPJ calls on Turkey’s presidential candidates to prioritize press freedom,” https://cpj.org/blog/2018/06/cpj-calls-on-turkeys-presidential-candidates-to-pr.php (accessed 1 November 2018)
Union of Journalist of Turkey, https://tgs.org.tr/2017-yili-basin-ozgurlugu-raporu/ (accessed 1 November 2018)
Reporters Without Borders, Turkey, https://rsf.org/en/turkey (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-authoritarianism (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-report-2018.pdf?x89475 (accessed 1 November 2018)
“4 soruda internete RTÜK denetimi düzenlemesi,” 22 March 2018, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-43494950 (accessed 1 November 2018)
BİA Media Monitoring Report 2017: One Year of Journalists, Media, http://bianet.org/english/politics/194098-bia-media-monitoring-report-2017-one-year-of-journalists-media (accessed 1 November 2018)
Bora Erdem, Avrupa Standartlarına Göre Türkiye’de Basın Özgürlüğü, Istanbul: Cinius Yayınları, 2017.

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
1
Free and independent media is one of the components of non-governmental checks on governmental power. The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index of 2017-2018 ranked Turkey 111th out of 113 countries with a score of 0.30, emphasizing the weakness of governmental accountability, including non-governmental checks on the government’s power, such as a free and independent
press. In addition to increasing restrictions on media freedom in Turkey, 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). On 21 March 2018, the fragility of independent journalism in Turkey was further shaken with the news that Dogan Media Company, one of the country’s leading media groups, had been sold to Demiroren Holding, a pro-government industrial conglomerate. Critics of the government – including media companies, businesspeople and political opponents – argued that this has had a negative effect on the overall business environment. This has sparked concern for media pluralism in Turkey. Most critical private media groups have been turned through opaque or coerced changes in ownership into pro-government trustees by means of the ruling party’s direct and indirect pressure.

Bianet Report found that media ownership lacks transparency and no information is available about the concentration of media ownership. The economic interests of media owners constitute 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. 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. 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.

In 2018, pro-government media outlets (e.g., Sabah and Ahaber, and public broadcaster TRT) polled lowest for public trust among people who were aware of them, whereas more critical media outlets (e.g., FOX, Cumhuriyet and Sözcü) polled highest.

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).
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, https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FOTP_2017_booklet_FINAL_April28.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
BİA Media Monitoring Report 2017: One Year of Journalists, Media, http://bianet.org/english/politics/194098-bia-media-monitoring-report-2017-one-y ear-of-journalists-media (accessed 1 November 2018)
“Turkish Media Group Bought by Pro-Government Conglomerate,” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/world/europe/turkey-media-Erdoğan-dogan.html?referer=https://t.co/ (accessed 1 November 2018)

World Justice Project, 2017-2018 Rule of Law Index, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2018-June-Online-Edition_0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Bianet, Media Ownership Monitor in Turkey, https://turkey.mom-rsf.org/tr/bulgular/gostergeler/#!255aab01a0f9f22f09246334c9edbfe8 (accessed 1 November 2018)
S. Yanatma, Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018 Turkey Supplementary Report, https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2018-11/Digital%20News%20Report%20-%20Turkey%20Supplement%202018%20FINAL.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Bora Erdem, Avrupa Standartlarına Göre Türkiye’de Basın Özgürlüğü, Istanbul: Cinius Yayınları, 2017.
Ceren Sözeri, “Turkey’s Media Revival: Even in hostile conditions ethics and solidarity can work,” Trust in Ethical Journalism (ed. A White and C. Elliot), https://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Trust-in-Ethical -Journalism.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)

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 1.807 million applications for information based on Law 4982 were submitted to public institutions in 2017. According to official information, 80% of requests resulted in the full provision of the requested information, 6.3% resulted in partial information or a negative response, and 6.4% were rejected. Of the rejected applications, 797 were taken to court on appeal. A total of 15,872 applications were found to concern state secrets or private issues, while 101,057 applications were referred to other organizations. 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, which is attached to the presidency, examines administrative decisions rendered under Law No. 4982 (Articles 6 and 17). The board received a total of 2,020 objection applications in 2017. Of the applications, the board rejected 1,534 because the relevant public institutions had provided a proper response to the applicants and nine because there was no need to respond. Of the applications, 101 were accepted, 134 of were partially accepted and 184 procedurally accepted.

In addition to the right to petition (Law 3071), the Prime Minister’s Communication Center (BİMER) has received public complaints, requests, denunciation and opinions since 2006. The center has received more than two million complaints, over one million of which were about public and private sector employees. Following the abolishment of the PMO in July 2018, BİMER was united with CİMER (Presidential Communication Center) on 10 July 2018. Since the beginning of 2018, the centers have received a combined 2.8 million applications, of which 2.4 million were referred to the relevant institutions and responded.

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)
World Justice Project, Open Government Index 2015 Report, http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/ogi_2015.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
TBMM Başkanlığı Basın, Yayın ve Halkla İlişkiler Başkanlığı Bilgi Edinme Hakkının Kullanılması Bakımından 2017 Yılına İlişkin Değerlendirme,
https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/bilgiedinme/2017_raporu_baskanlik_aciklamasi.pdf (accessed 27 October 2018)
Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkanlığı, 2017 Yılı Bilgi Edinme Genel Raporu, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/bilgiedinme/2017_yili_degerlendirme_raporu.pdf (accessed 27 October 2018)
“BİMER’e 12 yılda 12.5 milyon şikayet,” https://www.haberturk.com/bimer-e-12-yilda-125-milyon-sikayet-1863048 (accessed 27 October 2018)
“CİMER istatistikleri açıklandı,” https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/gunun-basliklari/cumhurbaskani-yardimcisi-oktay-on-ayda-cimere-2-milyon-784-bin-220-basvuru-ulasti/1299264, (accessed 27 October 2018)

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.

In the aftermath of the 2016 averted coup attempt, the government declared a state of emergency, which lasted two years and concluded on 18 July 2018. During the state of emergency, serious civil rights violations occurred. Although the government claims it conducted the state of emergency rules with utmost care, these practices are based on executive decrees, which have the force of law and are not subject to judicial review. Even more seriously, some decrees affected policy areas outside the scope of the state of emergency. Impunity during the state of emergency period limited law enforcement’s criminal liability. Another controversial decree, issued in December 2017, removed criminal liability for civilians who actively resisted the attempted coup and any acts in the aftermath of the coup.

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. As of November 2018, a total of 125,000 applications were received, 42,000 of which were concluded by the commission. The commission found only 3,000 complaints appropriate. The applicants of the rejected complaints have the right to appeal to the administrative court against the institution where s/he was employed.

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.

The National Human Rights and Equality Institution (NHREI) and the Ombudsman institution were established to deal with citizens’ complaints including human rights violations. However, they are in the process of being improved in accordance with international standards. Turkey is a signatory to most international human rights conventions, but has not signed some significant optional protocols in this area (e.g., a third optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child).

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. Individual applications must be filed within 30 days after the notification of the final proceeding that exhausts other legal remedies. Since September 2012, the Constitutional Court has accepted individual petitions, if the right to a fair trial has been violated. Between September 2012 and late September 2018, a total of 200,835 individual applications were received by the court. The number of applications was 40,530 in 2017 and has reached 27,356 in the first nine months of 2018. In total, only 2,879 violations of fair trial have ever been accepted by the court. The cost of making an individual application was about €50 in 2018. The European Court of Human Rights dealt with 31,053 (30,063 inadmissible) concerning Turkey in 2017 and 4,129 (4,040 inadmissible) during the first six months of 2018. As of July 2018, there were 8,109 pending applications.

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)
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2018-June-Online-Edition_0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Anayasa Mahkemesi Bireysel Başvuru Kararları, http://www.anayasa.gov.tr/icsayfalar/kararlar/kbb.html (accessed 1 November 2018)
ECtHR, Press Country Profile Turkey,https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/CP_Turkey_ENG.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
T.C. Ministry of Justice (2014), Action Plan on Prevention of ECHR violations, http://www.judiciaryofturkey.gov.tr/pdfler/action.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Olağanüstü Hal İşlemleri İnceleme Komisyonu Kararları Hakkında Duyuru (09.11.2018), https://ohalkomisyonu.tccb.gov.tr/ (accessed 15 November 2018)
“Anayasa Mahkemesi’ne bireysel başvuru 200 bini geçti,” https://www.trthaber.com/haber/gundem/anayasa-mahkemesine-bireysel-basvuru-200-bini-gecti-385942.html (accessed 1 November 2018)

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
2
During the review period, Turkey’s human rights status declined from partly free to not free. The country’s score has been in free fall since 2014 due to restrictions on the press, journalists, social media users, protesters, political parties, the judiciary and the electoral system. Following the 15 July 2016 coup attempt and the 2017 constitutional amendment, control over the state and society has become increasingly centralized and personalized, while domestic and regional security has deteriorated.

The U.N. OHCHR noted that several state of emergency decrees regulated various matters unrelated to the state of emergency powers. For instance, the closure of civil society organizations and medical centers seemed to indicate that the state of emergency was used to limit various legitimate activities. Meanwhile, under state of emergency powers, civil liberties were severely undermined by government interference in the work of the judiciary, the curtailment of parliamentary oversight over the executive branch of government, the mass dismissal of civil servants and private sector employees, the closure of civil society organizations and media outlets, the prosecution of human rights activists, the use of torture during pretrial detention, further restrictions on freedom of expression and movement, and the expropriation of private property.

During the review period, the European Commission stated that, although the legal framework includes general guarantees, human and fundamental rights have been undermined by a number of emergency decrees and need to be effectively implemented. Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and procedural and property rights have been seriously undermined. Severe restrictions were imposed on the activities of journalists, human rights advocates and government critics. Measures adopted under the state of emergency also removed crucial safeguards protecting detainees from abuse, augmenting the risk of impunity for the perpetrators of abuse, in a context where allegations of ill-treatment and torture have increased. The Ombudsman, the National Human Rights and Equality Institution, prosecutors’ offices, criminal courts and parliament’s Human Rights Commission were authorized to investigate reports of abuses perpetrated by the security forces, including killings, torture, mistreatment and excessive use of force. Enforcement of rights is hindered by the fragmentation and limited independence of public institutions responsible for protecting human rights and freedoms, and by the lack of judicial independence.

During the two year state of emergency period, 1,767 associations, foundations, trade unions and federations; 1,107 educational and health institutions; and about 180 media outlets were closed down by decree. A total of 135,856 civil servants were dismissed, only 3,752 civil servants were later reinstated.

Gender-based violence, and discrimination, hate speech, hate crimes and human rights violations against minority groups (e.g., LGBT and intersex persons) are still a matter of serious concern. More than 3.4 million Syrian refugees were provided basic services by the central and local administrations, although a large majority of refugee children lack access to education and few adults are able to obtain formal employment. Local hostility toward Syrians increased in 2017, according to the International Crisis Group, with at least 35 people killed in intercommunal violence.

The constitutional amendment to parliamentary immunities adopted in May 2016 lifted immunity for a large number of deputies, and resulted in the detention and arrest of several HDP members of parliament, including the two party co-chairs in November 2016.

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 94 over the last two years. The Constitutional Court ruled that it is beyond its authority to review state of emergency decrees.

Citations:
TBMM İnsan Hakları İnceleme Komisyonu, 26. Yasama Dönemi II. Devre Faaliyet Raporu 6 Aralık 2017 – 24 Haziran 2018, https://www.tbmm.gov.tr/komisyon/insanhaklari/docs/2018/ihik_faaliyet_raporu_25072018.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East January – December 2017 , March 2018, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/TR/2018-03-19_Second_OHCHR_Turkey_Report.pdfİnsan Hakları (accessed 1 November 2018)
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2018-June -Online-Edition_0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
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 in the World 2018, Turkey Profile https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/turkey (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)
DİSK, OHAL’in İki Yılının ve Başkanlık Rejiminin Çalışma Hayatına Etkileri, 21 July 2018, https://odatv.com/images2/2018_07/2018_07_21/OHAL-Bas%CC%A7kanl%C4%B1k-Rejimi.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Human Rights Joint Platform, Updated Situation Report- State of Emergency in Turkey 21 July 2016 – 20 March, 2018, http://www.ihop.org.tr/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SoE_17042018.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)

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 2017, 6,033 lawsuits involving “insulting” President Erdoğan were opened. Of these lawsuits, the courts passed judgment in 5,150 cases. Of these 5,150 cases, courts convicted 2,099 defendants, acquitted 873 individuals, deferred announcing the verdict in 1,660 cases and suspended judgment in 518 cases.

During the first four months of 2018, 2,265 newspaper columns and articles targeted national, ethnic and religious groups, with 2,370 instances of hate speech identified in these articles.

The principle of non-discrimination is not sufficiently protected by law nor enforced in practice. Turkey did not ratify Protocol 12 of the ECHR, prohibiting 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).

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 which do not have any legal protections are serious problems.

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 (2016 – 2021) and Action Plan (2016 – 2018) for Roma people, but the committee for monitoring and evaluating the strategy only met once in February 2017. There are no strategies or action plans in place on non-discrimination in employment and social policy.

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 over the last decade. There are no strategies or action plans in place on non-discrimination in employment and social policy. The National Human Rights and Equality Institution has been established and its members elected in March 2017. Secondary legislation was passed in November 2017, setting up an individual application mechanism for discrimination complaints. However, the institution has not finalized any of the cases it has started to process.

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)
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2018-June -Online-Edition_0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2018, Turkey Profile https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/turkey (accessed 1 November 2018)
Şiddetten Ölen Kadınlar İçin Anıt Sayaç, http://anitsayac.com/?year=2017/ (accessed 1 November 2018)
Media Watch on Hate Speech Report January-April 2018, https://hrantdink.org/attachments/article/1429/Media-Watch-on-Hate-Speech-January-April-2018.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
“Akdeniz: Erdoğan döneminde 12 bin 305 ‘hakaret’ davası açıldı,” https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2018/08/17/akdeniz-7-yilda-cumhurbaskanina-hakaretten-12-bin-893-dava-acildi/ (accessed 1 November 2018)

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
Simplifying administrative procedures and cutting red tape has been hindered by the absence of a law on general administrative procedures, which would provide citizens and businesses with greater legal certainty.

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 2016 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, over 130,000 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 transition to a presidential institutional model was introduced by a series of decrees (i.e., state of emergency decrees and presidential decrees) rather than through legislation, as is required by the constitution. The restructuring of public administration will take some time and increase uncertainty.

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)
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2018-June -Online-Edition_0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
M.Z: Sobacı et al., “Türkiye’nin Yeni Yönetim Modeli ve Cumhurbaşkanlığı Teşkilatı,” June 2018, https://setav.org/assets/uploads/2018/06/206-t%C3%BCrkiyenin-Yeni-Y%C3%B6netim-Modeli.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)

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
Several articles in the Turkish constitution ensure that the government and public administration act in accordance with legal provisions, and that citizens are protected from 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 2017, the Council of State, which consists of 15 departments and the country’s highest administrative court, reviewed 145,092 cases, while a further 206,185 cases remain pending. The average length of time spent on each case was estimated to be 407.3 days. Since 2015, no data about the number of cases before administrative courts has been available. The High Court of Appeals consists of 23 criminal and 23 civil departments. The criminal departments received 239,063 new criminal appeals. Of these cases, 277,058 were concluded and 342,806 remain pending. The civil departments received 247,384 new civil appeals. Of these cases, 351,530 were concluded and 322,941 remain pending. Despite the increasing number of criminal and administrative judges and prosecutors, independent observers state that judicial performance has been slowing down. The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index ranked Turkey 84 out of 113 countries, with a score of 0.44 for regulatory enforcement.

The Constitutional Court, as the Supreme Court, dealt with a total of 216 cases (annulments and objections) and concluded 176 cases in 2017. The court received 157 annulment cases, although only four out of 15 concluded cases were annulled. The court declined 115 objection cases, with 11 cases were annulled. The court concluded 770 cases related to the right to a fair trial and found a violation of at least one right in 880 cases. The reasoned decisions of the Supreme Court are publicized of late.

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 has 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.

According to Council of Higher Education data, there are 71 law schools in Turkey with 15,741 enrolled students in 2017. At the end of 2017, a total of 106,496 lawyers were registered. Pluralism in the appointment of judges was affected by the closure under the state of emergency of two important associations: the Association of Judges and Prosecutors, and the Judges Union. The largest association, the Association for Judicial Unity, has around 9,145 members and is perceived as being close to the government.

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).
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 2018)
World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2018-June -Online-Edition_0.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
WEF, The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, 2017, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2017-2018/05FullReport/
TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2017-2018, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2017-2018/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2017%E2%80%932018.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
Anayasa Mahkemesi Yıllık Rapor 2017, http://www.anayasa.gov.tr/icsayfalar/yayinlar/yillikraporlar/2017yillikrapor.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
TC Danıştay Başkanlığı 2017 Yılı İdari Faailyet Raporu, https://www.danistay.gov.tr/upload/28_02_2018_faaliyetraporu.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
TC Danıştay Başkanlığı 2017 Yılı Sonuçlanan ve 2018 Yılına Devreden Dosya Sayıları, https://www.danistay.gov.tr/upload/09_04_2018_devreden_guncel.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
TC Yargıtay Başkanlığı 2017Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.yargitay.gov.tr/documents/2017_faaliyet.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
HSK 2017 Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, http://www.hsk.gov.tr/Eklentiler/files/HSK%202017%20YILI%20FAAL%C4%B0YET%20RAPORU.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
YOK, https://istatistik.yok.gov.tr/ (accessed 1 November 2018)
Türkiye’de Avukat Sayıları, http://www.turkiyehukuk.org/turkiyedeki-avukat-sayisi-2017/ (accessed 1 November 2018)

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
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.

Following the July 2016 coup attempt, more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors have been removed. As of August 2018, 12,006 judges and 5,161 prosecutors were employed in the civil and administrative ordinary and higher (Court of Cassation and Council of State) courts. Of these,1,085 judges and 140 prosecutors work in regional civil courts, and 1,237 judges and 336 prosecutors work in administrative courts. A total of 381 judges and prosecutors were reinstated in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, 2,119 judges and 1,464 prosecutors were newly appointed in the civil court system. In administrative jurisdictions, 151 judges and 35 investigating judges were appointed in 2018.

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. Nominees can include 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 re-elected. 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 continue to wield some civilian judicial influence, as two military judges are members of the Constitutional Court. A recent scholarly article stated that the Constitutional Court and judges are politicized, its reviews have an ideological bias, and the judiciary is not independent.

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)
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 National Referendum on 16 April 2017, http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=cdl-ad(2017)005-e (accessed 1 November 2018)
HSK 2017 Yılı Faaliyet Raporu, http://www.hsk.gov.tr/Eklentiler/files/HSK%202017%20YILI%20FAAL%C4%B0YET%20RAPORU.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
08.08.2018 Tarihi İtibariyle Hakim ve Savcılara İlişkin İstatistiki Bilgiler, https://www.hsk.gov.tr/Eklentiler/Dosyalar/5d7f48c3-7f89-4c3d-afc2-03923e3db661.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
“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 2018)
T. Çetin and A. Pişkin, “Judicial Independence under Political Conflict: An Empirical Investigation of Constitutional Review in Turkey,” Researchgate, January 2018.

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
Turkey is a signatory of UNCAC, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and the COE Civil and Criminal Law Conventions, and is a member of GRECO. Law No. 5018 regarding public financial management and control prioritize legality, transparency and predictability in public administration. 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, which was attached to the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey in July 2018, 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.

Corruption remains widespread, and unfair and biased bureaucratic treatment is common. Especially at the local level, corruption remains a systemic problem. Almost two out of five Turks believe local government officials are corrupt. 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 2017 annual accounts of several municipalities. These reports emphasized the lack of improvement to issues such as undue process, corruption in municipal government and shortcomings in municipal public services, all of which have yet to be addressed by 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 (including mayors), President Erdoğan simply removed them from office. Procedures for doing business in Turkey were recently improved, but enforcing a contract in Turkey is more time-consuming than the regional average, and bribes and irregular payments in return for favorable judicial decisions are perceived by companies to be fairly common. The public considers one-third of judges and judicial officers to be corrupt. Companies report very low confidence in the independence of the judiciary and the ability of the legal framework to settle disputes or challenge regulations. The Court of Cassation introduced a draft judicial code of conduct in late 2017. Corruption in the Turkish police is moderately high. Companies indicate that they perceive the police force as not adequately reliable. Impunity of corrupt officials is widespread. Turkey’s land administration made progress in terms of corrupt processes – although most corruption allegations relate to construction projects, for which bids are rigged, permits are illegally awarded, and bribes are paid by developers to government officials. The public procurement legislation was amended 186 times in 16 years.

In late 2017, 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 counterattack, the minister of interior removed the mayor of Ataşehir, a town in Istanbul, from office following allegations of corruption. The chief public prosecutor of Ankara took the decision not to prosecute, before President Erdoğan sued for compensation. In July 2018, the ninth Anadolu Court of Istanbul ruled that Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition party, should pay pecuniary compensation to Erdoğan and others.

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)
Transparency International, Corruption Perception Index 2017, https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017 (accessed 1 November 2018)
Transparency International, Global Corruption Barometer, file:///C:/Users/OMER/Downloads/2016_GCB_ECA_EN.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)
Business Anti Corruption Portal, Turkey Corruption Report, https://www.business-anti-corruption.com/country-profiles/turkey/ (accessed 1 November 2018)
Doing Business Measuring Business Regulations: Turkey, http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/data/exploreeconomies/turkey (accessed 1 November 2018)
The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-index-2017-2018/ (accessed 1 November 2018)
TC Yargıtay Başkanlığı, Yargıtay Yargı Etiği İlkeleri Taslağına İlişkin Görüşlerin Değerlendirilmesi ve Birleşmiş Milletler Yargı Etiği Standartları İle Karşılaştırılması, October 2017, https://www.yargitay.gov.tr/documents/EtikDegerlendirmeKarsilastirma.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
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 2018, an administrative measure is in place for this site by a court decision as of 14 November 2018)
GRECO, Third Evaluation Round Fourth Interim Compliance Report on Turkey ”Incriminations (ETS 173 and 191, GPC 2)” ”Transparency of Party Funding 4-8 December 2017,” https://rm.coe.int/third-evaluation-round-fourth-interim-compliance-report-on-turkey-incr/1680792e28 (1 November 2018)
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)
“The new scandal in Isle of Man’s documents: The court, unable to say ‘fake’, decided ‘no evidence’,” http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1032616/Man_Adasi_belgelerinde_yeni_skandal___Sahte__diyemeyen_mahkeme__delil_olmaz__karari_verdi.html (accessed 1 November 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)
“Kamu İhale Yasası 16 yılda 186 kez değişti, yasaya göre mi ihale, ihaleye göre mi yasa!” http://t24.com.tr/haber/kamu-ihale-yasasi-16-yilda-186-kez-degisti-yasaya-gore-mi-ihale-ihaleye-gore-mi-yasa,638392 (accessed 1 November 2018)
“Mehmet Hakan Atilla ve Reza Zarrab davası: 32 ay hapis cezası verildi,” https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-42096305 (accessed 1 November 2018)
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