Report emphasizes Erdoğan’s impact on decline of democracy in Turkey
ISTANBULThe state of freedom in 2014 worsened significantly in many parts of the world, U.S. think-tank Freedom House’s annual report has said, emphasizing the impact President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has had on the decline of democracy in Turkey.
“Turkey drifted much further from democratic norms, with longtime prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rising to the presidency and overseeing government attempts to quash corruption cases against his allies and associates. The media and judiciary both faced greater interference by the executive and legislative branches, including a series of raids and arrests targeting media outlets affiliated with Erdoğan’s political enemies,” the report said.
Turkey is counted among the countries which moved back in terms of democracy in 2014, despite being economically powerful or regionally influential, along with Azerbaijan, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela.
“In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consolidated power during the year and waged an increasingly aggressive campaign against democratic pluralism,” the report said. “He openly demanded that media owners censor coverage or fire critical journalists, told the Constitutional Court he does not respect its rulings, threatened reporters [and rebuked women journalists], and ordered radical, even bizarre changes to the school curriculum.”
“Having risen from the premiership to the presidency in August, he formed a ‘shadow cabinet’ that allows him to run the country from the presidential palace, circumventing constitutional rules and the ministries of his own party’s government,” the report said.
The annual study evaluated the state of freedom in 195 countries and 15 territories, determining that 61 countries became less free in 2014, while just 31 saw freedoms improve. Turkey has been cited among the “partly free” countries in this year’s report on the condition of global political rights and civil liberties.
Turkey was relegated from the league of “partly free” countries to the league of “not free” countries in the 2014 Freedom of Press Report released last May.