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RIGHTS >Turkey faces largest decline in freedoms in 2016: Report

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Turkey suffered the largest decline in freedoms among 195 countries over the past year, an annual report published by the Washington-based Freedom House showed on Jan. 31.

The organization’s annual “Freedom in the World” report titled “Populists and Autocrats: The Dual Threat to Global Democracy” showed that Turkey’s aggregate score declined 15 points to 38 out of 100 (being the most free) from 53 in the 2016 report, while maintaining its “partly free” status in its record of freedoms together with 59 other countries.

“Turkey’s political rights rating declined from 3 to 4, its civil liberties rating declined from 4 to 5, and it received a downward trend arrow due to the security and political repercussions of an attempted coup in July, which led the government to declare a state of emergency and carry out mass arrests and firings of civil servants, academics, journalists, opposition figures, and other perceived enemies,” the report said, while also noting a series of terror attacks carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over the past year, the arrest of Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies on terror charges, and the constitutional amendments seeking to shift Turkey’s current parliamentary system to an executive presidential system.

The report also noted that Turkey recorded the second largest decline in freedoms by 28 points over the past 10 years, following the Central African Republic.

The report also revealed that 2016 marked the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom with setbacks in political rights, civil liberties, or both, in a number of countries rated “Free,” including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Tunisia, and the United States.

According to the report, of the 195 countries assessed, 87 (45 percent) were rated “Free,” 59 (30 percent) “Partly Free,” and 49 (25 percent) “Not Free.”

The Middle East and North Africa region had the worst ratings in the world in 2016, followed closely by Eurasia.

February/01/2017

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