Comparing Turkey with China on rule of law

Comparing Turkey with China on rule of law

I have read in the news that the government is going to again make substantial changes to the Council of State and the Court of Accounts...

If this news is right, this will mark the third time in the course of the last 2.5 years that there will be interference in the cadres of the Council of State and the Court of Accounts.

Wouldn’t this lead to a total loss of trust in the judiciary institution?

If there is not enough trust in the judiciary, can there be enough stability, investment and economic growth in the country?

How much respect can such a country draw? I am hoping that news to be wrong. 

I’d like to draw your attention to our place in the listing of countries with the rule of law.

Turkey’s place in the world

The World Justice Project is a study done according to certain criteria like the level of constrains over governmental power, fundamental rights, civilian justice, freedom of expression, order and security. There are subcategories to those criteria. In the 2015 listing China and Tunisia ranked higher than Turkey.

Let’s take a closer look.

One of the criteria is the degree government powers are effectively limited by the judiciary. Tunisia’s score was 0.59, which is not bad. But while China’s score was 0.46, Turkey scored 0.40.

We should remind that in Tunisia the Islamists and the secularists penned a constitution by reaching a consensus. The behavior based on contention comes from the Middle East, not from religion. The moderate score of Tunisia, which is a young democracy, shows that liberal values and institutions like the separation of powers and independence of the judiciary are possible in a Muslim society; religion is not on obstacle.

It is striking that the degree government powers are effectively limited by the judiciary is relatively better in communist China, which is an open dictatorship unlike Turkey ruled by democracy.

China is not better than Turkey on other criteria. When it comes to non-governmental checks governmental powers subjected to, China’s score was as low as 0.12. That score was 0.33 for Turkey.

China scored 0.13 on freedom of expression; Turkey, 0.33.

It is obvious why Turkey is doing better than China on non-governmental checks; despite problems, there is a critical press, independent NGOs and opposition in Turkey.

If it was a ranking on democracy, Turkey would have ranked far ahead of China. This ranking is about the rule of law.

I am for instance curious about a comparison on the procurement laws in Turkey and China. To what degree are they open to abuse? I do not have input on that. But there is some input about to what degree the judiciary is independent in that same study.

China’s score on effective investigation, a concept introduced to universal law by the European Court of Human Rights, was 0.56 while that of Turkey was 0.42. Access to justice was 0.57 in China, while it was 0.47 in Turkey.

The absence of discrimination in criminal justice is 0.36 in China and 0.23 in Turkey. 

Dear judges and prosecutors, do you see the picture?

China scored 0.48 and ranked 71st in the world.

Our score was 0.46 and we ranked 80th in the world.

These results did not surprise me. I have written many times beginning several years ago that China started reforms in 2006 to render the judiciary independent and sent law students to the United States in order to develop the economy and attract capital.

It is wrong to play around with the judiciary. It does not matter whether the ones who play with it are from the brotherhood or the government, or some other power.

Just as the ones who are playing with the judiciary, those members of the judiciary who bow down are also responsible. Law is above politics; we need to internalize this fact in order to have a proper life in this geography.