Turkish institutions weak due to executive’s omnipotence: Transparency
ISTANBULMany Turkish institutions cannot operate with transparency and a participatory approach to governance because of the long shadow cast by the executive, according to a new report by Transparency International Turkey after an in-depth analysis of 15 institutions.
“Political power in Turkey has largely focused on the executive power so as to make other institutions ineffective. One of the biggest reasons behind why the main institutions take such low scores has been some obstacles before the independence of these institutions,” said Transparency International Turkey Chair E. Oya Özarslan.
The authority of the government over other institutions, especially due to moves to politicize the judicial system, along with a number of bans and limitations to the freedom of the media, have eroded the checks and balances on the political authority, according to the report, which was released April 7.
The report, which was prepared with the support of the European Union and the Open Society Foundation, is the product of detailed research that was conducted to measure the adaptation levels of countries to good governance principles and their competence in the fight against corruption.
The research focuses on an evaluation of the key public institutions and non-state actors in a country’s governance system with regard to their overall capacity, their internal governance systems and procedures, and their role in the overall integrity system. These institutions are the legislative, the executive, the judiciary, the public sector, law enforcement agencies, electoral management bodies, the ombudsman, the supreme audit institution, anti-corruption agencies, political parties, the media, civil society and business.
Weakest links in transparency system
The assessment showed that weakness was a fundamental problem that affected the entire system. None of the 15 institutions was able to score above the robustness threshold. While only five of the 15 institutions were seen as effective at the middle level, the remaining 10 institutions were designated as weak.
The executive and media institutions were the weakest in the transparency system of Turkey, according to the report. The pressures exerted by the executive power over all other institutions and the system in general have made a transparent system impossible, the report noted.
The accumulation of power in the executive actors has been weakening the active participation of civil bodies, including businesses, media outlets and civil society actors, to any policies to fight against corruption, it added.
Some key elements of a strong democracy, including the freedom of information, the freedom of association and the freedom of expression, have been overshadowed by the omnipresent influence of the executive power, the report said.