Most Turks are dissatisfied with the level of democracy in their country: survey

Pedestrians walk through Istiklal street in Istanbul, adorned all along with Turkish national flags on November 14, 2022 one day after a bomb killed six people in the busy central shopping street of the Turkish capital. - Turkey's interior minister accused the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on November 14, of responsibility for a bombing in a busy Istanbul street that killed six people and wounded scores, saying more than 20 people have been arrested. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)

Turkey is ranked 47th among 53 nations where people’s dissatisfaction with the level of democracy in their countries is the highest, Turkish Minute reported, citing the results of the Democracy Perception Index (DPI) 2024.

The DPI is the world’s largest annual study on how people perceive democracy, conducted by Latana in collaboration with the Alliance of Democracies. Results are based on nationally representative interviews with over 62,953 respondents from 53 countries that represent over 75 percent of the world’s population, conducted between February 20 and April 15, 2024.

More than 65 percent of the Turks are dissatisfied with the level of democracy in their country, while only around 25 percent think there is the right amount and around 10 percent say there is too much democracy.

Across the 53 countries surveyed, 40 percent of people say there is “not enough democracy” in their country, while 46 percent say there is the “right amount” and only 13 percent say there is “too much.”

Turkey is followed by Iran, Indonesia, Hungary, Greece, Peru and Venezuela, where people’s dissatisfaction with the level of democracy in their country is the highest.

At the top of the list are South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Switzerland, where people’s satisfaction with the level of democracy in their countries is the highest.

To capture public dissatisfaction with the state of democracy, the DPI also measured the difference between how important people say democracy is and how democratic they think their country is. This difference is called the perceived democratic deficit. The larger the deficit, the more the governments are failing to live up to the democratic expectations of their citizens.

The perceived democratic deficit in Turkey is 44 while countries such as Israel and Switzerland have the lowest deficit, standing at 11.

Many complain about a democratic backsliding in Turkey particularly after the country switched to a presidential system of governance through a referendum in 2017 which granted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vast powers and weakened the parliament.

Moreover, a massive purge of non-loyalist citizens following a coup attempt in July 2016 under the pretext of an anti-coup fight has led to gross human rights violations as documented by prominent rights organizations.

Eight-five percent of the people surveyed across 53 countries believe that democracy is important, the highest level measured so far. Last year it was 84 percent, and the year the survey was launched, 2019, it was 79 percent. The figure varies between countries, from 94 percent in Greece to 63 percent in Iran. Thus, democracy clearly has majority support in all surveyed countries.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, former NATO chief and Danish prime minister, said about the survey results that around the world people want to live under democracy but the figures in the survey are a wake-up call for all democratic governments. “Defending democracy means advancing freedom around the world, but it also means listening to voters’ concerns at home,” Rasmussen said.

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