Turkey is de facto dictatorship, says German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung

The German Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation stated in a recent publication that Turkey can no longer be classified as a democracy and described it as a de facto dictatorship.

The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) found that the quality of democracy, market economy and governance has dropped to its lowest for the sixth time in a row. Of the 137 countries examined, the BTI classified 74 as democracies and 63 as autocracies. Turkey is among the autocracies.

BTI has analyzed and evaluated the quality of democracy, market economy and governance in the currently 137 developing and transition countries every two years since 2004.

Turkey scored 4.92 in terms of political transformation and ranked 77th among the 137 countries with a qualification of moderate autocracy.

With respect to economic transformation Turkey fared slightly better, with a score of 6.11, and was ranked 50th. Yet that transformation remained limited, BTI found.

In the governance index Turkey demonstrated a weak performance, with a score of 4.05, putting it in 95th place among the 137 countries. With these figures Turkey scored an average 5.51 on a scale of 1 to 10 and was ranked 62nd among the surveyed countries.

“Following the victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in snap presidential elections in June 2018, a new era has begun in Turkish politics. The parliamentary system has been replaced by a new presidential system characterized by an excessively powerful president. This de facto dictatorship has implications for Turkish democracy and foreign policy. First, the new regime has accelerated Turkey’s authoritarian drift. Fundamental freedoms, rule of law and civil liberties have now been eroded, and Turkey can no longer be classified as a democracy. Shrinking space for dissident voices, and increasingly repressive government policies have led to a deeper polarization of Turkish society, which was already divided along ethnic, religious and ideological lines,” BTI said.

Democracy and the rule of law eroding

“The quality of democracy, market economy and governance in developing and transformation countries has fallen continuously over the past decade and has reached a new low. The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) shows that democratic regression, rampant corruption and deepening polarization are interlinked and mutually reinforcing each other in many of the 137 states surveyed,” according to BTI.

“Regimes newly classified as autocracies in the last four years, such as Bangladesh, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Turkey and Uganda have been through a protracted process of dismantling democracy, while other highly defective democracies such as Moldova, the Philippines or Zambia are on the threshold of becoming autocracies. The driving force behind this continuous erosion of the quality of democracy is regression in the key areas of participation and the rule of law.”

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