Freedom House: Turkey posts second worst decline in freedoms in a decade

Turkey has shared the second most dramatic decline in freedoms in the last decade with African nation Gambia, according to new ranking by Freedom House that was published today in its “Freedom in the World 2017” report.

Turkey received a minus 28 score point in aggregate data of the last ten years along with Gambia, following Central African Republic (CAR) that received the most drop with minus 30 point.

“Turkey received a downward trend arrow due to the security and political repercussions of the July coup attempt, which led to mass arrests and firings of civil servants and other perceived enemies”, the Freedom House said.

It also underlined that “the record in places like Venezuela and Turkey suggests that elected populists who initially limit their authoritarian impulses can graduate to political purges and prosecutions, the militarization of government, sweeping controls on journalism, and politicized wrecking of the economy.”

     

Turkey received 38 points in total out of 100 with zero being the worst in the rankings, placing Turkey into ‘partly free’ category.

On press freedom and internet freedom rankings, Freedom House listed Turkey under ‘not free’ category.

The report cited over 150,000 soldiers, judges, police, civil servants, academics, and teachers were detained by authorities or dismissed from their jobs for alleged loyalties to US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, Kurdish militants, or other antigovernment forces in the aftermath of failed coup of July 15, 2016.

“Hundreds of media outlets and thousands of civic organizations—some of which were Kurdish-oriented or simply critical of the government—were also closed. The state of emergency was extended through year’s end in October, raising serious concerns about accountability, civil liberties, and the rule of law”, it added.

Freedom House recalled that “even prior to the coup, freedom for media and free expression had declined. In March, the government took over Zaman, a leading daily newspaper that was supportive of Gülen. Social media users and others continued to be charged with insulting state leaders. Academics who signed a petition calling for peace talks with Kurdish militants in January were accused by Erdoğan of being “treasonous,” and dozens of the signatories faced criminal investigations and dismissal from their positions over the course of the year.”

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