Turkey ranked 137th in terms of constraints on government powers and 133rd in fundamental rights. It came last in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia group, ranking worse than Russia, in the overall index score, fundamental rights and civil justice. In the global ranking, Turkey came after Angola and Mexico and above Guinea and Honduras.
Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Germany were among the top scorers in the index, while Haiti, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia and Venezuela were placed at the bottom.
The WJP Rule of Law Index 2023 presents a portrait of the rule of law in 142 countries and jurisdictions by providing scores and rankings based on eight factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice and Criminal Justice.
The data is collected through general population polls conducted with a representative sample of 1,000 respondents in each country and “Qualified Respondents’ Questionnaires” consisting of closed-ended questions completed by in-country legal practitioners, experts and academics with expertise in civil and commercial law, criminal justice, labor law and public health.
The report comes at a time when the Turkish judiciary has been shaken by allegations of corruption and bribery.
İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar recently sent a letter to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) exposing widespread corruption in Turkey’s judicial system.
In the Oct. 6 letter, Uçar detailed allegations of bribery, nepotism and other irregularities in the judicial system. The letter also included accusations against Bekir Altun, president of the İstanbul Judicial Commission.
He alleged that decisions were made by İstanbul’s criminal courts of peace at the Anadolu Courthouse to block access to internet content and to release suspects in exchange for money.
Turkish Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç announced earlier this month that the HSK had initiated an investigation into the allegations of Uçar.
The Turkish judiciary faces widespread criticism for its perceived lack of independence. Critics accuse Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of exerting control over the judiciary.
Erdoğan is accused of establishing one-man rule in the country, particularly after a coup attempt in 2016, following which he launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens and the country’s subsequent transition to a presidential system of governance, which granted him vast powers.
Many say there is no longer a separation of powers in the country and that members of the judiciary are under the absolute control of the government and cannot make judgments based on law.