Turkey 109th out of 126 countries on Rule of Law Index

Turkey has come 109th out of 126 countries ranked in the 2018-2019 Rule of Law Index, a measure of how the rule of law is perceived in countries around the world by the influential non-profit civil society organisation World Justice Project.

Although Turkey’s position is eight places lower than last year, its overall position on the index has risen two places since last year, as 13 new countries have been added to the rankings.

“Featuring current, original data, the WJP Rule of Law Index measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice,” the project says on its report.

The main reasons for Turkey’s low position on the index were listed as constraints on government powers, a category in which Turkey came 123rd out of 126 countries, and fundamental rights, in which it was ranked in 122nd place.


Rule of law index
From the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index


A severe lack of independent auditing and judicial checks contributed significantly to the lack of constraints on government powers, while Turkey also showed a particularly poor record on freedom of expression and religion in the fundamental rights category.

Turkey also ranked poorly in regulatory enforcement in 106th place. Its most positive ranking came in absence of corruption, in which it took 57th place. Order and security in Turkey was ranked low at 96th place, but the index noted an upward trend in this area.

Turkey’s ranking according to these measures places it the lowest of the 13 countries measured in the Eastern Europe and Central Asian region, and 37th out of 38 upper-middle income countries.

The data presented this year shows similar results to last year’s index, indicating deep and prolonged problems with Turkey’s rule of law under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

The AKP tightened its grip over the country in a two-year state of emergency implemented shortly after the July 2016 coup attempt, instigating a series of purges that saw thousands of officials in the judiciary and other state bodies dismissed.

The state of emergency ended last July, but observers have expressed concern that the increased powers it granted the AKP government have been made permanent under the new executive presidential system implemented after last year’s parliamentary and presidential elections.

A declaration by 10 international legal associations in January said the state of emergency had increased the government’s control over the judiciary and “permanently (curtailed) the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession in Turkey.”

The top performers on this year's index were Denmark, Norway and Finland, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia, and Venezuela ranked lowest.

The World Justice Project noted an overall downward trend in the rule of law this year.