Turkey hits bottom in democracy index

Turkey lags far behind in access to justice, enjoyment of civil liberties, as well as social rights and equality, according to a report by the International Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

"There are only two democracies in the world with low levels of Fundamental Rights: Haiti and Turkey," the report said. IDEA also labelled Turkey as "very weak-performing democracies", the only country identified as such within Europe.

"In 2018, 62 per cent of the 97 democracies in the world had mid-range performance on Checks on Government, and 37 per cent had high performance. Only one country, Turkey, had low performance on this attribute," IDEA report said.

Turkey also has been failing to hold legitimate elections with irregularities, delays, cancellations and reruns in the electoral process, according to the report.

In the aftermath of a coup attempt that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government survived in July 2016, the EU halted the accession process, citing serious concerns about Turkey’s human rights and rule of law.

Thousands of public officials, soldiers, journalists and legal professionals were purged or arrested during a two-year state of emergency that followed the coup attempt.

The AKP said these were a necessary measure to weed out supporters of the Gülen religious movement it says orchestrated the coup attempt. However, critics have said Erdoğan’s government used the emergency powers to quash dissent and cow political opposition.