Turkey falling on rule of law index

The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary NGO working to advance the rule of law around the world.

The Washington-based organization has a rule of law index that is becoming more well-known. According to the NGO, there are four pillars that define the rule of law in a state: the government, including all its officials and agents, as well as individuals and private entities, must be accountable according to the law; laws are clear, publicized and just, protect fundamental rights and are applied evenly; all processes must be accessible, fair and efficient; and justice must be delivered timely by competent, ethical, independent and impartial representatives who are sufficient in number and have adequate sources.
These pillars are now internationally recognized and the WJP has built up nine factors to measure the rule of law in a country: constraints on government powers, the absence of corruption, an open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, criminal justice and informal justice.
Turkey is ranked 80th out of 102 countries measured. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, our country is placed 12th out of 13, coming in better than only Uzbekistan, according to the index. Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia are the first three countries in the region that the index shows as having a great difference with Turkey. I do not want to mention the difference between EU countries and Turkey, as the only word in our hands will be “frustration.”
There is a decreasing trend in three factors regarding Turkey: constraints on government powers, the absence of corruption and fundamental rights. I pay greater attention to the last one, as Turkey is at the bottom of the list, ranking 96th out of 102. The worst grade is seen on the criminal justice factor, as the “no improper government influence” sub-factor received a score of 0.14, one of the worst scores across the world.
Even in Egypt, which had a coup d’état in 2013 and is ranked 86th on the rule of law index, the “no improper government influence in criminal justice matters” score, 0.46, is more than triple that of Turkey. This situation shows that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu are performing worse than the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt on criminal justice matters by putting extreme pressure on the judiciary. You may hear Erdoğan criticize Sisi every day but the index shows there are no limits to his powers over the judiciary, the opposite of Sisi.
In my opinion, it is not surprising to see that our judicial system is currently worse than a pro-coup mindset’s, but to see Turkey becoming a member of the least developed countries group because of weak rule of law is a real disappointment.
The late former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.” As we have forgotten in Turkey what the rule of law means, we hope a new government that abides by the rule of law and the Constitution can help us recall this basic principle again after the June 7 election.
Source: Today’s Zaman