Turkey is among 17 countries that have lost the struggle for democracy in the last decade, Deutsche Welle reported, citing a research study conducted by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
The research study shows a severe regression in democracies and an ongoing shift to autocratic regimes worldwide, with 12 countries on their way to losing all hope for a democratic system.
While some authoritarian tendencies can be observed even in the most deeply-rooted democratic regimes, repression in those already undemocratic have become emboldened with new restrictions on rights and freedoms, it said.
Though many countries in the world can be considered more democratic compared to a century ago, globally the progress towards democracy somehow stopped at the start of the millennium, it added.
According to the V-Dem study, 81 countries have experienced democratic corrosion since 1900. Some 50 of those cases happened after the year 2000 and in 75% of those, crises opened the way to transition to authoritarian regimes.
The researchers have categorised various countries under four groups: Closed authoritarian regimes with no elections, authoritarian regimes without free and fair elections, countries that hold free and fair elections but with severe shortcomings with respect to certain rights, and democracies with appropriate checks and balances systems.
Turkey, along with Venezuela, is categorised as a country where elections are not free and fair.
Moreover, the most abrupt shifts to authoritarian regimes took place in countries which gained illiberal leaders through elections, like Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
According to the 2022 report of Human Rights Watch, Erdoğan’s highly centralised presidential government “has set back Turkey’s human rights record by decades, targeting perceived government critics and political opponents, profoundly undermining the independence of the judiciary, and hollowing out democratic institutions.”
Many researchers use the term “competitive authoritarianism” to describe the current situation in Turkey. The term refers to hybrid political regimes that combine democratic rules with an authoritarian style of governance.
Meanwhile, the researchers use the Electoral Democracy Index to asses the resistance capability of democratic regimes against authoritarian tendencies. While some countries like Finland and Canada have early onset resistance capacity to protect their democracies, in some others like Ecuador and South Korea democratic regimes could be saved only after those countries faced the risk of total collapse of the system, the Index shows.