Turkey's progress toward democratic reform has been impressive over the last decade, but stalled from 2006-2007 because of increased political polarization, according to a new report from Freedom House. Turkey in Transit: Democratization in Turkey is the first time that Freedom House applied the rigorous methodology it uses for its annual Nations in Transit report to Turkey. It comes at a critical time in Turkey's political development and in its efforts to join the European Union.
Freedom of expression, especially when it involves criticism of public and political actors, needs to be further safeguarded and respected. Beyond the passing of key reform legislations and the creation of new institutions, more attention and resources must be committed to their implementation and to ensuring that they function as envisioned. Further strengthening of the public administration sector is also necessary; as it is not yet able to deal proficiently with the needs of the large, changing, and diverse population – the state’s capacity as an efficient and neutral provider of public services needs to increase. Strengthening the ability of the state apparatus to empower and invest in ‘the individual’ will serve as a safeguard, reducing the appeal of controversial informal structures.