Turkish snitching culture spreading as courts see surge in complaints – report

Turkish prosecutors received 176,380 whistleblower complaints and warnings from citizens in 2019, according to a report compiled by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairwoman Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi.

When including open case files from previous years, the number of such complaints rose to 207,408 in 2019, the year following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s re-election with full executive presidential powers on June 24, 2018. That was almost triple the total of 89,817 cases in 2018, Cumhuriyet newspaper said on Monday, citing the report.

“A culture of snitching has become widespread with the transition to the presidential system,” Akkuş İlgezdi told Cumhuriyet. “This widespread snitching has brought about rights violations that cannot be compensated, destroyed trust in the judicial system and ruined futures.”

Out of the total complaints, prosecutors accepted 167,293, but only investigated 14 percent of them, Akkuş İlgezdi said.

The rise in the number of such legal filings has paralleled the acceleration of authoritarianism and discriminatory policies in Turkey, Akkuş İlgezdi told the newspaper. There has also been an explosion of unsubstantiated complaints since a failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, she said.

The presidential system saw Turkey abandon its former parliamentary system of government in which the president was a mostly symbolic figure, in favour of the current model which focuses most political authority in the president.