2008 Turkey FOI Report published

BilgiEdinmeHakki.Org Press Release: 08.05.2008

A report prepared by Dr. Yaman Akdeniz entitled Freedom of Information in Turkey: A Critical Assessment of the Implementation and Application of the Right to Information Act 2003 is made available by BilgiEdinmeHakki.Org, a Turkish pressure group on 08 May, 2008.

The report incorporates data and research gathered between 2004-2008, and provides a detailed analysis of the implementation and application of the Right to Information Act in Turkey. High numbers of right to information applications between 2004-2006 (1,886,962 in total) suggest wider awareness of the existence of the law and the availability of a right to information and access to official documents in Turkey.

The report includes an assessment of the work of the Turkish Right to Information Review Council (BEDK) between June 2004 and March 2008 as well as the assessment of the implementation of the law by central and local government agencies. The report further assesses whether the enactment of a freedom of information law in Turkey helped to achieve an open and transparent regulatory process and whether the new law promotes openness and good practice within government institutions in terms of provision of information.

The report highlights both positive and negative observations with regards to the application and implementation of the Right to Information Act and provides a set of recommendations for improvement of the application of the Right to Information Act in Turkey.

The author of the report, Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, stated that “Although the enactment of the Right to Information Act is a very important step towards openness, transparency, and democratisation in Turkey, the report has identified several problems with the application of the law. As the report will show despite Right to Information Review Council decisions and administrative court orders, there is still resistance to give information, and a high number of public authorities are disputing Council decisions, either by ignoring them, or by appealing to administrative courts to challenge such decisions. Therefore, there needs to be significant improvements to the current system to break down the culture of secrecy and resistance to provide information.”

The report is available at http://www.bilgiedinmehakki.org/doc/Turkey_FOI_2008_Report.pdf
For further information see the Turkish Right to Information Blog: http://foia.bilgiedinmehakki.info
Dr. Yaman Akdeniz can be contacted at akdeniz@bilgiedinmehakki.org

Dr. Yaman Akdeniz is a senior lecturer in law at the School of Law, University of Leeds, United Kingdom. Dr. Akdeniz has been following the enactment of the Turkish Right to Information Act 2003 which came into force on 24 April, 2004 since its inception. He has been a freedom of information activist since 1998 and is also the co-founder of the BilgiEdinmeHakki.Org pressure group which monitors the implementation and application of the Turkish law since 2003.

BilgiEdinmeHakki.Org (www.bilgiedinmehakki.org) has been set up as a pressure group on 09 October, 2003, the day the Turkish Government enacted the Right to Information Act 2003 (No: 4982) to ensure that the Act is effectively used by the Turkish citizens and a greater degree of openness and transparency is established in Turkey as part of its democratization. Bilgi Edinme Hakki stands for Right to Information in Turkish, and the name of the organisation is based upon the Turkish Act.