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Freedom Status: Free Aggregate Score: 81 (0 = Least Free, 100 = Most Free)Freedom Rating: 2.0 (1 = Most Free, 7 = Least Free)Political Rights: 2 (1 = Most Free, 7 = Least Free)Civil Liberties: 2 (1 = Most Free, 7 = Least Free) OVERVIEW The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is a self-declared state recognized only by Turkey.It has a democratic, multiparty political system, and civil liberties are generally upheld.However, women's political participation is limited in practice, particularly in leadership positions, and just four women won seats in the legislature in the last elections. FUNCTIONING OF GOVERNMENT: 7 / 12 (-2) While elected officials generally develop and implement policies and legislation without direct interference from Ankara, the TRNC remains diplomatically and financially dependent on Turkey – which also maintains a military presence – and this dependence affects policymaking.In recent years Ankara has pushed for austerity and privatization measures that opponents said would shift control over key assets from the TRNC government to Turkish companies that are close to the Turkish state.
The government's Religious Affairs Department staffs Sunni mosques with imams. While large numbers of teachers and professors have been fired or jailed for political reasons in Turkey since 2016, no similar purges had occurred in the TRNC as of late 2017.A dispute over such changes contributed to the breakup of the CTP-UBP coalition government in 2016.Corruption, cronyism in the distribution of civil service jobs, and nepotism are serious impediments to good governance, and the media have exposed a number of scandals in recent years.Although there is a law providing for access to information, there has been very little progress in making government records available to the public in practice.Information is not always kept in an accessible form, and officials reportedly withhold data on sensitive topics such as naturalization of Turkish settlers as TRNC citizens.
Opposition parties maintained a strong presence in the legislature as of 2017. Are the people's political choices free from domination by the military, foreign powers, religious hierarchies, economic oligarchies, or any other powerful group that is not democratically accountable?