On 26 February 2015 TESEV Good Governance Program presented the Corruption Assessment Report Turkey which has been produced as a part of the SELDI (Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity) initiative.
The round-table started off with the presentation of the main findings of the survey conducted in Turkey between February 28th and March 11th, 2014. The most important research results are: 44% of the respondents believe that corruption is the most problem to tackle; 71% take media information as the basis for their views on corruption; 9% declared that they gave a bribe to a public official in the past year; 82% consider the overall environment as corrupt and 47% believe that corruption in Turkey can be eradicated or substantially reduced.
The second section of the presentation was dedicated to summarizing the current legal setting, effects of corruption on the economy, corruption in the judicial system and the role of civil society in anti-corruption initiatives. The presentation of the report was followed by the discussion session with the attendance of the experts on corruption and anti-corruption issues in Turkey.
Prime Minister’s Chief Inspector Bülent Tarhan emphasized that the impunities of public officials is a major obstacle to anti-corruption policy making and more civil society attention should be dedicated to this topic. Mr. Tarhan also suggested that more attention should be paid to the reasons of corruption instead of the results of corruption.
TEPAV Director of the Governance Studies Emin Dedeoğlu shared his insights on the B20 and G20 Anti -Corruption Task Forces’ agenda on anti-corruption policies drawing attention to Turkey’s leadership in the G20 during 2015. He suggested that corruption in Turkey should be evaluated not in a conventional manner but based on the changing dynamics of the business sector and economy.
TESEV Good Governance Program Advisor Fikret Toksöz emphasized the importance of prioritizing the transparency issues in the judicial system and public procurement records. He stated that Turkish society shows high resistance and intolerance to corruption as the number of complaints to the local municipalities reached highest levels in the recent years. Mr. Toksöz argued that the centralization of the government spending paved the way for corrupt practices in the administration body.
Marmara University Head of Department of Public Administration Ömer Faruk Gençkaya, draw attention to the role of civil society in providing the European Commission and the other international bodies with the reliable data on corruption issues in Turkey. In this context, Dr. Gençkaya highlighted the fact that corruption in Turkey cannot be properly measured unless the private sector is taken into account. He further emphasized the importance of developing an anti-corruption agenda which takes into account the demands that come from below and focuses on the formation of the ‘national integrity system’.
The participants agreed on the fact that the involvement in bribery level in Turkey seems low in comparison to other Southeast European countries because the survey was unable to capture the briery done in the private sector and the lack of autonomy of the Ombudsman and judiciary impair citizens’ belief that corruption can be substantially reduced or eradicated.