Sweden, Moldova and us
The entire world is talking about the corruption claims that spread all the way to Tayyip Erdoğan. News, commentary, caricatures and even official warnings against the wish to cover up the corruption claims are all in abundance.
And meanwhile, there are surveys conducted on voter behavior in the face of corruption. One of them is the research done by Transparency International. This research takes three countries as samples: Sweden, Moldova and us because we are the most current.
Moldova and Sweden are two countries at two extremes. The Swedish voter never forgives corruption; they have no mercy on the politician involved in corruption. Sweden is one of those countries among 177 where corruption is seen the least.
Moldova is just the opposite; it is leading among those countries where corruption is experienced the most. But, the voter takes a different stance depending on the person involved in corruption. If the economy is going well, the voter in Moldova may close an eye to corruption, can act indifferently.
However, when the economy is bad and the voter’s situation is bad, then the voter does not hesitate to punish the corrupted at the ballot box. In countries like Moldova, the main factor in preferences is the economic situation.
What about us?
In those countries where democracy runs properly, any politician whose name is involved in corruption answers to the voter. Or the voter calls them to account. Because the politician uses power on behalf of the voter (the citizen), and spends the voter’s money.
According to Transparency International, until Dec. 17, Turkey was in 55th place among 177 countries. There is no new listing after Dec. 17 but there is a survey of the same association about “the behavior of the Turkish voter in the face of corruption claims.”
The reflex of the voter in Turkey is no different than in Moldova. If the economic situation of people is good, corruption and so on is without effect; the voter goes their own way; if the economic situation is going downhill, then punishment at the ballot box is inevitable.
According to both that survey and the latest economic data, the economy is not bright. 1- Inflation is going up; incomes are not increasing at the rate of inflation; welfare is going back. 2- Hot money is no longer coming from outside, as it used to be, to save the outlook.
This makes the job of the Excellency tougher.
Only 15,000 signatures
Participation in the campaign supporting Mehmet Ali Alabora during the Gezi protests exceeded 100,000 people.
In the campaign launched as a reaction against the student in Eskişehir who explained how he killed a cat in a video, 160,000 people join in the social media. Animal-lovers organize well. These two examples broke participation records in the social media.
The Turkey branch of Transparency International has organized a signature campaign named, “Clean Politics.” Clean Politics envisions that all candidates running for office declare their assets. Such campaigns are held in those countries such as Uganda, Bolivia and Russia where they cannot lift their heads from corruption.
In one place, there are 100,000 and 160,000 signatures, which is very good, very sensitive. On the other hand, the campaign demanding that all candidates in the elections declare their properties only collects 15,000 signatures.
For two and a half months, Turkey has been shaking with corruption each and every day; the claims have piled up to the sky; however, our dear people’s sensitivity is only this much. And this situation serves their purpose so well…
Yalçın Doğan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on March 5. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.