Why is Stiglitz closely watching Turkey?
I was recently at the “Private Sector’s Role in Diminishing Poverty” conference organized by the UNDP and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchange of Turkey, where Nobel Award winning American Joseph Stiglitz delivered a speech.
I carefully noted my remarks about the main theme, “inequality,” in the book “The Price of Inequality – How Today’s Society Endangers Our Future,” which was recently translated into Turkish. According to Stiglitz, nothing damages society more than the feeling of inequality. What causes the feeling of inequality the most?
The unequal distribution of wealth, of course. There are also other factors, such as corruption, the profits gained with the help of the state, the lack of clarity in the process of public tenders and unfair tenders contribute to the feeling of inequality.
“In the business world, some companies cannot be preferred over others. If they were, that would not be a healthy business environment,” says Stiglitz.
There were many things that correlated with the situation in Turkey, and I told him about them after the conference.
“I am watching Turkey closely,” he said, smiling.
Could the appearance of so much news in the media that validated his views be a coincidence? According to an article from the day before by Diken, a site that gives a prime example of journalism on Internet, most of the corruption that hurts public management is made in public tenders.
According to the Sayıştay magazine, which is written by experts on the Turkish Court of Accounts, the most common forms of corruption in public are: Tender corruption, malpractice of authority and favoritism in personnel recruitment. According to the same research, there were 214 complaints of corruption and 152 complaints of favoritism to the Public Ethics Committee between 2005 and 2012.
These are, of course, recorded cases.
I wonder if anyone had applied to the Public Ethics Committee for the example that I am going to give.
There is in important rumor about the 16:9 Towers in Zeytinburnu, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered to be “trimmed” because they damaged Istanbul’s historic silhouette, after which the Council of State ordered their destruction.
According to rumors, former Istanbul Police Chief Cerrah, former Municipality of Istanbul General Secretary Tandıroğlu and former Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul deputy Feyzullah Kıylık are among the high-level bureaucrats who bought flats from this controversial estate. The payments of these estates, the prices of which range from 2 to 7 million Turkish Liras were made in advance. So questions could be put forward to the Public Ethics Committee on how the civil servants could afford to pay for such huge prices with their salary.
The most important question should be how Mesut Toprak, a friend of the prime minister from İmam Hatip School, was allowed to build 36 floors on the estate that he bought from the TMSF (Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund) for $45 million, when only construction up to six floors was allowed.
Stigliz is quite right to state that “profit” is the prime factor for inequality.