Why Turkey is no Botswana when it comes to corruption
Remember the famous mathematical formula for corruption? You have three major variables: sum up monopoly power in decision making and discretionary powers. The higher that number, the lower the limit on the government and higher the corruption in the country. From there, you have to subtract the accountability of the government. The higher the latter, the lower the probability of corruption in the country. It is essentially an attempt at quantifying the authority of a government. First of all, the formula works. Second, let me tell you about the issue of limited powers in Turkey’s government today. Spoiler: They are not very limited at all.
When it comes to limiting the powers of the administration, Turkey ranks 68th among 97 countries. Of all countries on the list, Botswana catches the eye. It is considered the miracle country, kind of a reference point for any anti-corruption committee. Botswana is number 20 among the 97 in terms of limiting the powers of the administration. It was the country discussed in the parliamentary report on corruption in Turkey in the late 1990s. The National Assembly considered Botswana’s example favorably, but did not take all the measures that the case would suggest. Let me give you another example about the interference of the government in the operation of the criminal justice system. In this category: Turkey ranks 71st to Botswana’s 18th among the 97 surveyed countries. Even among the comparable countries according to the income group, Turkey is 21st to Botswana’s 2nd among the 30 countries. The formula makes it clear that we have a long way to go.
The thing I liked about Botswana? President Seretse Khama transferred the diamond mining rights owned by his tribe to the State of Botswana years ago. Here is an example of inclusive growth for you. Where? In Africa. Just north of South Africa. Remember the Kalahari Desert? It is that country. President Khama was in power between 1966 and 1980. Botswana is one of the countries in the Growth Commission Report of Michael Spence.
Let me also highlight the measures taken in the right direction in the last 10 years in Turkey. It should be said that Turkey’s position has been improving enormously in all indices, including the Anti-Corruption Commission that is still operational. But the latest graft probe and the enterprise survey indicate that there is still a long way to go. That reality is also still reflected in the data. The World Bank enterprise survey indicates that 42 percent of the companies doing business in Turkey identify corruption as a major constraint. That is better than Brazil’s 70 percent, but worse than Botswana’s 27 percent.
Just keep in mind that in 2005, 54 percent of companies doing business in Turkey considered corruption as a major constraint. That number declined to 42 percent in 2008. An important shift, but still nowhere near the progress the country needs.
Turkey now needs to walk the walk when it comes to corruption. We can do it.