Where are we in the world league of fighting against corruption?
A significant first in the new government’s program is the inclusion of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
Thus, the 61st government has publicly announced that it has accepted this internationally recognized institution’s indexes as a valid reference to assess its anti-corruption performance. For the government to engage itself as such can no doubt be regarded as a positive development.
Turkey scores 4.4 out of 10
Turkey’s progress in the past eight years on the index in question should have also played a role in the Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, stance.
Besides, while the anti-corruption strategy is explained on the 28th page of the government program, comparisons are made with 2003 and 2010 indexes and a general assessment on this chapter is made of the past eight years during when the AKP was in power.
In the 2003 index of the organization, a total of 133 countries were included on the list and on this ranking Turkey took 77th place with a score of 3.1 out of 10.
In the 2010 index, a total of 178 countries are evaluated and Turkey, this time, has risen to 56th place with a 4.4 score.
This jump of 21 places in ranking, especially at a time when participation has increased, should not be underestimated. But, on the final analysis, the fact Turkey has barely progressed from a score of 3.1 to 4.4; in other words, still remaining below the passing score shows again a thought-provoking situation.
In the category of “very clean” countries on the ranking, there are five countries that have scored between nine and 10. They are Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore with a score of 9.3 and Finland and Sweden with a score of 9.2. Turkey is at the same score threshold with Namibia and Malaysia with a score of 4.4.
There is both progress and decline
Actually, Turkey’s performance can also be approached from the angle of the question of which countries Turkey has overtaken in the past eight years. Those countries such as Italy, Greece, Slovakia, Latvia and Croatia, most of which are members of the European Union, were above Turkey in the 2003 ranking; today they have fallen below Turkey. It is noteworthy that especially Italy (from 31st to 67th) and Greece (from 44th to 78th) have fallen upside down.
Let us remember that corruption is one of those chapters that Turkey has been pressured the most each year in EU progress reports. In its latest report, the EU said, “Corruption remains prevalent in many areas. The legislative framework designed to prevent corruption has been improved.”
We can see where Turkey stands in corruption from the point of legislation and practices nationwide from the report, “Anti-corruption Criteria in Turkey,” published last month by Şeffaflık Derneği, or Transparency Association, the partner organization of Transparency International in Turkey.
The report in question was prepared after monitoring and evaluating the legislation, judiciary and public administration in Turkey between the period November 2010 and April 2011 with a set of criteria determined together with experts from Transparency International.
Also posted on the website of Transparency International, this report says, “Important legislative and institutional changes have been made serving the anti-corruption struggle in all three fields.” However, the monitoring has also shown that, “There are major shortcomings and regressions in the field of practicing these laws.”
When the state bidding law has been changed 18 times
The most striking example in this chapter is that the state bidding law has been changed exactly 18 times in the past eight years and every time new exceptional arrangements have been introduced. According to the report, exceptional purchases constitute 27 percent of all public purchases today and this is quite a high rate.
In the report, among important gaps in the fight against corruption, the fact that no political ethic law has yet been passed, that a noteworthy auditing in political financing is not present and that political immunity of deputies are as wide as to include corruptions are counted. The weakest institution in fighting corruption is shown as the parliament.
Let us see if the government, in its strategy in the new term, will take concrete steps in this field where the EU expects progression?
Just as the government has an ambitious target to include Turkey in the “most advanced 10 economies of the world” by 2023, why would it not put a target of including Turkey among the “10 cleanest countries” in the world?