Progress in corruption fight but more needed: Deputy PM
Tolga Tanış - WASHINGTON
AA photoTurkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said Turkey has shown remarkable progress in the fight against corruption and improving perceptions across the globe, noting however more progress was needed in a speech at a conference held by the Washington branch of the Foundation for Political Social and Economic Research Association (SETA) in the U.S. capital on Jan 7.
“In Transparency International’s corruption perception index, Turkey ranked 65th among 102 countries. We were actually perceived as among the third most corrupted nations in the world of this 102 country-universe. That was in 2002, before the Justice and Development Party [AKP] rule. Around a decade later, we are now 64th among 175 countries. Now we are among the least corrupted third of nations, roughly speaking. So, actually we’ve gone a long way and this is not a Turkish statistic, but 64th place among 175 countries is not a good place to be. Much more progress is needed,” he said.
Şimşek, a leading politician in economic matters of Kurdish origin, noted the only obstacle before the togetherness of Turks and Kurds was violence.
“We are not naïve to believe we can resolve the problem by killing terrorists. This is nonsense,” he said in a meeting, during which he greeted in Kurdish a journalist of Kurdish origin who asked a question.
He noted the best future prospect for Turkish Kurds is to live in a more democratic and more tolerant Turkey with better welfare conditions as a part of Europe.
“This will be the best for both Kurds and Turks,” he said.
Şimşek said Turkey saw an economic boom when the peace process started a couple years ago.
“I was then a deputy from the eastern province of Batman, in which I was born… Turkey’s exports rose 80 percent then. This is true. Businesses were full of hope. The violence has now come back, and the story has been destroyed,” he noted, adding that the only way to progress is to maintain a more democratic Turkey and to support basic rights and freedoms.
Şimşek also vowed to speed up the reform agenda considerably.
“We’ll do more than talking in realizing the required reforms. You’ll see parliament will be filled with lots of reform packages. Parliament will not go on holiday in the summer if needed and continue to work on the reform agenda,” he said, adding that the realization of even 60-65 percent of the reform agenda will bring Turkey back on track to rapid growth again.