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Turkey

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a serious concern to many businesses, a reality reflected in Turkey’s sliding score in recent years in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index, where it ranked 78 of 180 countries and territories around the world in 2018.  According to some businesses, government mechanisms to investigate and punish alleged abuse and corruption by state officials remained inadequate, and impunity remained a problem. Though independent in principle, the judiciary remained prone to government, and particularly executive branch, interference, including with respect to the investigation and prosecution of major corruption cases.  In some cases, the state of emergency amplified pre-existing concerns about judicial independence. (See the Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for more details: https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/turkey/).  The government does not actively encourage private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials.  Turkey is a participant in regional anti-corruption initiatives, specifically co-heading the G20 Anti-Corruption working group with the United States.   Under the new presidential system, the Presidential State Supervisory Council is responsible for combating corruption.

Public procurement reforms were designed in Turkey to make procurement more transparent and less susceptible to political interference, including through the establishment of an independent public procurement board with the power to void contracts.  Critics claim, however, that government officials have continued to award large contracts to firms friendly with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), especially for large public construction projects.

Turkish legislation outlaws bribery, but enforcement is uneven.  Turkey’s Criminal Code makes it unlawful to promise or to give any advantage to foreign government officials in exchange for their assistance in providing improper advantage in the conduct of international business.

The provisions of the Criminal Law regarding bribing of foreign government officials are consistent with the provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 of the United States (FCPA).  There are, however, a number of differences between Turkish law and the FCPA. For example, there is no exception under Turkish law for payments to facilitate or expedite performance of a “routine governmental action” in terms of the FCPA.  Another difference is that the FCPA does not provide for punishment by imprisonment, while Turkish law provides for punishment by imprisonment from four to twelve years. The Presidential State Supervisory Council, which advises the Corruption Investigations Committee, is responsible for investigating major corruption cases brought to its attention by the Committee.  Nearly every state agency has its own inspector corps responsible for investigating internal corruption. The Parliament can establish investigative commissions to examine corruption allegations concerning cabinet ministers; a majority vote is needed to send these cases to the Supreme Court for further action.

Turkey ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Public Officials and passed implementing legislation in 2003 to provide that bribes of foreign, as well as domestic, officials are illegal.  In 2006, Turkey’s Parliament ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency or agencies are responsible for combating corruption:

Presidential State Supervisory Council
Beştepe Mahallesi, Alparslan Türkeş Caddesi, Devlet Denetleme Kurulu, Yenimahalle
Telephone: Phone: +90 312 470 25 00
Fax : +90 312 470 13 03

Contact at “watchdog” organization

Seref Malkoc
Chief Ombudsman
The Ombudsman Institution
Kavaklidere Mah. Zeytin Dali Caddesi No. 4 Cankaya Ankara
Telephone: +90 312 465 22 00
Email: iletisim@ombudsman.gov.tr

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