Jun 28 2019

Turkey Europe’s worst performer in anti-corruption measures - report

The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body on Friday published two reports that show Turkey lagging behind in implementing anti-corruption measures.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) reports highlight Ankara’s lack of progress in the matter of anti-corruption, including in measures related to improving the transparency of political party funding and preventing corruption among politicians, judges and prosecutors.

The anti-corruption body’s reports showed that Turkey was the worse of any European country measured at implementing recommendations to discourage corruption.

In its first evaluation of Turkey in 2010, the anti-corruption group listed 17 recommendations for Turkey. In one of its two new reports, GRECO said Turkey’s progress has been insufficient, with only seven of the recommendations satisfactorily implemented.

Six have been only partly implemented and four, all concerning party funding transparency, not implemented, the report said.

The group said Turkey should improve the standard of its political parties’ reports on their annual accounts, and that those reports, as well as records on election campaign funding, should be made public.

The GRECO report also recommends introducing independent auditing of party accounts by certified experts and imposing effective, proportionate and detterent sanctions for infringements.

In 2016, the group also provided 22 recommendations for measures to prevent corruption among members of parliaments, judges and prosecutors in Turkey.

It said that only two of those recommendations have so far been implemented satisfactorily, concluding that the overall level of compliance was “globally unsatisfactory”.

According to GRECO, Turkey lacks a code of ethical conduct for deputies in the Turkish parliament, while other shortcomings also need to be addressed, such as the transparency of the legislative process as well as integrity training and counselling for members of the parliament.

The organisation said fundamental structural changes in the judicial system have further weakened the independence of the judiciary. The newly established Council of Judges and Prosecutors, which replaced the former High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, is made up of members appointed only by the Turkish president and parliament, and this runs counter to the European standard of an independent self-governing judicial body, it said.

Furthermore, the executive has increased its already strong influence on a number of key areas regarding the running of the judiciary. These include the process of selecting and recruiting candidate judges and prosecutors, reassignments of judicial officeholders against their will, disciplinary procedures, and training of judges, GRECO said.