Turkey ranks 91 among 180 countries in corruption index

The international non-governmental organisation Transparency International has ranked Turkey 91st among 180 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2019

Turkey ranked below 28 member states of the  European Union, and second to last among the 36 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

Between 2013 and 2019, Turkey went back 38 places, making the country one of three that lost the most points in this period along with Hungary and the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia.

The lowest ranking countries in 2019 were Venezuela, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and Somalia.

Turkey’s rapid decline in the corruption perception index was due to the consolidation of power similar to authoritarian regimes, violations of the rule of law principle, the erosion of judicial independence and systems of checks and balances, as well as the removal of parliamentary oversight. 

“Policy development and decision making processes are executed within an increasingly narrow circle, as participation and the people’s power to affect decision making diminishes,” said the report on Turkey.

The report cited another reason for the decline as impunity and the judiciary’s diminished powers against corruption.

Turkish authorities have been quick to sweep major corruption scandals under the rug during the Justice and Development Party (AKP) governments, including the 2013 Zarrab case where the Iranian-Turkish businessman and Turkish government officials were indicted.  

The report cited some 200 changes to Turkey’s public tenders act, saying transparency and accountability had diminished regarding public spending. The rate of open tenders fell from 75 to 63 percent from 2004 to 2019, while negotiated tenders and tenders of exceptional circumstances rose from 10 to 32 percent in the same period, according to the report.

“The lack of transparency, accountability and oversight in public tenders has given rise to criticisms of crony capitalism,” the report said.

The weak legal framework to regulate the financing of politics and political ethics increases the risk of corruption, it said. 

“With violations of electoral honesty and increased pressure on the media and civil society, issues related to corruption continue to spread,” according to the report.