Although Turkey’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score has gradually improved (2009=4.4), the public believes that corruption is widespread in the bureaucracy and in politics. Activities incompatible with membership in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (specified in Article 82 of the constitution, Law No. 3069, and Law No. 3628 on Asset Declaration and the Struggle Against Bribery and Corruption of April 19, 1990, based on Article 71 of the constitution) are the major preventive measures targeted at corruption in public service.
No conflict-of-interest, code-of-conduct or campaign-financing regulation for politicians exists. Sanctions for politicians are not effective due to the majority in the parliament and strong party discipline. As of March 2009, there were 315 files associated with lifting members’ parliamentary immunity due to corruption-related offences, involving a total of 112 deputies (62 of which were from the incumbent party). The current scope of parliamentary immunity provides a significant shield for corrupt politicians. However, an AKP deputy, Saban Disli, resigned from a top party post after being accused of receiving a million-dollar kickback from a land developer in late 2008. There were several allegations in 2009 focusing on the corruption of local politicians, including the mayors of Ankara and Adana. As mentioned earlier, in late 2008 the sale of the country’s second-biggest media group, Sabah-ATV, to Calik Holding, a company employing the prime minister’s son-in-law, was facilitated by a generous loan from a state-owned bank.
Conflict of interest was first defined by the Regulation on the Principles of Ethical Behavior of Public Officials and Application Procedures and Essentials, dated April 15, 2005. There is no separate code of conduct for public servants, but this regulation lists several guiding principles. However, academics, military personnel and the judiciary have no binding code of ethics. The Council of Ethics for Public Officials, which was established in 2004 and is tasked with reviewing the unethical behaviors of public servants, decided that four public servants, an elected mayor and managers of public enterprise, breached the ethics rules for public officials. In 2010, the Constitutional Court annulled the publication of this council’s decisions in the Official Gazette.
There are also several general or special laws preventing unlawful gain through the abuse of office, with disciplinary mechanisms attached. In light of the GRECO recommendations, the OECD Bribery Convention and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Turkey’s legal framework was reformed in such a way as to address the liability of legal persons, money-laundering and foreign bribery. Under the coordination of the Prime Minister’s Inspection Board, a national anti-corruption strategy plan was issued in January 2010.
The most common form of corruption on the part of politicians occurs during the allotment of building land in development planning. When assets are graded as building, housing or even trading plots, their values skyrocket, since ongoing large-scale rural outmigration and urbanization has created a lively real estate market. Undue enrichment of local politicians through this mechanism is a daily practice in Turkey, and attracts attention only in cases of extraordinary gains and/or when open violence is used.
Ö.F. Gençkaya, Conflict of Interest in Turkish Public Administration, Ethics for the Prevention of Corruption in Turkey Academic Research Report, V. I, Ankara: Fersa, 2009, 293-381. http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperati on/economiccrime/corruption/project s/TYEC/TYEC_en.asp (accessed July 26, 2010).
M. Acar And U. Emek, Preventing Corruption In Turkey: Issues, Instruments, and Institutions, in T. Gong, S. K. Ma (eds) Preventing Corruption in Asia, Routledge, 2009.
GRECO, Third Evaluation Round Evaluation Report on Turkey on Transparency of Party Funding, (accessed July 26, 2010).
Commission Of The European Communities, Turkey 2009 Progress Report, (accessed, 26 July, 2010)