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Turkey plummets on corruption indexes.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Two corruption perception reports, both of which closely analyze Turkey, have been released in the past two weeks. The first of them was released by the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TE[pounds sterling]SyAD), "the bosses' club," titled "Corruption in Turkey through the Perspective of the Business World." The other was the "2014 Corruption Perceptions Index" by Transparency International (TI).

Prior to talking about the details of these reports, I need to mention a few figures pertaining to the financial damage caused by corruption and bribery around the world. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), corruption increases business costs by 10 percent. The financial damage caused by corruption amounts to 5 percent of the global gross national product (GNP). The "EU Anti-Corruption Report" issued by the European Commission in February 2014 says that corruption leads to an annual loss of 120 billion euros to the EU economy. It is estimated that the annual amount of money paid in the form of bribery across the world is over $1 trillion. However, the total financial damage caused by graft is clearly much greater than the amount paid in bribes.

The TE[pounds sterling]SyAD report was prepared in order to raise awareness about corruption and to call for taking measures against graft. Particular emphasis was placed on the responsibility that businesspeople have in this regard, stating that not only those who offer bribes are responsible but also those who accept it. The report is based on a survey of 801 representatives of the business world in June and July of this year. Hence, it is highly possible that the occurrences following theDec. 17andDec. 25corruption operations affected the participants' responses.

Based on the report, I would like to share a few critical findings on the point of view of Turkish business circles in terms of the issue of corruption. Participants in the survey indicated their belief that high taxes are the most significant cause of corruption. Other reasons popularly listed by the participants were labor costs and the undocumented economy. According to the responses, corruption and bribery are a secondary problem in the business world in general. Transportation and communication are the sectors in which participants consider corruption to be the biggest problem, while they considered the construction sector to have the fewest problems with corruption. Yet those running construction businesses think that corruption is prevalent and occurs on massive scale within their sector.

Around 40 percent of the participants believe that corruption is currently on the rise, both in terms of prevalence and extent, while 46 percent predict that corruption will increase in the future. What is noteworthy is that 37 percent of those who say, "Corruption is not prevalent and its scale is small" also believe that corruption is going to see a surge. This means that even people who are not disturbed by current corruption are concerned about the future.

Meanwhile, TI's "2014 Corruption Perceptions Index" highlights other points related to the issue. Turkey lost all the progress it had made over the past six years with a steep decline from 50 points down to 45 points this year, losing 11spots on the index. Turkey, which ranked 53 on the index in 2013, dropped to the 64thspot in 2014, showing the biggest decline among 175 countries.

Dec. 17and 25 factors in decline

Oya Euzarslan, the chairwoman of TI's Turkey office, considers the outcome of the TI report to be the "dramatic fall of Turkey." She continues: "TheDec. 17andDec. 25 operations led to a series of revelations. Turkey has seen a large number of corruption incidents so far. Nevertheless, the reassignments [of police officers and prosecutors in a mass purge] that followed theDec. 17andDec. 25scandals, censorship and bans on the media, investigations [such as those launched against journalists for corruption reports] caused Turkey to lose ground. A corruption scandal turned into a problem of democracy and human rights."

What does it mean for a country to fall below 50 points on the TI index? This means that Turkey is among the riskier countries in terms of its economy and politics. It has been observed that investments drop in countries with less than 50 points on the index and risks of political instability emerge. International inspections of these countries and their companies increase. In fact, the TE[pounds sterling]SyAD report sounds like a confirmation of these expected consequences as it stresses that corruption exists in Turkey and is likely to increase.

In the meantime, Turkey is taking over the presidency of the G20 from Australia. In 2015, Turkey will host the G20, a union of countries developed or developing in the shade of the global financial crisis. It is significant that the G20 has set corruption as the main issue on its agenda for 2015. Turkey, as a country where serious efforts are made to cover up corruption and bribery claims, will lead the G20 during its anti-corruption period. Apparently, Turkey should brace itself for troubled days in 2015, with such corruption perceptions at home and abroad.

PELyN CENGyZ (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Dec 8, 2014
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