bne IntelliNews -
Turkey fell dramatically on Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, after a year in which the government responded to a wide-reaching corruption scandal with a severe clampdown on political dissent.
Turkey dropped 11 places on the 2014 index, released on December 3, falling to 64th place out of 175 countries, down from 53rd place among the 177 countries ranked in 2013.
Turkey did, however, have one of the better overall rankings within the Southeast Europe region, where with some exceptions, most countries made at best sluggish progress in tackling corruption.
Turkey’s score assigned by TI was lowered from 50 points in 2013 to 45 points in 2014 - the five point drop the largest fall of any country rated on the index. The score is based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be, with perceived corruption rated on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
A low score reflects prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that are unresponsive to citizens’ needs, according to TI, while countries with open governments where the public can hold leaders to account gain higher scores on the index.
“Images of gold bars and millions of dollars stuffed in shoeboxes, coupled with incriminating videos, the firing or resignation of government ministers, multiple arrests and sadly, a number of suicides, topped the list of stories this year involving endemic corruption at the highest levels of Turkey’s business and government,” wrote Anne Koch, TI’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia in a December 3 blog post.
“Too bad the government response was a crackdown on political enemies as well as thousands of police officers, prosecutors and regulators who were sacked or “reassigned”, and not the corrupt,” Koch added. “The multi-headed corruption scandal was preceded by massive citizen protests last year and a mining tragedy in May of this year directly related to corrupt practices. This has all taken the shine off Turkey with its nearly double-digit growth rate now suffering a similar decline to its Corruption Perceptions Index score.”
Despite the decline in Turkey’s ranking in 2014, the country continues to outperform most other countries in the Southeast Europe region, including EU member states Romania and Bulgaria, which were tied in 69th place alongside western Europe’s poorest performers Greece and Italy.
Albania and Kosovo, despite slight improvements in their rankings this year, were tied in 110th place, on a par with Ecuador, Ethiopia and Malawi. This put the two countries below all European countries except Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Albania, which gained EU candidate status this year, rose six places since 2013, but Tirana has been warned by EU foreign ministers that substantial improvements in fighting corruption are needed before Albania can progress towards membership of the bloc.
At the other end of the scale, Slovenia remains the most transparent country in the region. Slovenia rose four places to 39th place, putting it a full 21 places higher than Croatia, which had the region’s next highest ranking.
Both Bulgaria - up eight places to 69th - and Macedonia - up three to 64th - improved their rankings on the 2014 index. Meanwhile, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, which were tied in 72nd place in 2013, fell to 80th and 78th place respectively this year, while Montenegro’s ranking declined from 67th to 76th.
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