Corruption in Turkey is an issue affecting the accession of Turkey to the European Union.[1][2] Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index scores 180 countries according to their perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (very corrupt) to 100 (very honest).[3] Since the current scale was introduced in 2012, Turkey's score has fallen from its highest score of 50 (2013) to its lowest, current score of 38 (2021). When the 180 countries in the Index were ranked by their score (with the country perceived to be most honest ranked 1), Turkey ranked 96 in 2021.[4]

The 1998 Türkbank scandal led to a no-confidence vote and the resignation of Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz. Although Yılmaz was investigated by Parliament, a five-year statute of limitations prevented further action.[5][6] On 17 December 2013, the sons of three Turkish ministers and many prominent businesspeople were arrested and accused of corruption.

Anti-Corruption Legislation[edit]

Anti-Corruption legislation includes Turkey's Criminal Code which criminalizes various forms of corrupt activity, including active and passive bribery, attempted corruption, extortion, bribing a foreign official, money laundering and abuse of office. Nevertheless, anti-corruption laws are poorly enforced, and anti-corruption authorities are deemed ineffective.[7]

Potential economic effects[edit]

Corruption has slowed business activity and the growth of the Turkish economy.[citation needed] Practices indicative of corruption include bribery, embezzlement, theft and fraud.


Corruption affects the institutional structures promoting growth in Turkey:

  • Property rights: If government officials are bribed to seize properties from people, investments decrease as potential investors lose confidence.
  • Patents and copyrights: Corruption increases theft and fraud, decreasing the flow of innovative technology.
  • Efficient financial institutions: Corruption decreases the efficiency of financial institutions, such as banks. Corrupt government officials have collaborated with large banks to manipulate the country's economy for their gain, decreasing trust placed in the banking system.
  • Public Services: Corrupt government officials often use corruption to decrease spending on basic public services such as infrastructure, healthcare, law enforcement and education, using the money saved for speculation.
  • Free trade: Domestic businesses bribe government officials to raise tariffs, decreasing demand for imports and increasing demand for domestic goods.
  • Competitive market system: Although Turkish law usually requires competitive bidding, some businesses attempt bribery to gain protection and favoritism from the government. A reduction in competitiveness can reduce market efficiency, encouraging monopolies and oligopolies.


Economic development is the increase in standard of living and economic health of a country, reflected in its Human Development Index. For a country to develop economically it must invest in capital goods, such as infrastructure, health care and education. Unlike consumer goods, which promote immediate wealth for a nation, capital goods promote future development and a higher standard of living.

Corruption affects economic development in the following ways:

  • Decreased spending on capital goods: A corrupt government spends less on capital goods, such as health care and education. This affects a country's population as its standard of living stalls or falls. In Turkey, 79.6 percent of health-care costs are covered by the Social Security Institution (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu).
  • Abuses of power: Corruption encourages a government to use its power in ways detrimental to the majority of its citizens.
  • Misappropriation of funds: To reduce (or avoid) taxation corrupt government officials often send their money overseas, reducing the money supply. A loss of money encourages the printing of more money, triggering inflation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael, Bryan (Winter 2004). "Anti-Corruption in the Turkey's EU Accession". Turkish Policy Quarterly. SSRN 999350. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ Alan Doug, (2010) "Asking the right questions? Addressing corruption and EU accession: The case study of Turkey", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 17 Iss: 1, pp.9 - 21
  3. ^ "The ABCs of the CPI: How the Corruption Perceptions Index is calculated". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Corruption Perceptions Index 2021: Turkey". Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  5. ^ Zeynep Sarlak and Besim Bulent Bali (2007), Corruption in Turkey:“Is the donor content when the recipient is content?! Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, University of Konstanz Discussion Paper Series 9.
  6. ^ Zeynep Sarlak and Besim Bulent Bali (2008), Corruption in Turkey: Why cannot an urgent problem be a main concern? Archived 2013-03-19 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Turkey Corruption Profile". Business Anti-Corruption Profile. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2015.

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