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Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Turkey

Press Release

Strasbourg, 20 April 2010 - The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on Turkey. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [theme I], the country’s legal framework for the criminalisation of corruption is quite complex and contains several deficiencies in relation to the requirements established under the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. The report points out that the legislation should be thoroughly reviewed to clearly signal what kind of conduct constitutes bribery. Some of the most important shortcomings concern the narrow concept of bribery offences which excludes corrupt behaviour without an agreement between the parties or without a breach of duty by the public official. Moreover, bribery of foreign and international officials, foreign jurors and arbitrators (as defined by the Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption) as well as bribery in the private sector and trading in influence are not fully addressed by the Turkish legislation. There is also a potential for misuse involved in the defence of ‘effective regret’, which can be invoked when an offender reports a crime after its commission.

Concerning transparency of party funding [theme II], the existing legislation is, overall, of quite a good standard and in many respects in line with the principles set out in the Recommendation Rec(2003)4 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Common Rules against Corruption in the Funding of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns. By contrast, individual persons such as party candidates, independent candidates for election and elected representatives are not subject to transparency regulations that apply to political parties. Hence, the most obvious shortcoming of the current system is the lack of specific legislation and monitoring of campaign financing for parliamentary, presidential and local elections. As regards general party funding, the degree of transparency achieved in practice is not fully satisfactory. Party accounts tend to be incomplete, they are not certified by independent auditors and comparisons are difficult if not impossible. Most parties do not publish their accounts. In addition, the supervision of party finances – currently performed by the Constitutional Court – warrants further improvements in terms of efficacy, rapidity, thoroughness and detection of undeclared funding, in particular in the form of in-kind donations.
The report as a whole addresses 17 recommendations to Turkey. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations, towards the middle of 2011, through its specific compliance procedure.