The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published two reports on Turkey’s implementation of its recommendations on preventing corruption in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors (GRECO’s 4th Evaluation Round) and on incriminations and the transparency of party funding (3rd Evaluation Round).
In the first report, GRECO urges the Turkish authorities to ensure that proper integrity standards are adopted for MPs, in particular on conflicts of interest (gifts and other advantages, accessory activities, post-employment situations, contacts with lobbyists, etc.) In addition, GRECO underlines that the transparency of the legislative process must be enhanced.
As regards the judiciary, GRECO notes the adoption of the Judicial Ethics Declaration. However, this document only contains general principles – requiring practical guidance – and the notions of conflict of interest, gifts and contacts with third parties need to be significantly developed. The underlying reasons for GRECO’s recommendations remain the fundamental structural changes which have considerably weakened judicial independence in Turkey.
The fact that the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (CJP) is made up of members appointed by the President of the Republic and Parliament, and that none are elected by judges and prosecutors themselves, runs counter to European standards. In addition, GRECO notes that the Executive has kept a strong influence on the process of selecting and recruiting candidate judges and prosecutors, the reassignment of judicial officeholders against their will, disciplinary procedures and the training of judges and prosecutors. This calls for fundamental reforms in Turkey in order to comply with European standards.
The Turkish authorities are required to report on progress regarding both the judiciary and MPs by 30 November 2021.
In the second report, GRECO notes that considerable progress is still to be made in respect of the transparency of political financing in Turkey.
GRECO regrets that only one recommendation out of nine has been fully implemented over the last 10 years, and therefore calls for new legislative initiatives. Two recommendations remain to be fully implemented in respect of incriminations. While this particular compliance procedure is closed, the Turkish authorities are invited to inform GRECO of future developments.