Anti-corruption title

Looking back, the implementation of the 2010 Action Plan has largely been kept out of the public eye and lacked the transparency and integrity it had been designed to counter. Furthermore, the absence of a strategy for the two-year period following the conclusion of the 2010 Action Plan in 2014, and the lack of communication on the end results of the action before drafting a new one raises questions about the willingness and intent of the government. The time of the release of the new Action Plan increases these doubts, as it was unveiled during the EU-Turkey visa deal process that would grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel in the Schengen zone. It should also be noted that CSOs have mostly been left out of the draft processes.

Despite the six-year period no significant improvements have been recorded and the new plan bears resemblance to the previous one. Out of the 28 articles in the 2010 Action Plan, there have been improvement in only six, and the remaining 22 saw little to no improvement despite the planned duration of the actions have been 24 months or less and more than twice that time has elapsed since the adoption of the plan. 11 articles in the 2010 Action Plan, two of which are designated as ‘improved,’ were removed from the new Action Plan. With four new additions, the 2016 Action Plan has a grand total of 21 articles.

The Action Plan was made public with the then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s approval, which envisioned a Commission that would be chaired by the deputy prime minister and would include representatives from various ministries. An executive committee to implement the measures of the Commission and a monitoring group to oversee the executive committee’s actions were also included in the roadmap. The monitoring group would consist of academics, representatives from the Court of Accounts, workers’ and employers’ associations, but the extent of the criteria which these representatives would be selected for the monitoring group was not made clear. None of the CSOs whose main line of research falls under issues of transparency and/or strengthening anti-corruption efforts have been included in previous monitoring groups. The process is thus problematic in terms of accountability and inclusiveness. As such, in conjunction with the inclusion of most of the existing articles in the previous Action Plan, the 2016 Anti-corruption Action Plan may be considered to be a list of things left undone from the 2010 plan.

Further exacerbating the situation, the process has stalled following the resignation of Ahmet Davutoğlu from office less than a week after the Action Plan was announced. The program of the new Government, announced by Prime Minister Binali yıldırım omits any references to anti-corruption efforts, instead focusing on efforts to draft a new constitution and combating terrorism. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım had been at the forefront of the corruption probe in 2013, and was one of the ministers who had been replaced during the Cabinet reshuffle. Regardless of the flaws in the content and implementation, the Action Plan coordinated government efforts in the fights against corruption and whether the Action Plan will be implemented in the future is yet to be known.

Transparency International Turkey calls the new government for immediate action to implement the “Increasing Transparency and Strengthening the Fight against Corruption Action Plan,” with adherence to the indicated terms. We also stress the importance of transparency and inclusion of the stakeholders in the manner in which the Action Plan is undertaken.

To look at an in-detail comparison of the articles of the 2010 and 2016 Action Plans, click the following link.