Turkey ranked 115th out of 180 countries with a score of 34/100 in the latest edition of Transparency International’s 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). This is the country’s lowest score to date.
The CPI, a tool that has measured perceived levels of public sector corruption since 1995, characterises corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, using a scale of 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating cleaner governance. Turkey’s fall from 101st place with 36 points in 2022 reveals a worrying trend in governance and accountability, bringing it in line with peers such as Ecuador, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malawi and the Philippines.
Turkey achieved its highest score on the Index in 2013, when it ranked 53rd with 50 points. However, a significant drop of 16 points since then is attributed to an overly dominant executive branch and a lack of democratic checks and balances. The Index cites inadequate anti-corruption legislation, a notable lack of enforcement judicial and of independence as obstacles to tackling corruption.
In its annual report released on Wednesday, Berlin-based Transparency International highlighted the devastating impact of the last year’s earthquake, stating that “The tragic consequences […] showed how the price of corruption is sometimes paid in human lives.”
The Global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2023 presents a worrying scenario, particularly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the region in which Turkey is located. The index highlights the prevalence of corruption in a region struggling with rising poverty due to war and inflation, and highlights the significant impact of widespread democratic backsliding.