Turkey: Anti-Corruption Practices In Turkey

Most countries assure independency and impartiality of their civil servants by means of to-the-point legislation. Specific laws play an important role in the enhancement of state administration and elimination of time-consuming bureaucracy which traditionally goes hand in hand with corruption. They also contribute to the creation of a pacifist social environment where citizens' trust in public authority is soaring.

The Turkish legislator has enacted a set of laws providing for restrictions as to (i) post-employment of civil servants and (ii) their receipt of gifts or hospitality by persons with whom they have dealt within the course of their public duty. The most noteworthy pieces of legislation setting norms of ethical conduct in this respect are highlighted below.

I. Employment of civil servants

First of all, Law No. 6571 on Civil Servants (the Law) prohibits civil servants from being involved in any commercial activity. Therefore, throughout their employment with the government, civil servants can neither be employed by nor provide consultancy services to any private entity.

Furthermore, Law No. 25312 on Works Banned From Being Performed by Civil Servants Who Quit Public Duty stipulates that, unless otherwise provided by law, former government officials are prohibited (for a period of three 3 (three) years from the date of their retirement or resignation) from acting as broker, representative or consultant, directly or indirectly, towards government agency(ies) that they have served in the last 2 (two) years before their date of retirement or resignation, with regards to the activities falling within the scope of their past duty. The violation of such prohibition may result in the imprisonment of the civil servant in question from 6 (six) months to 2 (two) years.

For instance, in case a civil servant, who is formerly employed by the Turkish Privatization Administration (TPA), resigns and establishes his/her own consultancy firm, he/she cannot provide any consultancy services relating to the activities of the TPA for a period of three 3 (three) years starting from his/her resignation date. There are recent court precedents sanctioning such behavior.

II. Gifts and Hospitality received by Civil Servants

  • Under domestic law

Applicable legislation. Turkish law provides for a very rigid scheme in order to prevent civil servants from receiving gifts and/or hospitality. Apart from the Turkish Constitution, circulars and decisions of the Council of Ethics for Civil Servants (Kamu Gorevlileri Etik Kurulu) (the Council) are worth to be considered. The Council has been established in accordance with Law No. 51763 on Establishment of the Council of Ethics for Civil Servants and is empowered to determine code of ethics to be abided by civil servants throughout their public duties.

Rule. The Law forbids civil servants to receive gifts and hospitality in connection with their duties (the Rule). Regulation on the Ethical Behavior Principles of Civil Servants (the Regulation)4 also prohibits civil servants from receiving gifts or obtaining further benefits for themselves, their relatives, third parties or institutions from individuals or legal entities in relation to their duties. The Regulation does not set any monetary limit on such gifts or benefits. According to the Resolution (ilke karari) No. 2007/1 of the Council, the receipt of gift or hospitality, irrespective of its monetary value, consititues a violation of the Rule set forth by both the Law and the Regulation.

Scope. The scope of the Regulation covers civil servants other than the President of the Republic in addition to the members of the Parliament, Council of Ministers, Turkish Armed Forces, the judiciary administration and state universities. Therefore, apart from the excluded persons, the norms of ethical conduct stipulated in the Regulation are mandatory for all civil servants.

Exceptions. Article 15 of the Regulation provides that the following items do not fall within the scope of the Rule: (i) gifts donated to institutions or received on the condition that they are allocated to public service, registered with the inventory list of the relevant public institution and announced to the public; (ii) books, magazines, articles, cassettes, calendars, CDs or similar materials; (iii) rewards and gifts received within public contests, campaigns or events; (iv) souvenirs given in public conferences, symposiums, forums, panels, meals, receptions and similar events; (v) advertisement and handicraft products distributed to everyone and having symbolic value; and (vi) loans extended by financial institutions on market conditions.

For the avoidance of any confusion on the above-listed exceptions, the Regulation also provides another list of items that should be interpreted within the scope of the Rule: (i) gifts of greeting5, farewell and celebration6; scholarships; travel fees; cost-free accommodation7 and gift vouchers received from those who have a service or interest relationship with the institution that the respective civil servant(s) works for; (ii) transactions performed at unreasonable prices compared to market price while purchasing, selling or hiring service, movable or real property; (iii) gifts including jewelry, clothes, food or any other goods offered by those benefiting from the public service; and (iv) loans and borrowings obtained from those who have business or service relationship with the relevant institution.

All-in-all, civil servants in Turkey are strictly forbidden to receive gifts or hospitality. In a recent interview published in the Hurriyet newspaper8, the president of the Council stated that although some countries (e.g., the United States) set some monetary limits for civil servants to accept gifts or hospitality, such limit in Turkey is determined as "zero".

  • Under international law

Turkey is party to a number of international conventions combating bribery (i.e., Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption; Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption; and United Nations Convention against Corruption, which is signed but not ratified by the Parliament as of 1 February 20109). Moreover, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the Convention), which was ratified by Turkey in 2000 through Law No. 451810, is also noteworthy.

The first and most important consequence of the application of the Convention has been the establishment of the Council having the authority to dictate the ethical conduct standards of civil servants.

In accordance with the Phase 2 bis Report on the Application of the Convention and the 1997 Recommendation on Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions11, which was approved and adopted by the Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions on 18 June 2009, Turkey has showed significant progress in complying with the recommendations of the Working Group on Bribery.

Accordingly, (i) a number of foreign bribery cases are currently under investigation, (ii) a law introducing corporate liability for foreign bribery up to TL 2,000,000 (approximately EUR 1,000,000) has been adopted by the Turkish Parliament12 in accordance with the suggestions of the examination team, and (iii) Turkey has implemented a wide range of awareness-raising efforts.

The Phase 3 examinations of the OECD countries will begin in 2011, whereby the representatives of Iceland and Bulgaria will be in charge of conducting the examination of Turkey throughout 2014.

Footnotes

1. Published in the Official Gazette dated 23 July 1965 and numbered 12056.

2. Published in the Official Gazette dated 6 October 1981 and numbered 17480.

3. Published in the Official Gazette dated 8 June 2004 and numbered 25486.

4. Published in the Official Gazette dated 13 April 2005 and numbered 25785.

5. Pursuant to the resolution No. 2008/2 of the Council, teachers are prohibited receiving gifts (except for flowers and alike) from their students on Teacher's Day.

6. Decision of the Council dated 5 November 2009 under No. 2009/40, as published in the Official Gazette dated 18 December 2009 and numbered 27436.

7. Decision of the Council dated 23 January 2009 under No. 2009/1, as published in the Official Gazette dated 7 March 2009 and numbered 27162.

8. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/13323346.asp (in Turkish language).

9. http://www.masak.gov.tr/en/LaunderingProceedsofCrime/Chronology.htm

10. Published in the Official Gazette dated 6 February 2000 and numbered 23956.

11. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/2/18/43198860.pdf

12. The Law No. 5918 Amending the Turkish Criminal Code and some other laws, published in the Official Gazette dated 9 July 2009 and numbered 27283.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions