Özarslan, Transparency International, on Turkish crisis: ‘When the media closes its eyes, the whole country goes blind’

Tenders are announced in various ways, including the website of the Public Tenders Institution. But we have no way of knowing who is given which offer and what conditions are made for certain tenders. The fees paid for objecting to tender decisions have also increased significantly, which makes it difficult and expensive to complain,” says E. Oya Özarslan, chair of Transparency International Turkey (TI-Turkey), part of Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption.

Another problematic area, which is directly related to the gaps in the public tender process, is a lack of regulation in the area of political financing.

“I must stress that Turkey is one of few countries that does not have specific regulations regarding political financing. We do not have any rules on campaign financing and we do not know how election expenses are financed for parties and candidates. As far as we know, everything is unregistered for the candidates, and this creates huge advantages for the people financing them,” she says.

According to the 2013 Corruption Perception Index, Turkey is ranked at 53 with a score of 50 — lower than most G-20 countries.

Another index measures people’s experience of corruption in their daily lives. The 2013 Global Corruption Barometer asked Turkish people whether they had given bribes within the last 12 months in their interactions with eight basic public services. The percentage of Turkish people who reported giving bribes was 21 percent, or one out of every four or five people.

Özarslan elaborated on the issue in response to Yonca poyraz Doğan’s questions in Sunday’s Zaman here.

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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