OECD urges Turkey to implement reforms to boost fight against foreign bribery

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Working Group on Bribery (WGB) on Tuesday reiterated a call on Turkey to urgently implement key reforms to boost the fight against foreign bribery.

“Turkey has not taken sufficient steps to address the OECD Working Group on Bribery’s concerns about its implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention or its very low level of enforcement of the foreign bribery offence,” the WGB said and added, “The Working Group has, since 2014, urged Turkey to ensure that foreign bribery is effectively investigated and prosecuted, including by protecting the independence of prosecutions, strengthening its legislation on liability of legal persons for foreign bribery, and implementing adequate protection for whistleblowers who report suspicions of foreign bribery.”

According to the Working Group statement, on June 21-22 a WGB High-Level Mission led by the Working Group chair with delegates from Colombia, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden and the United States discussed the country’s efforts to fight foreign bribery in virtual meetings with senior officials of Turkey’s Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Treasury and Finance, Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors, the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the OECD and the Turkish parliament’s Justice Committee.

The High-Level Mission noted that despite its economic importance, Turkey has yet to successfully conclude a foreign bribery case.

“Turkey should more proactively gather information from diverse sources to initiate investigations, rather than relying solely on mutual legal assistance requests,” the WGB said.

Members of the WGB delegation added that they “remain seriously concerned that Turkey has not taken measures to protect the independence of investigations and prosecutions, in light of the successive waves of large-scale suspensions and reassignments of judicial and law enforcement officers, which took place in 2014 and 2016,” according to the statement.

The WGB – made up of the 38 OECD member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Peru, Russia and South Africa – comprises the parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention. The working group monitors the implementation of the convention by all its Parties.

The group is set to follow developments in Turkey to implement the Anti-Bribery Convention and to enforce the foreign bribery offense in practice, in particular in the context of Turkey’s Phase 4 evaluation, currently scheduled for June 2023, the statement said.

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