Turkey’s foreign bribery enforcement framework needs to be urgently strengthened and corporate liability legislation reformed

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Mr Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN, Turkish President. (Copyright, The European Union)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.


In view of Turkey’s continued failure to implement key aspects of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and to enforce its foreign bribery laws, the Working Group on Bribery will send a high-level mission to Ankara in 2020, unless Turkey takes concrete action by October 2019.

This decision is due to the fact that Turkey has still not enacted legislation to address long-standing recommendations notably to reform its laws on liability of legal persons for the bribery of foreign public officials. Turkey’s corporate liability framework does not clearly cover state-owned and state-controlled enterprises, and the prosecution or conviction of a natural person is a necessary basis for sanctioning a legal person. Furthermore, sanctions for legal persons are not sufficiently effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

The Working Group also remains seriously concerned about Turkey’s low level of foreign bribery enforcement. Despite the size of the country’s economy and its geopolitical importance, there has not been one foreign bribery conviction in the 16 years since the entry into force of the Convention in Turkey. In addition, the Working Group is highly concerned that foreign bribery investigations and prosecutions may be influenced by considerations of national economic interest, the potential effect upon relations with another State or the identity of the natural or legal persons involved, contrary to Article 5 of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Despite these Working Group recommendations made in October 2014 in the context of Turkey’s Phase 3 evaluation under the Anti-Bribery Convention, and repeated calls for action ever since, Turkey has not taken steps to address these deficiencies, although the Working Group notes awareness-raising and training efforts by Turkey.

For this reason, Turkey is invited to report back in writing to the Working Group in October 2019 regarding concrete action to address the above-mentioned issues.

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