Official corruption worsen in Turkey, China: Report

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A new report by a Europe-based watchdog for global transparency indicates that Turkey and China’s ratings on “perceived corruption” have increased sharply.

Transparency International (TI), which is based in Berlin, publishes a yearly report quantifying “perceptions” of graft rather than factual figures considering the secrecy of most corrupt dealings. It uses a scale on which 100 represents the most clean and 0 stands for the most corrupt.

The organization published its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index of 175 countries on Wednesday, indicating that Turkey’s record had deteriorated the most precipitously this year, falling by five points to 45.

The steep drop may reflect the consequences of a corruption scandal in Turkey that broke out in late December 2013, the worst since the AK Party rose to power over a decade ago.

In December 2013, then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan replaced the economy, interior, and environment ministers whose sons had been arrested as part of investigation into a spiraling corruption scandal.

A commission has been set up by Turkey’s parliament to investigate allegations against the ministers back in May 2014.

Meanwhile, China’s rating dropped by four points to 36 despite the fact that the government in Beijing has launched a rigorous campaign to weed out corrupt authorities, according to the TI report.

Ukraine, whose ranking is 26, topped European countries with the highest perceived level of graft, followed by Italy, Greece and Romania, which jointly ranked 43 and were the worst among the European Union (EU) member states.

More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the index scored under the 50 mark, with North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and South Sudan appearing at the bottom.

“Grand corruption in big economies not only blocks basic human rights for the poorest but also creates governance problems and instability,” said TI Chairman Jose Ugaz in a statement that came with the report.

The report rated Denmark for a second year as the top performer, with 92 points, a climb of one since last year. New Zealand, Finland, Sweden and Norway also reappeared as among the top five performers.

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