Survey shows 77 pct of Turkish businessmen complain of bribery

June 17, 2012, Sunday/ 13:31:00/ Gamze Gül

A recent survey conducted by leading consulting firm Ernst and Young indicates that 77 percent of Turkish businessmen believe bribery is a common problem that needs to be addressed.

The survey, which included 2,365 participants in 24 European countries and 105 from Turkey, showed that 55 percent of surveyed businessmen believe bribery has become common as a result of the global economic slowdown, while 35 percent of them believe it is acceptable to bribe someone to gain contracts in some sectors.

The survey also revealed that 16 percent of responding European businessmen believe corruption has significantly increased in their workplaces in the last two years, as compared with 17 percent among their Turkish counterparts. The rate in Turkey was only 14 percent in last year’s survey, suggesting that continuing economic pressure on the markets may have increased malpractice and unlawful behaviors.

The report prepared by Ernst and Young on the survey results records that 42 percent of the Turkish businessmen believe efforts of companies to combat corruption have increased. However, this rate was 46 percent in 2009, showing a 4 percent decline over the last two years. Of the European participants, 29 percent said measures tackling corruption had risen in their workplaces.

A widespread perception among Turkish survey takers, at 46 percent, is that legal repercussions are insufficient to solve the problem, while 41 percent called on lawmakers to strictly enforce the rules and regulations. The survey indicates 65 percent of Turkish respondents have conducted an internal investigation at their firms, while 47 percent of them claimed to enforce a code of conduct as a deterrent. Other methods implemented to deter employees from taking part in malpractice include external inspections and strict budget controls. However, Ernst and Young downplays the effectiveness of a code of conduct in workplaces where rules are not implemented effectively and rigorously enforced, suggesting that firms offer education courses.

Turkish respondents expressed that one of the main causes of corruption within businesses is the desire to reduce costs, as identified by 43 percent. Pressure to increase revenue from sales was also cited as a factor. Expectations and predictions of both Turkish and European respondents show similar percentages believe financial difficulties and job losses will continue, but these rates are lower compared to the results of the 2009 survey.

Due to pressure to increase the financial performance of their companies, 83 percent of managers stated that they are under high pressure, while 74 percent admitted they would use “shortcuts” in order to achieve targets.

Seventy percent of participants stated companies earn their reputation by their devotion to ethics, and 76 percent said they would not want to work at a place known for corruption and bribery. But 49 percent of them also reported having witnessed workers participating in unethical behaviors in order to move up in the company. Many respondents believe lawmakers are able to apply legislation against bribery or corruption but fail to penalize these crimes, but 46 percent of the Turkish participants are of the view that regulators do not hold the power to enforce legal penalties. A further 41 percent believe it is now impossible to stop the widespread practice of corruption and bribery.

The report concludes that 82 percent of participants say they would feel more comfortable if inspectors checked workplaces more often and more strictly; 91 percent stated they would like to see an increase in existing supervision.

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