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Erdoğan deputy says graft debate must be taken seriously

ISTANBUL - 24.04.2014 18:21:24

Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan stressed on Thursday that no tolerance should be shown in fighting corruption and that the claims made in the corruption probe should be taken seriously.

“These [transparency and accountability] are important principles. If transparency is lacking and darkness persists, you know that there is something wrong,” said Babacan, adding that those principles are sine qua non for being a predictable country.

On Dec. 17, 2013, İstanbul and Ankara police staged dawn raids and detained more than 50 people as part of a major investigation of corruption and bribery. Among the detainees were bureaucrats, well-known businesspeople and the sons of three Cabinet ministers. Allegations that several ministers were also implicated in bribery followed. The suspects are accused of rigging state tenders, accepting and facilitating bribes for major urbanization projects, obtaining construction permits for protected land areas in exchange for money, helping foreigners to obtain Turkish citizenship through falsified documents, involvement in export fraud, forgery of documents and gold smuggling.

Speaking at an award ceremony organized by Dünya newspaper and DHL Express for top exporters, Babacan put a strong emphasis on the importance of the rule of law and establishing justice.

Stressing that some countries do not have to deal with problems of democracy and human rights due to opportunities they have, Babacan said that the sole solution for Turkey is to establish a better functioning democracy and to reach the highest standards in fundamental rights and freedoms and to implement the rule of law in the best way possible.

The deputy prime minister maintained that European Union's legal standards are a reference point for Turkey. “We do not need to look other places for these (legal standards). If we cannot become a state of law, if democracy continues to be absent, our economy cannot reach the point we hope for,” Babacan said.

Babacan also emphasized that if a forward-moving environment cannot be established in Turkey, the 2023 targets will only be a dream.

The year 2023 marks the centennial of the Turkish Republic and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has set the ambitious economic goals of becoming the world's 10th largest economy, exporting $500 billion worth of goods and raising its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita to $25,000 for that year.

However, Babacan noted that Turkey had not been able to increase its GDP from $10,000 to $11,000 yet. “A market economy subject to regulations is important. We need not a Turkey that is governed by the rule of the jungle, but a business environment where regulations are implemented in accordance with the rule of law, equal opportunity and being non-discriminatory. We have to be just,” said the deputy prime minister.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman)

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