Friday, 7 December, 2001, 18:58 GMT
Corruption scandal rocks Turkey
The scandal re-opened corruption debates in public life
By Tabitha Morgan in Istanbul

Senior Turkish Government officials are facing corruption charges after footage of the men apparently accepting bribes was broadcast live on private television on Thursday night.

Turkish villagers
Many Turks do not trust their public servants

The two men - one of them a senior official in the prime minister's office - were filmed by secret cameras as they negotiated with a journalist posing as a businessman anxious to strike a deal.

Turkish television viewers were rivetted as they watched the men - stuffing bundles of notes into their pockets after they agreed to help secure state funding for a tourism project in return for payments of more than a $140,000.

The set-up was instigated by Turkish television journalist Taner Dileklen, who posed as a businessman seeking government money and the chance to rent government owned land for his tourism venture on the Mediterranean Coast.

The government officials were arrested by plain-clothes policemen after they promised to help the bogus businessman to get his hands on government funds.


The incident provided compulsive viewing, but it also reopened the debate about corruption in public life, something that is endemic in Turkish society and which is considered to have played a major role in the collapse of the country's economy.

Despite government promises that it would crack down on government corruption, many people feel that it has so far failed to tackle the problem at the highest levels.

With rising unemployment and more and more people living below the poverty line, this latest expose will merely confirm the disillusionment that ordinary Turks feel about the integrity of their public servants.

Turkey's minister in charge of anti-corruption measures has resigned from his party and the government a day after demotion in a cabinet reshuffle.

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