Transparency International released its 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (“CPI”) on 27 January 2015 in Berlin. Established in 1995, the CPI has become one of the most widely recognized indicators of corruption worldwide. Denmark took the top spot in 2015 for the second year running, with Finland and Sweden also performing well. North Korea and Somalia are the worst performers in 2015. Turkey’s ranking declined in 2015. During the 2015 announcement, Transparency International noted that “Not one single country, anywhere in the world, is corruption-free”.

2015 sees Turkey’s CPI performance continue to decline. Turkey drops three points compared to 2014, scoring 42 out of 100. The drop translates to a decline in Turkey’s overall ranking from 64th in 2014, to 66th in 2015. According to Transparency International, Turkey’s decline reflects an adverse and unfavorable deterioration of the reforms which were previously noted as improvements over the last few years. With this score, the gap between EU states and Turkey increases.

Turkey is identified among the big decliners since 2012, together with Libya, Australia, Brazil and Spain. Transparency International notes the deteriorating perception of public sector corruption in Turkey, along with a number of other European states, as “very worrying”, with further emphasis placed on shrinking civil society space and free media.

Transparency International voiced concerns about low implementation levels in European states, despite collectively having an average score of 67, which is the highest average among the six regions identified in the report. Key elements to improve corruption perceptions globally are financial sector reform, increases in enforcement levels, media freedom, as well as civil society space.

On another note, despite the Nordic presence at the top of 2015’s rankings, Transparency International noted concerns about four big corruption cases in Eurasian markets, involving companies from these otherwise top performing countries.

Key points from the 2015 CPI announcement include:

  • Global average CPI score of 43.
  • Two out of every three countries worldwide score below 50.
  • 53% of G20 countries score less than 50.
  • 100% of BRIC countries score less than 50.

The CPI ranks 168 participating countries/territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be. The rankings are based on a combination of corruption surveys and assessments, collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The scores are given on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Highly regarded economic studies reflect a correlation between a country’s CPI scores and long-term economic growth, as well as a link between CPI scores and dependence of foreign investment flow.

The index is not based on hard empirical hard data, but rather aims to capture perceptions of public sector corruption across 168 countries. By the nature of corruption, the number of prosecutions brought in a country against corruption or the number of reported bribes themselves are not reliable methods to identify all possible deliberately hidden illegal corrupt activities.