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Western Balkans and Turkey: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

In Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey powerful patronage networks have infiltrated and consolidated their control of state institutions. These networks wield influence in many fundamental judiciary, law enforcement and anti-corruption institutions. As a result, politically independent and effective oversight and prosecution mechanisms can be absent, and corrupt officials and organised criminals can occasionally engage in acts of corruption with impunity. Overall, the region has lost momentum, neither moving forward nor regressing. There may be two exceptions to this, however. First, North Macedonia, which has elected a government that has signaled increased willingness to make headway against corruption. Second, Turkey, where the remnants of a political culture conducive to accountable governance is eroding.

11 November 2019
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Western Balkans and Turkey: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Main points

  • In all Western Balkan countries there are pervasive elements of neopatrimonialism.
  • Every country assessed lacks resilience to withstand attempts at state capture by patronage networks.
  • All the Western Balkan states have witnessed large-scale public protests in 2019 over corruption issues.
  • In Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia the overall situation in terms of corruption appears to be stuck at a status quo.
  • In North Macedonia, recent years have seen a number of positive developments. The challenge for North Macedonia is to maintain the momentum in its fight against corruption in the midst of political uncertainties.
  • Turkey is on a downward spiral of self-reinforcing violence and corruption.

Cite this publication

Bak, M.; (2019) Western Balkans and Turkey: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2019:17)

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Mathias Bak


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