Openness and Accountability in Turkey in the Context of Accession to the European Union
There are many indicators showing the need for restructuring of the Turkish public administration. The basic nature and problems of the administrative functioning are mostly related to the bureaucratic culture from the past. Turkey has made important public administration reforms in recent years in order to change this bureaucratic culture, which is based on centralization and secrecy. The European Union (EU) is the most important external dynamic of these reforms aiming at openness, transparency, accountability, participation and ethical structuring in public administration. These principles are also an element of the European Administrative Space (EAS), EU governance and the subject of Europeanization in public administration. Among these principles, openness and accountability constitute the subject of this paper. Openness, transparency and accountability of government bear critical importance for the proper functioning of accession process. Within this period, a number of regulations have been passed to ensure institutionalization of an open and accountable administration, resulting in the establishment of new agencies in Turkey. However, although essential steps were taken in terms of openness and accountability before the accession negotiations began on October 3, 2005, the reforms entered into a phase of deceleration thereafter. Therefore, the reforms appear to have been affected by the development course of Turkey-EU relations and slowed down as the relations deteriorated. In this context, these reforms are examined under the following dimensions based on EU progress reports and relevant legal regulations: (i) openness and right to information, (ii) financial transparency and accountability, (iii) ethical principles for public officials.