Ranked 43 out of 57

Turkey

Overall Score: 67

Indicators of Influence

These seven key indicators highlight interference from the tobacco industry in Turkey.

No. 1

Industry participation in policy development:

Indicator Score:

16 / 20

The tobacco industry has a voice in policy development in Turkey.

A former public official and board member of British American Tobacco (BAT) Turkey was appointed Vice Minister of Commerce by Presidential Decision in Turkey in January 2019.

The tobacco industry is represented in two large industry organizations, the Turkish Exporters Assembly and The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey. Both organizations publicly declare that they “submit opinions and comments to the political power, to concerned ministries and parliamentary commissions regarding laws and regulations in draft form or in force,” and “perform consultative functions, with specialization committees made up of experienced academicians and upper-level bureaucrats of concerned public and private agencies.”

No. 2

Tobacco industry-related CSR activities:

Indicator Score:

0 / 20

There is no evidence gathered to evaluate the participation of government officials in tobacco industry CSR activities.

No. 3

Benefits given to the tobacco industry:

Indicator Score:

9 / 20

There have been pending regulations like implementing WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3 since 2004.

Concerning the plain packaging law, the implementation date at the manufacturing level has been postponed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Also, the location of the product name has been moved to the visible front of the package, below the brand name.

In Turkey, the fixed tax is imposed automatically twice a year on tobacco products in line with producer price inflation. This implementation was canceled by a presidential decision saying it would not be implemented in the first half of 2020 to keep the inflation rate low.

In 2019, the government supplied investment incentives in the form of either VAT or customs duty exemption to 12 domestic tobacco companies.

No. 4

Unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry:

Indicator Score:

5 / 20

Top level government officials including the President and the Commerce Minister attended social functions and events like presenting awards to tobacco industry representatives for their success in exports/sales.

No. 5

Procedure for transparency measures:

Indicator Score:

10 / 20

The government does not publicly disclose its meetings or interactions with the tobacco industry. Any industry interference can only be noted through media monitoring by civil society actors.

No. 6

Avoiding conflicts of interest:

Indicator Score:

5 / 20

The government does not prohibit contributions from the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to political parties, candidates or campaigns or to require full disclosure of such contributions.

There is no evidence of retired senior government officials form part of the tobacco industry, nor any record of current government officials holding positions in the tobacco industry.

No. 7

Preventive measures:

Indicator Score:

22 / 30

Law No. 4703 requires the tobacco industry to periodically submit information on tobacco production and manufacture. Revenues are in the scope of Tax Procedure Law. Any other activity, including lobbying, philanthropy, political contributions and all other activities are not allowed by Law No 4207. However, the government does not have program or plan to consistently raise awareness within its departments on policies related to Article 5.3. Moreover, despite FCTC rules, the government does not publicly disclose its meetings or interactions with the tobacco industry.

Recommendations

These are ways Turkey can deter interference from the tobacco industry:

  • Implement and enforce Article 5.3 of the FCTC.
  • Consistently raise awareness within departments on policies related to Article 5.3.
  • Create a mechanism for public disclosure of meetings or interactions with the tobacco industry.
  • Limit interaction with the tobacco industry to only when strictly necessary, such as for the purposes of controlling, regulating and supervising.
  • Adopt and implement a code of conduct for public officials, prescribing the standards they should comply with in their dealings with the tobacco industry.

Learn more about tobacco industry interference in this country.

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