A public perception study on bribery as a crime in Turkey

Author:Serkan Benk, Robert W. McGee, Tamer Budak
Position:Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey

Purpose The purpose of this study is to explore the perception of Turkish citizens of the severity of bribery relative to other crimes and violations. Design/methodology/approach A questionnaire survey was administered to 545 Turkish people respondents. A five-point Likert scale that measures attitudes and behaviors using answer choices was used to categorize the degree ... (see full summary)

A public perception study on
bribery as a crime in Turkey
Serkan Benk
Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey
Robert W. McGee
College of Business and Economics, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville,
North Carolina, USA, and
Tamer Budak
Faculty of Law, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey
Purpose The purpose of this study is to explore the perception of Turkish citizens of the severity of
briberyrelative to other crimes and violations.
Design/methodology/approach A questionnaire survey was administered to 545 Turkish people
respondents. A ve-point Likertscale that measures attitudes and behaviors using answerchoices was used
to categorizethe degree of seriousness of each crime for data analysis.
Findings The results of thestudy show that bribery ranked 16th among the 33 offencessurveyed, that is,
it lies in the middlein terms of seriousness. The results also indicate that theaverage person views bribery as
not a very serious crime. When compared to violent crimes, bribery is signicantly less serious.As for the
property crimes, bribery is signicantly less serious than arson and carjacking, but it signicantly more
serious than damage to public property, shoplifting and bike theft. When compared to white-collar crimes,
bribery is remarkably less serious than embezzlement and appreciably more serious than welfare fraud,
insider trading, child labor, minimum wage and insurance fraud. The resultsof this study are substantial;
generalpublic do not perceive bribe as a serious crime.
Originality/value This is an important study in relation to Turkey. This is as a pioneer study that
indicates the relationship between bribery as a crime and other offences in Turkey. The results of this study
should be useful to policy-makers in Turkey and elsewhere. Another important sight of this study is the fact that
the results show different correlations with similar studies put through in the other countries. According to the
studies, bribery was the least serious crime in Australia and New Zealand; it ranked in the middle in terms of
seriousness in Mexico, similar to Turkey; and it was also less serious than the average offense in the USA.
Keywords Turkey, Public perceptions, Perceptions, Crimes, Bribery, White-collar crime
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The concept of crime is a broadand multifaceted one. Even jurists cannot agree on whatis a
crime and what is not. Accordingto one strain of thought, a crime must have a victim. The
obvious examples of suchcrimes would be murder, robbery and assault. In all these cases, it
is easy to identify a victim. But what about prostitution, taking an illegal drug (especially
medical marijuana, which has proven healthbenets) or going through a stop sign at 2 a.m.
when there is no one else around? These so-calledcrimes do not have victims. According to
one view, such acts should not be categorized as crimes, and thus should not be punished.
Yet others disagree, and in many jurisdictions, these acts are classied as crimes even
though there is no victim.
Bribery as a
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.25 No. 2, 2018
pp. 337-353
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-07-2017-0061
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Of course, one could arguethat some of these so-called victimless crimes actually do have
victims. For example, a prostitute tarnishes her (or his) soul by committing immoral acts
even if there is no victim. Such individualsharm themselves mentally even if not physically,
and if their acts result in transferring disease to others, then there are victims. But in such
cases, one may sue for being infected with the disease. Even if acts of prostitution are legal
in some jurisdictions (which they are), the act of transmitting a disease can be separated
from the act of prostitution.
Then, there are acts that are treated as crimes in some jurisdictions but not others
because of differing underlying premises. Abortion is one example. Abortion is considered
to be murder in some jurisdictions, while in others, it is perfectly legal, just another form of
birth control. Where it is considered murder, the underlying premise is that life begins at
conception, and the termination of a human life in this case does not constitute justiable
homicide. Thus, it is murder.
In jurisdictions where abortionis legal, the underlying premise is that the fertilized egg is
just an accumulation of cells, not a viable human being, and thus is not entitled to legal
protection, whichleads to the question:
Q1. At what point does this accumulationof cells acquire rights, such as the right not to
have his/her lifeterminated?
Jurists and legislaturescannot agree on the answer to this question.
One can push this concept furtherin the case of partial birth abortion. In this procedure, a
medical professional terminates the life of the unborn child in the late stages of the
pregnancy, perhaps minutes or seconds before it comes into the world. This procedure is
legal in some jurisdictions,but not in others. Then, there is the question of whether a woman
(or her doctor) who lives in a jurisdiction where abortion is illegal travels to a jurisdiction
where it is legal, have the proceduredone and then return to their home jurisdiction can be
prosecuted, as the act was performed in another jurisdiction. In some cases, they can be
prosecuted, but not in other cases.
Another controversial issue involves having sex with children. Some men travel to
certain Asian countries to have sex with many women. These individuals are called sex
tourists. Some travel agencies even specialize in making arrangements for these men,
booking ights and hotels, and perhaps even offering discount coupons to establishments
that provide opportunities for sexual encounters. In some cases, these men have sex with
children, which may or may not be legal in the jurisdiction where the act takesplace. When
they return home, their country of residency sometimes prosecutes thesemen, even though
the crime (if it was a crime) was committed in another jurisdiction. Such prosecutions raise
at least two legal questions:
Q2. Can the home jurisdiction prosecute individuals if they have committed a crime in
another jurisdiction?
Q3. Can the home jurisdiction prosecute someone for committing an act that is a crime
in the home jurisdiction if it is not a crime in the jurisdiction where the act was
Another question that can be raised is at what age can an individual give consent. If
someone has sex with a child who is below the age of consent, it is a crime, but the age of
consent may be different in different jurisdictions.For example, in the USA, each of the 50
states has its own laws about the age of consentand the minimum age for marriage. In some
states, a girl may marry with parental consent at the age of 14, whilein other states, it may

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