The Panama Papers Scandal In Turkey: A Firsthand Account – OpEd


Years ago, a prominent contracting firm faced continual rejection from major public sector entities. Despite their persistent bids and adherence to all stipulated requirements, success eluded them.

Enter a mysterious figure who approached the firm, offering insider knowledge for a consulting fee. A deal was struck with his Panamanian company, and a significant amount was transferred to an offshore account under the guise of consultancy fees.

Shortly after, a secretive tender was announced. All participants, including our contracting firm, submitted their bids in sealed envelopes minutes before the deadline. Post submission, all were promptly ushered out, ensuring no communication that could compromise the integrity of the process. Yet, astonishingly, our consultant provided our firm with confidential details of competitors’ bids.

Such breaches typically hint at higher-ups within public institutions, as lower-level employees rarely have the audacity for such actions. This is a global phenomenon, not just confined to our region.

Fresh out of university, I naively assumed this was standard procedure. Years passed, the implicated decision-makers retired, and the once-public entity was privatized, fading from the market. Yet, outdated practices persisted and evolved.

Today’s business landscape reveals a stark truth: securing tenders often hinges on political affiliations. This pushes businesses to explore opportunities in distant locales like Russia or the Middle East. How can enterprises thrive amid such challenges? Can they sustain escalating costs? The closed system hampers the economy and investment climate, affecting even the elite. As long as democratic elections empower citizens, we must trust in their collective wisdom.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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