Turkish parliament votes against sending ex-ministers to top court over graft charges
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJan 20, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jan 20, 2015 12:00 am
The Turkish parliament general assembly has voted against the graft trial Tuesday for the two ex-ministers implicated in corruption investigation in 2013 to top court.
A secret parliamentary vote has rejected calls for legal proceedings against former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and former Interior Minister Muammer Güler at Turkey's top court in an alleged graft case.
Out of 550 total members, 517 of Turkey's Grand National Assembly participated in the secret ballot to decide whether Çağlayan should stand trial at the Constitutional Court, known as the "Yüce Divan".
In the ballot, 242 voted in favor, while 264 voted against sending the former minister to court.
Seven deputies abstained, while three votes were declared invalid and one vote was left blank.
In the secret ballot concerning Güler, 241 voted in favor, while 258 voted against sending the former minister to court.
The voting for the other two ex-ministers Erdoğan Bayraktar and Egemen Bağış is expected to last until midnight.
Four former ministers were targeted in an operation, which was allegedly orchestrated by the Gülen Movement in an attempt to topple the government. The group which is believed to have infiltrated the government's key bodies such as the judiciary and the police is accused of planning a coup by launching December 17 and December 25 operations in 2013.
A 14-member Parliamentary commission was established after the investigation implicating the ministers became public. The commission, which looked into the corruption allegations against four former ministers, decided on January 5 that there are no grounds to send former ministers to the Constitutional Court to be tried.
In May, the inquiry commission began a probe into corruption allegations against former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar. The three officials resigned from their posts after an anti-graft probe was launched on December 17, 2013, while EU Minister Egemen Bağış was later replaced in a Cabinet reshuffle.
Each of the former ministers defended themselves for ten minutes in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) and deputies voted on the motion via secret ballot.
Çağlayan is accused of being opposed to an anti-smuggling law, forgery of official documents and bribery. Güler is accused of forging official documents, abuse of power, violation of privacy and bribery. Bayraktar is accused of abuse of power and Bağış is accused of abuse of position and bribery.