Turkey ex-ministers won`t stand trial over graft scandal: Commission
The case of four former Turkish ministers who resigned over a 2013 graft scandal that shook the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not be sent to trial, a parliamentary commission ruled Monday.
Ankara: The case of four former Turkish ministers who resigned over a 2013 graft scandal that shook the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not be sent to trial, a parliamentary commission ruled Monday.
The commission, dominated by MPs from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), ruled against sending the cases to the Supreme Council court, its chairman Hakki Koylu said on national television.
Former interior minister Muammer Guler, ex-environment minister Erdogan Bayraktar, ex-economy minister Zafer Caglayan and ex-EU affairs minister Egemen Bagis faced accusations of bribery and influence-peddling.
"The vote was open. Everyone expressed their opinion, and cast his vote. Every allegation, every name was discussed. The vote was cast accordingly," Koylu was quoted as saying by NTV television.
The nine AKP members voted against sending the cases with only five opposition members in favour, he added. The commission of inquiry will draw up a report on the probe which will be sent to parliament by January 9, he said.
The decision appears to draw a line under the scandal which blew up in December 2013 and rocked the government of Erdogan, who was then prime minister.
The sons of Guler, Bayraktar and Caglayan were detained by police at the time as well as a host of other prominent figures who were later released.
Prosecutors have since dropped the criminal case against 53 people due to a "lack of evidence" and the commission`s decision may now permanently bury efforts for prosecutions.
Erdogan angrily claimed the scandal was the brainchild of his ally-turned-foe, the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose Hizmet (Service) group the authorities have since moved to destroy with dozens of arrests.