Turkish committee votes against trial of ex-ministers

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey will now give its final decision over the trial of four former ministers accused of corruption

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey will now give its final decision over the trial of four former ministers accused of corruption

ANKARA - A 14-member Turkish parliamentary committee Monday voted against sending four former ministers to trial over corruption allegations.

Nine members voted against and five voted in favor of a trial, Committee President Hakki Koylu said.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan tweeted Monday that the decision was the inquiry committee's decision not the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's decision.

"This decision is not AK Party's decision, it is a free and independent decision of the committee members. There has been no intervention in the committee," Akdogan said.

In May, the inquiry committee began its probe into corruption allegations against former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, former Interior Minister Muammer Guler and former Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar.

The three officials resigned from their posts after an anti-graft probe was launched on Dec. 17, 2013, while EU Minister Egemen Bagis was later replaced in a cabinet reshuffle.

Now, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey will give its final decision over the trial of the four former ministers.

After the corruption inquiry committee issues a report of its findings to the parliament until Jan. 9, the lawmakers will vote by secret ballot at the assembly. 

If the members of parliament approve the report with an absolute majority of 276 votes in the 550-seat Turkish parliament, then the four former ministers will stand trial at the country's Constitutional Court, known as the "Yuce Divan."

The committee is comprised of 14 members of parliament from different political parties, except for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, whose member withdrew from the committee.

The ruling Justice and Development Party is represented on the committee with nine members, the main opposition Republican People's Party with four and the Nationalist Movement Party with one.

Voting in the parliamentary committee was postponed to Jan. 5 after the three ministers, excluding Bayraktar, objected to the report of Turkey's Financial Crimes Investigation Board into their assets.

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