Turkish parliament head says has no powers in graft probe

The Turkish parliamentary speaker says he is not allowed to intervene in parliamentary commission’s investigation into graft accusations against four ex-ministers

The Turkish parliamentary speaker says he is not allowed to intervene in parliamentary commission’s investigation into graft accusations against four ex-ministers

ANKARA - The Turkish parliamentary speaker is not allowed to intervene in the parliamentary commission’s investigation into graft accusations against four ex-ministers, the current speaker said Friday.

Cemil Cicek's comment came after a number of opposition lawmakers sent a letter to him Wednesday, requesting the speaker to check the "legality" of a parliamentary commission's decision not to refer four former ministers to the Constitutional Court for trial over corruption allegations.

"The parliamentary inquiry commissions’ legal investigations are different from other parliamentary commissions. The Turkish Constitution and Parliamentary Rules of Procedure forbid the parliamentary speaker from intervening in judicial activities. According to Article 138 of the Constitution, neither public authorities nor the people have the right to intervene the inquiry commissions’ judicial activities," Cicek said in a statement.

The corruption inquiry committee is expected to issue a report of its findings to parliament by Jan. 9. Lawmakers will then vote by secret ballot in the general assembly to determine whether the four former ministers will face a trial.

In May 2014, the inquiry committee began its investigation into corruption allegations against former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, ex-Interior Minister Muammer Guler, former Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar and former EU Minister Egemen Bagis.

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