Turkey: Parliament votes against trial of ex-ministers

A secret parliamentary vote in Turkey has decided not to send ex-ministers Bayraktar, Bagis, Guler and Caglayan on trial to face alleged graft charges

A secret parliamentary vote in Turkey has decided not to send ex-ministers Bayraktar, Bagis, Guler and Caglayan on trial to face alleged graft charges

ANKARA - A secret parliamentary vote has rejected calls for legal proceedings against all four former ministers at Turkey’s top court accused in an alleged graft case.

The secret ballot was held separately for former Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, former EU Minister Egemen Bagis, former Interior Minister Muammer Guler and former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan at Turkey’s Grand National Assembly in Ankara Tuesday night.

Out of 550 total members, 515 participated in the secret ballot to decide whether Bayraktar should stand trial at the Constitutional Court, known as the "Yuce Divan".

In the ballot, 219 voted in favor, while 288 voted against sending the former minister to court.

Three deputies abstained, while two votes were declared invalid and another three votes were left blank.

In the secret ballot for Bagis, 517 deputies participated in the vote, out of which 245 voted in favor, while 255 voted against sending the former minister to court. Seven deputies abstained, while four votes were declared invalid and another six votes were left blank.

In the vote for Guler, 513 deputies participated in the vote, out of which 241 voted in favor, while 258 voted against sending him to court. Six deputies abstained, while four votes were declared invalid and another four votes were left blank.

In the vote for Caglayan, 517 deputies participated out of which 242 voted in favor and 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 December 2013, a graft scandal targeted sons of Turkish officials and businessmen, including four ministers at the time, but charges were dropped in late 2014.

A 14-member inquiry commission voted against sending the former ministers on trial at Turkey's top court on Jan. 5.

In May 2014, the inquiry committee began its probe into corruption allegations against Caglayan, Guler, Bayraktar and Bagis.

The three officials had resigned from their posts after the anti-graft probe, while Bagis was later replaced in a cabinet reshuffle.

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