No pressure on vote over ex-ministers' trial: Davutoglu

Turkish PM says 'no MPs forced to vote a certain way' in parliamentary decision not to send four former ministers to top court in graft case

Turkish PM says 'no MPs forced to vote a certain way' in parliamentary decision not to send four former ministers to top court in graft case

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said no pressure was exerted on parliamentarians who voted against sending four ex-ministers for trial at Turkey’s top court on graft charges.

His comments came on Wednesday, a day after a secret parliamentary vote rejected calls for legal proceedings to be taken against the former ministers, as he attended a forum on global strategy run under the auspices of the British Foreign Office at Wilton Park in London.

Davutoglu told reporters: "Different opinions that arose within the (ruling) AK Party demonstrate that we respect the legal process."

"None of our MPs were advised or forced to vote a certain way."

Secret ballots had been held separately a day earlier at Turkey’s Grand National Assembly in Ankara for former Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, former EU Minister Egemen Bagis, former Interior Minister Muammer Guler and former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan.

- 'Coup attempt'

Referring to the Dec. 17 and 25 anti-graft investigation, the premier said the Parliamentary decision was also an acknowledgment of the December 2013 coup attempts against the Turkish government before the March 30 local elections last year.

"The vote clearly endorses the December 17 and 25 anti-graft probes as a coup attempt," he said.

Davutoglu was also quick to deny any ulterior motive behind the timing of his UK visit.

"I cast my vote by proxy. The timing of this visit and the vote has no significant meaning whatsoever," he said.

- Secret ballot

A total of 515 out of 550 MPs 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.

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.

Seven deputies abstained, while four votes were declared invalid and another six votes were left blank.

Regarding Guler, 513 deputies participated with 241 voting in favor and 258 against.

Six deputies abstained, while four votes were declared invalid and another four were left blank.

For Caglayan, 517 deputies participated with 242 voting in favor and 264 against.

Seven deputies abstained, while three votes were declared invalid and one vote was blank.

Turkish officials and businessmen, including four ministers, were at the center of a graft probe in December 2013, but charges were dropped in late 2014.

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

An inquiry committee had begun its probe into corruption allegations against Caglayan, Guler, Bayraktar and Bagis in May 2014.

The three officials resigned from their posts after the investigation, while Bagis was later replaced in a cabinet reshuffle.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency