Turkey's main opposition set to file censure motion against Justice Minister Bozdağ
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ is set to face a new summary of proceedings. AA photoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced that it will soon file a censure motion against Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, for committing a constitutional crime by not sending summaries of proceedings about four former Cabinet members to Parliament.
“The justice minister has committed a constitutional crime by not sending information, documents or a summary of proceedings, which were passed to him, to Parliament. He also misused his duty. Within this framework, a censure motion against the justice minister will be brought onto the agenda of Parliament by our party in the coming days,” CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Engin Altay said during a press conference at Parliament on Feb. 6.
Altay also stressed that the replacement of prosecutors throughout the ongoing graft probe has led to the perception that bribery and corruption claims are trying to be covered up.
Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek announced on Feb. 5 that the Justice Ministry had sent summaries of proceedings against four former ministers back to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor who had drafted the proceedings has, in the meanwhile, been replaced with another prosecutor. The Justice Ministry reportedly sent back the proceedings only after former prosecutor involved in the issue was replaced.
Earlier, as of Jan. 29, a summary of proceedings filed by an İzmir public prosecutor against Bozdağ was dismissed by Parliament, on the grounds that it was not in line with ordinary procedures.
The legal procedure had been launched to denounce an intervention into investigations by the executive, after Bozdağ acknowledged that the ministry’s undersecretary had called a chief prosecutor conducting a probe into fraud claims at İzmir Harbor.
Such incidents of tension between judges and prosecutors and the Justice Ministry come as ties between the government and the movement of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen are more strained than ever, in the wake of a corruption probe launched in December. In response to the scandal, the government responded with massive purges at the Police Department and a move to increase its control over the judiciary.
A summary of proceedings about former Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar has also been drafted as Turkey’s state-run housing agency, the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ), working under the Prime Ministry, was involved in the corruption allegations. Bayraktar was the former head of the body.
Former EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış, former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan were all subject to summaries of proceedings because of corruption and bribery allegations.
Prosecutor blocked in Adana
Meanwhile, CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan said on Feb. 6 that the Adana Chief Prosecutor’s Office had drafted a summary of proceedings about Bozdağ because he intervened in a prosecutor’s attempt to search a truck allegedly carrying weapons and ammunition en route to Syria. Bozdağ had blocked the prosecutor, with the mediation of the Hatay governor.
The police were prevented from searching the truck’s cargo by an official order from Governor Celalettin Lekesiz, who said the cargo was a state secret.
Tezcan also said two more summaries of proceedings were underway regarding ministers, without naming who those ministers were.
“All summaries of proceedings are underway; they [the government] may try to water them down but they are not strong enough to do so,” he added.