Turkey's Parliament speaker claims no authority on graft evidence destruction
Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek. AA PhotoThe decision on what to do with the primary evidence in the corruption probe against four ex-ministers belongs to the corruption inquiry commission, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has said, rejecting appeals from opposition lawmakers to save the evidence.
“It’s not possible for the office of the Parliament speaker to act in a way that could be interpreted as an intervention into a judicial process. The responsibility of any sort of work or act belongs to the commission,” Çiçek said in a written reply to the appeal, which was jointly made by three opposition lawmakers.
Opposition parties had officially demanded that Çiçek stop the destruction of evidence after the commission decided that there was no need to send four former ministers to the Supreme Council. The commission also ruled in favor of the destruction of evidence in the initial police investigations, which were mainly composed of wiretapped phone conversations of former ministers with their family members.
Çiçek’s reply came on the last day of the commission’s deadline to submit its report about its months-long probe into the corruption and graft allegations against Egemen Bağış, Zafer Çağlayan, Muammer Güler and Erdoğan Bayraktar. Parliament’s General Assembly is expected to vote on these ruling party members in late January.
Meanwhile, Oktay Vural, the deputy parliamentary group leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has vowed they will “never cease” their efforts to put the ministers in question before the court, hinting that they might take the case to the Constitutional Court.
“There are so many other procedures that could continue this process. One of them is the Constitutional Court,” Vural said.