AKP to vote with 'collective mind' on corruption voting

AKP to vote with 'collective mind' on corruption voting

AKP to vote with collective mind on corruption voting

AA Photo

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said he will allow his lawmakers to freely exercise their consciences in an upcoming parliamentary vote on whether to send four former ministers to the Supreme Council, adding that his MPs are of a “collective mind.”

“It’s not right to take a group decision or to sway [lawmakers’ decisions] in the General Assembly. But the AK Party group moves with a collective mind rather than individual assessments. No one should doubt that,” Davutoğlu told reporters while returning from Germany.

Lawmakers will vote whether to send former ministers Egemen Bağış, Zafer Çağlayan, Erdoğan Bayraktar and Muammer Güler to the Supreme Council to be tried on charges of corruption and graft in the coming days. Relying on majority votes from Justice and Development Party (AKP) members, a parliamentary inquiry panel decided not to dispatch the quartet to the top court, but there is still a risk that the ex-ministers could be sent to the court if at least 53 AKP lawmakers vote in favor of a trial. The vote is likely to take place next week. 

There were media claims that Davutoğlu met the four last month and asked them to announce their own will to be sent to the Supreme Council, which has never been denied. Speaking to reporters, Davutoğlu said he could talk to anybody at the party as the chairman but would not divulge the contents.

‘Paris march more than solidarity’

Davutoğlu also commented on the massive solidarity march in the French capital on Jan. 11 to protest the fatal attack on Charlie Hebdo.

“When we received the invitation on Saturday, I said, ‘We go tomorrow,’ without hesitation. Being in that picture has importance for the world, for Turks and Muslims in Europe and for the Turkish-French relationship. I don’t talk as Ahmet Davutoğlu. There would be nothing to replace the absence of the Turkish prime minister in that picture. This was a historic time and a mark put on history. Look, the White House issued an apology [over the absence of senior American officials],” he said.

The Turkish prime minister described the picture given on Jan. 11 as "more than solidarity," adding that his presence had helped all Muslims gain legitimacy.

“This shows Turkey’s importance. At a meeting with civil society organizations in France, they thanked us. ‘You strengthened our position in the eye of French society,’” he said.

‘Most meaningful attendance’

Many leaders who attended the march approached Davutoğlu to express their appreciation over his presence at the solidarity demonstration, he said.

“‘It’s very meaningful that everybody is here today but the most meaningful one is yours,’ so many leaders told me and thanked me. This indicates the legitimacy, the influence and the echo the march gained with the participation of the Turkish prime minister. It’s a very clear message to the world,” he said.

As the rise of extremist terrorism is threatening the entire world, the United States is planning to hold a world summit to discuss measures to fight against global terrorism on Feb. 18. Davutoğlu said no official invitation had yet been received from Washington, but added that Turkey would make its decision clear after seeing the scope and attendees of the meeting.