AKP vows free will of MPs in graft vote

AKP vows free will of MPs in graft vote

AKP vows free will of MPs in graft vote

‘Everybody will make a decision with own conscience,’ Atalay says.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has pledged to respect the free will of its members of Parliament in an upcoming vote on regarding an inquiry into corruption allegations.

The parliamentary inquiry commission will vote on Dec. 22 on whether to send the four former ministers involved in Turkey’s Dec. 17 and 25 of 2013 corruption probe to the Supreme Council. No party decisions have been made on the issue, as it was not on the agenda in the Central Executive Board’s (MYK) latest meeting held earlier this week either, AKP deputy leader Beşir Atalay said in response to questions at a press conference on Dec. 19.

“Investigation commissions are very important at Parliament. They are like a judiciary, they have such authority. They are listening to testimonies and collecting documents, thus the decision will be made by the commission, too. There, everybody will make a decision with their own conscience,” Atalay said, referring to the Dec. 22 vote on Zafer Çağlayan, Muammer Güler, Egemen Bağış and Erdoğan Bayraktar.

The judicial process on the claims has already expired and charges against the ministers have been dropped, with the commission remaining as the sole active process.

After the commission finalizes its work, a secret vote on whether the four will be sent to the Supreme Council will be held at the General Assembly. At least 276 votes are required to send the former Cabinet members to the Supreme Council, which is the name that the Constitutional Court takes when it tries ministers and senior members of the judiciary.

Under broad immunity as MPs, they can only be tried at the Supreme Council if Parliament votes for it, though the AKP has a clear majority at the General Assembly.