Former minister Bağış knows he will face top court: CHP deputy

Former minister Bağış knows he will face top court: CHP deputy

Former minister Bağış knows he will face top court: CHP deputy

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One of the four former ministers embroiled in corruption allegations, Egemen Bağış, said he was almost sure that he would eventually testify at the top court, even though he was cleared in a Jan. 20 parliamentary vote on the issue, an opposition party deputy has claimed.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali Özgündüz said he met Bağış after the Jan. 20 vote at Parliament’s General Assembly, during which parliament voted against putting the ministers on trial. Although the former ministers survived the vote, dozens of ruling party lawmakers broke ranks and breached party discipline to vote against them.

Speaking to private broadcaster CNN Türk, Özgündüz quoted Bağış as telling him that he “knew he would eventually be sent to the Supreme Council.” Asked why he was against being sent to the top court, Bağış reportedly said he “did not trust the Constitutional Court at the moment.”

The Supreme Council is the name that the Constitutional Court takes when it tries ministers and senior members of the judiciary. Bağış, the former EU minister, received the least number of votes in support from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers on Jan. 20. 

‘Making fun of the Quran’

A senior AKP executive, meanwhile, slammed former ministers implicated in corruption, accusing them of unethical attitudes and suggesting that their actions prompted dozens of colleagues to vote against them. AKP Deputy Chair Mehmet Ali Şahin suggested that the reason why AKP deputies hesitated to pledge their support to Bağış was a leaked voice recording in which the former minister is heard making fun of the name of a verse in the Quran.

“I know that his statement about one of the verses of the Quran is still a reason for the pain in the souls of our lawmakers. We are still talking about that. It’s a reaction against this,” Şahin said in televised remarks late on Jan. 21. 

Speaking to reporters in Davos where he was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stressed that the government had not put any pressure on deputies to vote a particular way.

In Ankara, AKP’s Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş ruled out efforts to pursue and identify the party deputies who voted against the former ministers, as such a move would mean “disrespect to both the national will and the deputies.”

Elitaş thus disowned remarks from AKP deputy Şamil Tayyar who cited a “network of treason among us,” arguing that those who broke the party lines “would be identified within 48 hours, as the time for a cleansing in the party has come.”

“This is a statement beyond its limits, and is not binding for our group,” Elitaş said of Tayyar’s remarks.