Former Turkish minister cleared in graft probe ‘will not run for parliament’
CİHAN PhotoZafer Çağlayan, a ruling party deputy who was among the four ministers accused in Turkey’s largest ever corruption probe, has announced that he will not run for parliament in the June 7 general elections.
“As is known, I quit my post as a minister of my own will after the Dec. 17  post-modern coup attempt, targeting Turkey and the president via my fellow ministers and myself, a black mark on the country’s political history,” former Economy Minister Çağlayan said in a written statement on Feb. 6, citing continuing health problems with his heart during this process and saying his treatment was continuing.
He ruled out claims that he would be a candidate in the elections, recalling that he made public on Dec. 8, 2013, days before the start of the graft probe, that he would not run for parliament.
The four ministers involved in the corruption allegations were cleared by a court decision after the reassignment of judicial officials, while a Jan. 20 parliamentary vote after a commission study finally quashed all investigations. However, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to keep its well-known unity during the voting, with dozens of its deputies voting to send the former ministers to the Supreme Court. Çağlayan was absent at parliament during the vote, as he was attending the funeral of his stepmother.
The former economy minister had hit headlines due to his acceptance of a bribe worth 700,000 Turkish Liras from Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, along with a luxury piano. Some 37 AKP deputies voted to send him to the Supreme Council on Jan. 20.
Former European Union Minister Egemen Bağış cannot run for parliament due to the internal AKP rule barring politicians from being an MP for more than three consecutive terms. Daily Cumhuriyet recently reported that the other former ministers involved in the corruption allegations were demanding to be AKP candidates in the June election, but AKP spokesperson Beşir Atalay said on Jan. 28 he did not have any knowledge on the issue.