Government launched probe into former culture minister over tenure

Government launched probe into former culture minister over tenure

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Government launched probe into former culture minister over tenure

Cihan Photo

An investigation file that was signed by current Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik about his predecessor, Ertuğrul Günay, over his activities during his tenure has been sent to Turkey’s parliament for a probe.

The investigation file was opened into the foreign purchases during Günay’s tenure, which lasted from August 2007 to January 2013, when four ministries, including the Culture and Tourism Ministry, were subject to a cabinet reshuffle. 

The file builds upon a report prepared by the Committee of Inspection that dates to Sept. 10, 2014, which states that Günay had responsibility over the ministry’s foreign purchases during his time in the office. 

Replying to a question about the file being sent to parliament, Günay said he was unaware of the investigation. 

“I would be honored to account for all kinds of work I did during my ministerial tenure and also share these with the public,” Günay said. 

Stating that all the departments of the ministry had generated much more income during his tenure when compared with former eras, Günay said they had conducted very productive works. 

The investigation file about Günay will be one of the first files the 25th parliament term will discuss, after the new deputies take an oath at the General Assembly. The file will be read out loud and made available to the deputies, each of whom must then decide whether a parliamentary inquiry is necessary.

For a parliamentary inquiry to the opened into current or former prime ministers and ministers, at least 10 percent of the total number of deputies need to enter a motion. If the motion is accepted following a discussion, an inquiry commission will be established. The commission will prepare a report building on their own investigations and will conduct a vote among themselves to decide whether or not to send a minister to the Supreme Council. However, the last decision to send a minister to the Supreme Council will be determined via a secret ballot in the General Assembly. 

The latest such vote at the General Assembly took place during on Jan. 20, during which the fates of four former ministers facing corruption charges were decided. 

The parliament acquitted the quartet, ex-Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, ex-EU Minister Egemen Bağış, ex-Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar and ex-Interior Minister Muammer Güler, who faced graft charges, thanks to the votes of the then-ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies. 

The former ministers faced charges in Turkey’s biggest ever corruption case, which was launched in two different cases on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013. 

The smaller of two dossiers, the Dec. 25 investigation, was dropped by a newly appointed prosecutor in September 2014. 

The larger of two dossiers in the graft investigations, on the other hand, was dropped by a new prosecutor in October 2014. Some 53 graft suspects including former ministers’ sons, the former manager of Halkbank, and a controversial Iranian-Azeri businessman were implicated in the Dec. 17 investigation.

The current move, however, is likely to bring investigations being opened into former ministers.