Turkish Parliament's corruption panel may disappear before even working

Turkish Parliament's corruption panel may disappear before even working

Turkish Parliaments corruption panel may disappear before even working

Former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former EU Minister Egemen Bağış and former Interior Minister Muammer Güler (L-R) are all implicated in the graft allegations. DHA photo

An opposition lawmaker has warned that the term of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into corruption claims against four former Cabinet members is about to expire, before the commission has even held a substantial meeting.

The commission has so far gathered only once for procedural arrangements, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Mesut Dedeoğlu, a member of the commission, said at a press conference on Oct. 15, claiming that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been hampering the commission’s progress.

The commission is set to convene and decide whether to extend its term on Oct. 16.

Parliament decided to establish an investigation commission to probe former ministers Zafer Çağlayan, Egemen Bağış, Muammer Güler and Egemen Bağış on May 5, after deliberations between political parties. However, the commission wasn’t able to hold its first meeting until early July.

According to formal procedure, investigation commissions can only function temporarily for four months. The first two months constitute the commission’s original tenure, while the final two months function as an extension.

The four ministers resigned from the Cabinet after a massive corruption and graft operation highlighted their relations with Iranian-origin businessman Reza Zarrab, who has allegedly paid them a number of bribes over the last few years. 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.