Members of a parliamentary commission investigating the alleged corruption of four ministers are purportedly being denied access to the summaries of proceedings regarding the accused ministers.
Three ministers resigned and one was removed from his post following a major corruption investigation that went public on Dec. 17, 2013, when the prosecutors carrying out the probe ordered the detention of several businessmen and the sons of three of the ministers implicated. Although the ministers are no longer in their posts, the investigation has been stonewalled by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, which accuses a “parallel structure” plotting against it of being behind the corruption investigation.
Although the investigation has been stalled effectively, an investigation commission in Parliament has been set up in Parliament to look into the allegations about the four ministers. However, the prosecutor’s office has refused to send the summaries of proceedings against the ministers, according to a report published in the Taraf daily on Friday.
Taraf claimed that the commission initially had a copy of the summaries of proceedings against the four men, but the AK Party’s Hakkı Köylü, who chairs the commission, at some point sent the summaries back to the prosecutor’s office on the grounds that they lacked an index. Erdal Aksünger, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) member of the commission, later requested the summaries from the prosecutor’s office, but, according to Taraf’s report, the prosecutor’s office has said only the Parliament Speaker’s Office is entitled to share the requested files with the commission, turning down the deputy’s request.
The four implicated ministers are former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former Interior Minister Muammer Güler, former EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış and former Environmental and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar.
Parliament adopted a decision to set up a commission two-and-a-half months ago, but the process has been moving on slowly. Recently, the CHP, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) called for an emergency meeting, in response to the tardiness in the delivery of the summaries of proceedings. However, the AK Party members of the commission, who take up nine seats, did not attend the meeting, making it impossible for the members of the opposition parties to meet the quorum needed to convene a commission meeting. It was after this failure to convene the commission that Aksünger requested a copy of the summaries from the prosecutor.
Aksünger told Taraf that if as the prosecutor says the summaries can be delivered to the commission through the Parliament Speaker’s Office, that means the commission’s chairman did not have the right to send the summaries back to the prosecutor’s office of his own accord. “This serves as evidence that the chairman has committed a crime and overstepped his authority,” said the CHP deputy.