Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is relying on its parliamentary majority to block opposition efforts to delve deeper into graft charges against former cabinet members as local elections loom.
Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, citing secrecy of court documents, wants to fend off demands by three opposition parties to open a debate today on a judicial request to lift the ex-ministers’ immunity so they can be tried on corruption charges. Haluk Koc, deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People’s Party, said the original version of the charge sheet was already leaked on the Internet.
Zafer Caglayan, Muammer Guler and Erdogan Bayraktar, former ministers for economy, interior and environment, respectively, were dismissed in a Dec. 25 cabinet reshuffle, a week after their sons were detained with dozens of other suspects charged with gold smuggling, bribery and bid-rigging. European Union Minister Egemen Bagis was fired later after he, too, was implicated in the probe. All four have denied wrongdoing.