The group, which calls itself Farklı Ülkücülük (Different Idealism), said earlier last week in a letter published on its website that MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli had until 10 a.m. on May 18 to resign. “We are giving you a final warning. We do not want to release tapes that we have in our possession,” the letter said, warning that the videos released so far are only “the tip of the iceberg.”
Hours before the deadline set for Bahçeli to resign, the group posted a new message and announced the names of those featured in the sex videos in its possession. The names included four MHP deputy chairmen as well as the party's secretary-general and a member of the party's Presidency Council.
The group threatened to release the sex videos of all in addition to video recordings of Taytak and Bölükbaşı during party meetings. “If those who are mentioned above resign from both their posts in the party and their deputy candidacy, we promise not to post these videos. However, we are announcing to the public that we will post the videos if they fail to resign,” the group said on its website early on Wednesday.
The group earlier posted sex tapes involving MHP politicians Recai Yıldırım, Metin Çobanoğlu, Bülent Didinmez and İhsan Barutçu, which resulted in their resignation from their posts.
Bahçeli and the six deputies refused to resign in the face of the new threat, with Bahçeli saying neither he nor any other party member would resign, calling on the group to make public what they have.
However, after the group posted images featuring Ekici early on Saturday and threatened to release those of the others, resignations followed one after another. The six politicians resigned from their party membership and withdrew from their run for Parliament. “I have resigned … to prevent these conspiracies and fake allegations triggering disputes that could harm the MHP going into the elections,” Bölükbaşı said in a written statement. He said dark forces at home and abroad were behind “this ugly political conspiracy.” The latest resignations brought to 10 the number of senior MHP party members to resign over the video scandal.
MHP leader Bahçeli, who appeared dejected on Saturday while addressing an election rally of several thousand similarly despondent looking supporters in the central Turkish province of Nevşehir, put a brave face on the resignations. “Those who have resigned may have been aiming to make it easier for the party. We are continuing our struggle,” he said before the rally.
Now that 10 of the MHP’s executive board have resigned, the board no longer has a simple majority to make decisions. There are only seven members now on the board. According to MHP bylaws, the party’s executive board can hold meetings and make decisions if it has a simple majority, which equals nine members. Bahçeli is expected to appoint new members to the MHP’s executive board in the days to come.
MHP Deputy Chairman Çakır, who was a deputy candidate from northern Samsun province, said he chose to resign because he did not want to “make politics under existing conditions” in the opposition party. Bölükbaşı, another deputy chairman of the MHP, put the blame for the release of sex tapes on the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party). “The tapes are part of a political assassination plot by the AK Party,” he said when making public his decision to resign.
In the meantime on Sunday, Tevfik Diker, a retired colonel and a former deputy, claimed that there are three more MHP politicians who are featured in other sex tapes. Diker, however, did not provide any concrete evidence to back up his claim. “The MHP leader knows who those politicians are. And so do many MHP member,” he said, and added that MHP supporters should not put the blame for the emergence of the sex tapes on internationally-renowned Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen. “Results of an ongoing investigation into the tapes will force the MHP leader to offer an apology to Gülen,” he said. In the wake of the video clips that surfaced involving senior members of the MHP having affairs with women, Bahçeli accused Gülen and his movement, saying those “beyond the [Atlantic] ocean” have a role in the emergence of the video clip scandals.