MHP continues to remain under spotlight over videotape scandals

May 23, 2011, Monday/ 17:18:00/ FATMA DİŞLİ ZIBAK

The latest video scandals at the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which led to the resignation of 10 top party politicians ahead of the critical June 12 general elections, have sparked extensive debate about the party and the way it responded to the crisis.

Many now question how a party like the MHP, which has its roots in conservatism and nationalism, has come to be a party of politicians who do not hesitate to violate these values, what the goal of the video scandals targeting the MHP is and how developments will unfold within the party following the general elections.

“What do these people [the videotaped MHP politicians] have to do with idealism and nationalism? They have illegitimate affairs with Russian sex workers and ridicule the values the MHP grass roots are deeply attached to,” says Yeni Akit’s Abdurrahman Dilipak. He wonders how MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli appointed one of these politicians as the MHP deputy chairman responsible for women and family affairs, saying that the MHP administration needs to explain this. Regarding the post-election period, he thinks there will be a serious confrontation in the MHP and that it will be even more difficult for Bahçeli to retain his post because he acted recklessly in the scandals, shaking his party, and directed accusations at the wrong people.

Vatan’s Ruşen Çakır describes the video scandals rocking the MHP as an effort at “social engineering” to “shape politics through the use of videotapes.” “Is it possible for the administrators of a political party -- Turkey’s third largest -- receiving the support of one out of 10 voters, to be pulled out of the system due to the videotapes of its politicians? Even if we accept this, how beneficial is this for the country? And more importantly, can there be a better ‘project of social engineering’?” he asks.

Yeni Şafak’s Abdülkadir Selvi addresses the goals of the perpetrators of the video scandals and the MHP’s reaction. He says it is obvious that the goal of the videotape scandals is to remove Bahçeli from the helm of the party because it is Bahçeli’s inner circle. “Instead of being aware of this and developing a counter strategy, the MHP is opening fire on the wrong target and placing itself in an even more difficult situation through the explanations it makes,” says Selvi.