President censures video blackmail scandals that shook Turkish politics

President Abdullah Gül responded to questions by reporters at the Çankaya presidential palace.

May 23, 2011, Monday/ 14:49:00

Commenting on a recent wave of video blackmail scandals involving senior members of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), President Abdullah Gül on Tuesday said blackmailing is ugly, calling on all politicians to stand against it.

“Such blackmail is both ugly and dangerous. It may happen to one person today and to others tomorrow. Prosecutors and judicial bodies should investigate closely these incidents and unravel the groups that are behind them,” Gül said in response to questions by reporters before he received the Kenyan, Honduran and Sri Lankan ambassadors at the Çankaya presidential palace.

Gül said everyone should approach this issue in a principled way and not give credit to such actions. “I would like to underline the principled stance on this issue. Such blackmail can take on various forms, so everyone should say ‘no' to these,” he noted.

The MHP was recently rocked by the release of sex tapes involving its top party members. A website last month published sex videos which led to the resignation of four senior MHP politicians and threatened to release more tapes if the party's leader did not resign.

The group later released the names of six more MHP politicians, saying it would release sex videos and video recordings of some of their conversations if they do not resign. The group, which calls itself Farklı Ülkücülük (Different Idealism), on Saturday released one such video after MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli and other officials refused to resign. The six politicians all resigned after the publication of the video.

TÜSİAD head finds investigation into scandals insufficient

Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) President Ümit Boyner, who was also asked about the video blackmail scandals, expressed unease with the recent developments. “We are unfortunately engaged in dirty debates in the run-up to elections, a time when we should in fact be discussing the new constitution, ways to decrease unemployment and work to make the Turkish economy grow,” Boyner told reporters on Tuesday.

She finds the use of these highly questionable means in Turkish politics very disturbing. “This was apparent blackmail. This seems to be organized and I think it should be brought to light,” Boyner said. When asked whether she thinks the current investigation is sufficient, she said: “No, I do not. I reacted as I did because I did not see it as being sufficient.”

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