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Today's Zaman

Gürsel Tekin steps down as CHP deputy chairman in shock resignation

3 May 2012, Thursday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Gürsel Tekin handed in his resignation from the post of deputy chairman, according to reports on Thursday.

However, sources close to the party noted that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had not accepted Tekin's resignation as of Thursday afternoon. The Central Executive Board (MYK) was expected to discuss Tekin's resignation, according to sources. CHP Deputy Chairman and spokesperson Birgül Ayman Güler said, “Many executives at our headquarters heard about this [resignation] from the media. Certainly, there is some background to this,” adding that the situation was going to be “clarified” at the party's MYK meeting. Sources say Tekin was unhappy about some members of the MYK and had told CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu that he did not want to work with them in the same MYK. Gürsel Tekin, the second most powerful man in the CHP, is unpopular among the supporters of the party's former leader Deniz Baykal and former Secretary-General Önder Sav.

He was appointed as deputy chairman after a lengthy struggle and much infighting between Kılıçdaroğlu and the supporters of the Baykal and Sav camps. Previously, he was the chairman of the CHP’s İstanbul provincial branch, a highly important position as the İstanbul branch has the greatest influence inside the party. In June of last year, he had to step down as İstanbul provincial chairman and was replaced by Berhan Şimşek, who also resigned from the post in January this year.

Meanwhile, there were also reports indicating that CHP Secretary-General Bihlun Tamaylıgil also handed in her resignation. However, the reports couldn’t be confirmed. Tekin’s resignation as İstanbul provincial chairman was the result of a stand-off that started with Baykal’s resignation in May 2010, following the release of a sex-tape featuring him with a deputy of his party. Tekin was later appointed to the party’s MYK.

Sav, who played a major role in Kılıçdaroğlu’s ascension to party leadership following Baykal’s resignation from the post, had earlier effectively blocked Tekin from becoming a member of the party’s MYK, citing his position as a provincial head as an obstacle. This appears to be why Tekin had to step down from the powerful position, but Sav’s failed attempts to eliminate Tekin from the political scene at the time gave rise to speculation over precisely what happened behind the scenes.

According to one theory circulating amongst the CHP ranks, Sav wanted to distance Tekin from the party’s İstanbul leadership and therefore proposed to members of the CHP İstanbul executive council that they resign from their seats -- in return for promises to regain their positions in the new administration and later be supported as candidates for Parliament in the next election. There were also allegations that $2 million in bribes were distributed to party members to topple Tekin’s İstanbul administration.

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