Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Bihlun Tamayligil and Savci Sayan (R) cry as their leader Deniz Baykal (not pictured) addresses the media in Ankara May 10, 2010. Baykal resigned on Monday saying he was the victim of a conspiracy following the release of a videotape on the Internet purporting to show him and a woman in a bedroom. Baykal said the ruling party – the AK Party, whose roots lie in political Islam – must have had knowledge of the videotape.? Read more »REUTERS/Stringe
Deniz Baykal seems to have accused AKP, the ruling party, when he resigned but a simple observation of the process shows that he was dethroned by his own “side”… On Thursday a videotape emerged at Vakit‘s website. Although Vakit is an Islamist newspaper and framed the news accordingly, other Islamist dailies were quick to accuse Vakit of being manipulated. In the next day, not the Islamist newspapers such as Yeni Şafak, Zaman or anti-secularist and militantly liberal Taraf but the mainstream secularist dailies such as Vatan headlined the videotape issue. On the same day, CHP administration accused Mustafa Sarıgül who seems to be the main opponent to Baykal’s regime within CHP circles (although Mr. Sarıgül has been expelled from the party). In the next days, many pro-CHP columnists attacked Baykal and implied the veracity of the tape. Apparently, it was time to go for Baykal and in a way betrayed by his own men in an orchestrated campaign…
The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deniz Baykal (C) is surrounded by his supporters as he leaves the party headquarters in Ankara May 10, 2010.REUTERS/Stringer
Mr. Baykal has been the leader of CHP for such a long time that I cannot imagine the party without him. A new era definitely begins now. He was a constant loser in elections but he never lost control of the party. All main opponents were expelled gradually. It is hard to believe that he resigns in order to start a trial period against the tape leakers. He is not the type to quite like that. But it happens, think about that. I am quite sure that AKP may have more difficulties with a new leader. Mr. Baykal was a permanent main opposition leader, a new leader may change the status quo. However, a new CHP leaders will first struggle with the long established Baykal bureacracy of CHP. In any case, a new political era begins now…
A Turkish social media monitoring site focuses on Twittering on Baykal’s resignation here.
Baykal’s bio in photos here.
A political party’s electoral prospects are generally harmed when one of its leaders is taken down by a tawdry sex scandal. The resignation of Deniz Baykal in the wake of the release of a grainy video showing him in a bedroom with a female politician from his party, however, just may be the exception.