The full impact of a sex, lies and videotape scandal that hit Turkish politics just weeks before the June 12 general election remains to be seen.
Ten senior members of the far-right Nationalist Action Party or MHP were forced to resign after spy cameras caught them with their pants down; one allegedly with a 16-year-old girl. The videos’ producers say they will continue to taunt the party until leader Devlet Bahceli stands down.
One of those snared accused the AK Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being behind the plot to discredit the MHP.
It is all about numbers; to get seats in the Turkish parliament a party needs to win 10 percent of the vote; the MHP currently hold 70 seats in the 550 seat parliament and the ruling AK party are on the hunt for votes.
Erdogan looks set to win the election, but if he pulls in a 66 percent majority he will be able to re-write the constitution without consultation or referendum.
Umit Ozdag, a Nationalist Action Party candidate, said: “Unfortunately this process is a major concern for the future of democracy in Turkey, We are fighting for a 10 percent share of the vote, but all these scandals will improve our chances.”
Others believe the MHP has been the victim of an inside job with party members alienated by the policies of leader Devlet Bahceli.
Mahir Kaynak, the former head of the Turkish intelligence services, said: “Turkey is now a regional power, we accept the Kurds and multiculturalism and respect our neighbours, the politics of today does not suit the MHP and some want to change the ideology and chose blackmail as the way to do it.”
Bora Bayraktar, euronews’ correspondent in Istanbul, says “according to many observers, the tape scandal is a direct attempt to influence politics and the new constitution. Two opposition parties have now fallen victim to sex scandals. Whether this will influence voters remains to be seen.”