As Turkey’s June 12 parliamentary elections draw nearer, public attention is focusing on how a set of explicit videos involving politicians from Turkey’s third largest political party, the ultranationalist MHP, are influencing voting preferences.
A group claiming to be disaffected Nationalist Action Party (MHP) activists began posting the black-and-white hidden-camera footage of the tawdry encounters on the Internet a month ago. Apparently timed to undermine voter support for the opposition MHP, the tapes, which purport to feature a 16-year-old girl and a Russian prostitute, have prompted the resignation of 10 senior MHP members.
“I felt like a trainee boxer getting punched in the face again and again; that’s how shocked I was,” said Ibrahim Cakir, a 60-year-old Istanbul taxi driver and former MHP activist, referring to the sex tapes. “These things are not part of what we are.”
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Alexander Christie-Miller is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul.