Turkish opposition leader resigns after scandal - UPDATED

Turkey's main secularist opposition leader Monday resigned as the party chairman after a scandal.

Turkish opposition leader resigns after scandal - UPDATED

The leader of Turkey's main opposition party 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.

Deniz Baykal was the leader of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), which has threatened to try to block constitutional reforms proposed by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party.

"I will not give up in the face of such a black campaign. I will not let anybody question me," Baykal told a televised news conference.

Baykal says the AK Party must have had knowledge of the videotape.

"If this has a price, and that price is the resignation from CHP leadership, I am ready to pay it. My resignation does not mean running away, or giving in," Baykal said. "On the contrary, it means that I'm fighting it."

The Turkish government is preparing to send a constitutional reform package to a national referendum, but the CHP has threatened to take the issue to the Constitutional Court.

Last week, a video tape allegedly featuring Baykal having an affair with a female deputy of CHP was released on a video-sharing web-site.

The CHP believes the video was uploaded to the Internet in order to weaken the current party leader and administration ahead of its upcoming congress, slated for May 22. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation to determine who filmed the video and put it online.

Baykal is married with two children.

The 71-year-old Baykal led the CHP since 1992. Critics say Baykal's domination of the CHP had stifled chances for younger politicians who could have made the party more progressive and appealing to Turkish voters.

The country's next election is due by July 2011, when the AK Party will seek a third term in power.


Last Mod: 10 Mayıs 2010, 16:29
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