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Turkey Inside Line: Opposition Leader Resigns, Turkish-Russian Relations & More

Ali Yenidunya launches his new feature picking up and analysing the key news from Turkey:

The Opposition Leader Resigns: The leader of the main opposition party Republican People's Party (CHP), Deniz Baykal, resigned from his post on Monday. The purported reason is a video clip allegedly showing him having sex with a party deputy, Nesrin Baytok. According to the claim, her husband Can Baytok helped this forbidden relationship so his wife could become a member of Parliament. Baykal, during his press briefing, called thevideo a two-week-old "conspiracy" and added:
I will never let anyone question me due to this immoral and unlawful conspiracy. If it has a cost and if it is to resign from this chair, I am ready to pay it. My resignation does not mean a surrender to this cowardly conspiracy against me, you and CHP. Indeed, it is a challenge!


Then Baykal accused the government of waging a smear campaign:
It is impossible to prepare and release such a two-week-old, tough conspiracy work encroaching rights and morality of the main opposition party's leader without government's information and approval. The "good will" and statements of "sorrow" showed following the incident will never cover up the guiltiness of the work backstage.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded:
Statements of Deniz Baykal are ugly and unequal. They are political defamation-oriented. Charging the offense on the government is immorality.

The counter-reply came from the spokesman of CHP, Mustafa Ozyurek:
Mr. Prime Minister gave such an ugly response. We are facing a prime minister who cannot comprehend an honourable man's honourable move. Mr. Baykal, in his talk, said "The lawbreaker stand up" and the lawbreaker stood up!

Mr. Prime Minister says that they tried to prevent the dispersion of the video. This is false. The clip was tried to be prevented with efforts of the prosecution office; not of the prime minister! Even now, these ugly scenes are on internet.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation to determine who filmed the video and put it online. The Prosecutor's Office is working with the Ministry of Justice in order to determine the name or the IP number of the uploader on the website Metacafe. Assistance from Canada has been officially requested since the website is owned by Tucows İnc. in Toronto.

Within the CHP, some believe the video was uploaded to the Internet ito weaken the current party leader and administration ahead of the party congress on 22 May. Some CHP officials point at Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, who established Turkey's Change Movement (TDH) after he was expelled from the CHP, reportedly over a disciplinary issue. CHP Secretary General Onder Sav claimed that Sarıgül bribed a gang leader to shoot Baykal in his legs during a visit to Brussels on 13 April. His claim is based on an e-mail sent to the İstanbul Police Department by an unidentified individual.

Moscow-Ankara Ties: Dmitry Medvedev, the President of Turkey's main gas supplier Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, is coming to Ankara from Damascus on Tuesday. "Some 25 agreements will be signed," the Kremlin's top foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko said.

Agreements include an arrangement between Russian gas giant Gazprom and state oil firm Rosneft and a cooperation memorandum to build and service a nuclear power station. Most prominently, Moscow is trying to convince Ankara to build a section of its key South Stream pipeline through Turkey's portion of the Black Sea to create a new route bypassing Ukraine for Russian gas to Europe. Turkey, which supports the rival EU-backed Nabucco pipeline, has agreed to allow Moscow to start surveys in its territorial waters in the Black Sea for South Stream.

Erdogan's "3 Children" Proposal: The Premier, for a long time, has called on the citizens of the Republic to have at least three children. He restated at a wedding ceremony on Sunday:
Turkey's current population increase rate is 1.5 for some and 1.8 for others. This means that the population of this nation is getting older. And we are proud of our young population now. Therefore, this [growth] must be over 2.5. If it goes like this, our situation is not good in 2038. I am saying this as the Prime Minister. Maybe, we will put an award for this because we must succeed.

The Suspicious Link between the Murder of Hrant Dink and Ergenekon Suspects: According to Istanbul Police Department, six of 52 Ergenekon suspects, accusing of a conspiracy against the Government, had telephone conversations with the suspects of the Hrant Dink case. Dink, assassinated in 2007, was a well-known member of the Armenian minority in Turkey and editor of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos.

The accused included Brigadier General Veli Küçük, lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, Levent Temiz, Mustafa Levent Göktaş, Erbay Çolakoğlu, and retired captain Muzaffer Tekin.