ARE THE TAPES MADE AND LEAKED BY FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES?
Suleyman Ayhan, lawyer of the MHP's vice president Ekici said to the press that they have enough proof and evidence about the sex tapes of high ranking MHP officials: that were made and leaked by a Turkish citizen serving a foreign intelligence service. He did not give a name out of concern that the suspect might escape.
TURKISH PRESIDENT GUL URGES JUDICIARY TO FIND TAPE-SCANDAL CULPRITS
Turkish President Abdullah Gül and top judge Hasan Gerçeker called Tuesday on authorities to reveal the perpetrators behind the sex tape scandal that has caused many high-level officials from the nationalist opposition party to step down.
"These types of blackmail are both ugly and very dangerous. Today it happens in this way, tomorrow it occurs in another form. Today it hits one, tomorrow it hits another. A firm stance should be adopted and no credit should be given to such incidents," Gül told reporters.
"The prosecutors and the judicial institutions should fastidiously follow the issue and reveal the perpetrators who organized such incidents," the president said, reiterating the importance of adopting a firm stance against such blackmail efforts.
Hasan Gerçeker, chief of the Supreme Court of Appeals, echoed the president's remarks, saying the culprits behind the secret taping of Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, officials should be found.
Gerçeker, ahead of his retirement from the post June 1, paid a farewell visit Tuesday to Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
After his meeting with Erdoğan, the top judge also responded to questions from the media on key topics in the country.
Asked to comment on the recent sex tape scandal roiling the MHP, Gerçeker said the events were worrisome and illegal, and have created distrust and uneasiness among the public.
When asked whether an investigation should be launched into the tape issue, the top judge said: "It is written in the laws which offenses are subject to complaint [and] which crimes don't need a complaint to be filed to launch a probe. It is the investigation that will reveal this. First the crime should be identified."
"The offenders should definitely be found," he added. "It is said the technology and the source can't be identified. It is even said the source [of the tapes] is external. Then it should be investigated in cooperation with other countries. Otherwise people lose their confidence in the state."
Asked whether he felt resentment toward Erdoğan over the conflicts on judicial independence that have occurred during his term as top judge, Gerçeker said people sometimes engage in wrong actions toward each other but these matters should not be made personal and there was no resentment.
Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek also commented Tuesday on the tape scandal, telling the private channel NTV that politics was going in a negative direction.
"The politics doesn't change but it is going bad. The action is wrong, the method is wrong. No result is obtained from accusations," Çiçek said. "The politics didn't change in this respect. Progress can be called "change," but what is happening is not progress."
AKP ACCUSES CHP, BDP FOR ALLIANCE AHEAD OF POLLS
The ruling party has accused the main opposition and the pro-Kurdish party of creating a destructive alliance ahead of the June 12 general election; the party claims the opposition intends to revive terrorist organizations and gangs in the country.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hit out harshly at his political opponents while speaking Tuesday in Şırnak, a Southeast Anatolian city. His rally there came a few days after he received a poor reception in Hakkari, another city in the heavily Kurdish-populated region.
Only 1,000 people turned out for the prime minister's rally in Hakkari, where nearly all shopkeepers closed their doors in reaction to his visit. Although Erdoğan had a better turnout in Şırnak, the unexpectedly good showing on Monday in Hakkari by his main political rival, Republican People's Party, or CHP, chief Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, clearly still rankled.
"It's pleasing to see that the CHP's chairman could hold a rally in Hakkari, in Van. But pay attention to this: The CHP's new leader, who could get only around 150 votes in Hakkari, has addressed the voters of the BDP [pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party]," Erdoğan said in Şırnak.
"The participants [in Hakkari] were not from the CHP, but from the BDP," the prime minister claimed. He accused the opposition parties, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and shadowy gangs of cooperating in a campaign against his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.
"It's a new step. The connection between Silivri and Kandil has been registered by the dialogue between the CHP and the BDP. The scenario is being implemented," Erdoğan claimed.
Silivri is the name of a prison where dozens of intellectuals, journalists, civil-society representatives and former generals have been kept on charges of ties to the alleged Ergenekon gang, which purportedly sought to topple down the government in 2003 and 2004. Kandil is a mountain in northern Iraq where the outlawed PKK has its headquarters and camps.
The alleged alliance between the CHP and the BDP is aiming at reviving the "gangs" in the country, according to Erdoğan, who claimed that these parties were trying to redesign the country's politics through provocations.
Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin also slammed Kılıçdaroğlu's rhetoric on the Kurdish issue and accused him of speaking differently while visiting the country's eastern provinces. "I think the CHP and the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] will face internal chaos after June 12," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also criticized the CHP for its overtures to the country's Kurds, saying the party is abandoning its institutional character.
"During his visits to the [Southeast] region, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu unfortunately pursues the same line as that of the BDP," Arınç told reporters in Bursa.
"He promises more than what the BDP promises. He engages in actions that do not suit his party's institutional identity on the issues sensitive to the Kurdish community in an effort to receive their applause," the deputy prime minister said. "This is wrong. The Kurdish problem can't be solved in this way."
Arınç also criticized Kılıçdaroğlu's visit to the mayor of the BDP-run eastern province of Hakkari, as well as the CHP leader's critical remarks about judgments in the ongoing case against the illegal Kurdish Communities Union, or KCK.
"Kılıçdaroğlu likewise met with the chief prosecutor and complained about the prosecutions being carried out," Arınç said, adding that it was wrong to defend suspects in a case against a group that has alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
The KCK is alleged to be the urban wing of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
RACE FOR KURDISH VOTES INTENSIFYING
The battle to win Kurdish votes in the upcoming general elections has gained momentum as the ruling party accuses the main opposition and Turkey's largest pro-Kurdish party of creating a destructive alliance.
Speaking at a rally in the southeastern province of Şırnak, Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed there is a conspiracy against his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.
"The terrorist organization and the gangs, accompanied by the opposition parties, have launched a campaign against the AKP," Erdoğan said in Şırnak, where he had a warmer welcome than the one he experienced in Hakkari two days before.
In both Southeastern cities, shopkeepers closed their doors in protests; in Şırnak, municipal workers refused to collect garbage from the streets. But the turn-out for Erdoğan's rally in Şırnak was relatively high after a very poor showing in Hakkari.
The main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, which enjoyed a far better turnout in Hakkari, has been betraying its "institutional character," Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said. CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu meanwhile tried to clarify his remarks on local governance. The opposition chief said his party favored abolishing Turkey's reservations on the Council of Europe Charter of Local Self-Government.
TURKEY'S CHP WANTS UNITY, NOT SPLIT WITH DECENTRALIZATION TALK, LEADER SAYS
The main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, does not want to split the country but is instead seeking unity, its leader said Tuesday in clarifying recent remarks on decentralization.
"We will embrace all and create a more contemporary Turkey," CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said Tuesday during his party's campaign stop in the eastern province of Ardahan. "We don't want to split but form a unity."
Kılıçdaroğlu said a self-government charter for local administrations had already been passed by Parliament. "It granted the Cabinet the right to abolish some reservations on the charter. We defend the abolishment of those reservations."
In a speech in the eastern province of Hakkari on Monday, Kılıçdaroğlu said his party would boost rights for local governance by accepting the Council of Europe's charter.
In its election manifesto revealed in April, the CHP likewise said local administration reform calling for broad rights for local administrations would be realized by abolishing Turkey's reservations on the Council of Europe Charter of Local Self-Government.
Asked to comment on allegations that Turkey would be split into states with his proposal, Kılıçdaroğlu said their aim was not to split the country.
"What did I said there? I said the local administrations [in Turkey] already have self-governance based on the universal norms which was accepted by the European Union. Who elects the mayors? It is the locals who elect their mayors," he said, adding that they should be granted further authority.
He said the issue was in the party programs of all political parties but added that the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, had not realized such a project.
ANKARA, BENGHAZI SKETCH OUT ROADMAP FOR RELATIONS
A "road map" was being drawn for bilateral relations between Ankara and the administration of the Libyan opposition during a high-level visit of National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil to the Turkish capital on Monday. The Libyan opposition is satisfied with Turkey's de facto recognition of the administration and they eye trade ties and cooperation with Turkey for the reconstruction of their country.
"With this visit, bilateral relations between Turkey and Benghazi have been initiated. We are still asking Ankara to do more to recognize the council. But Turkey's invitation to Abdul Jalil was so important for us. We look forward to hearing good news from Turkey on recognition soon. Meanwhile, we will closely cooperate with Ankara on humanitarian aid and trade issues," Abdulmenem Bendarf, representative of National Transitional Council on humanitarian aid and relief, who accompanied Jalil's visit, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Tuesday.
Turkey has yet to declare official recognition of the provisional administration in Benghazi, but it has already launched bilateral relations with the Transitional Council. A delegation from the National Transitional Council will visit Turkey in the near future to discuss "trade and financial support," Bendarf said.
New mechanisms would be established between Ankara and the administration in Benghazi to restart trade between the two countries, he said.
"Turkey needs to exportgoods to Libya, as its exports to Libya are now at zero. We need to start trade too and can do it by obtaining credit. We do not have cash now, but we have sources out there." The harbor in Benghazi was open and safe for trade, he added.
In the talks with Jalil, Ankara and the council decided to start direct flights between Benghazi and Istanbul with Turkish Airlines and also bilateral sea transportation, the Libyan representative said.
"We need to rebuild the country now and we need Turkey for reconstruction," he said. The Libyan opposition leader met with officials of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency, or TIKA, late on Monday and TIKA would send a delegation to Benghazi to explore requirements, Bendarf said.
On the other hand, Jalil has asked for more humanitarian aid for the conflict-hit country, he said, adding that the National Transitional Council would establish an office in Turkey for humanitarian needs.
The Libyan opposition also asked for humanitarian aid to be sent to the Libyan refugees in Tunisia. There are two camps of more than 72,000 refuges. "We are asking Turkey to build one more camp there."
"We also asked Turkey to build hospitals and an airport in Benghazi. Gadhafi destroyed the mosques and we need to reconstruct them. Libya was operating with nurses from the Ukraine and the Philippines and now they have all returned to their countries. So we need nurses and doctors," he said.
'No room in Libya for old administration.'
Meeting with Libyan opposition chief Jalil, President Abdullah Gül said, "There is no room anymore in Libya for the old administration," diplomatic sources reported. A new order in Libya, far removed from oppression and cruelty, should be established with no delay, Gül told Jalil, who asked for Turkey's support during a transition period in Libya. A new political system in Libya should be set up without blood. You should get over the feeling of revenge," President Gül said.
"We consider the National Transitional Council as a legitimate and respected representative of the Libyan people," Foreing Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Monday leveling up the importance given to Libyan opposition.
This did not mean Turkey recognized the council as sole representative of the Libyan people, Turkish diplomatic sources told the Daily News on Tuesday, as Ankara did not break off diplomatic relations with the administration in Tripoli.
Turkey prefers to follow the international community's path on the issue of recognizing Libyan National Transitional Council, diplomatic sources said, adding that the visit of Jalil was an important step to show how Turkey has giving importance to National Transitional Council.
The invitation to Jalil was sent by a letter from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in April by a special envoy, the source said.
Jalil and an accompanying delegation on Tuesday visited Libyans who have been undergoing treatment at several hospitals in the Aegean city of İzmir.
SURPRISE CANCELLATION FOR TWO MILITARY EXERCISES
Turkish General Staff cancelled the "Sea Wolf 2011" and "Ephesus 2011" joint Navy and Air force exercises in Aegean Sea on the very last day. These exercises, which used to be held once a year (Ephesus) and once in two years (Sea Wolf) are expected to be conducted under observation of President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan, Chief of Turkish General Staff Kosaner and foreign military observers. The Turkish General Staff did not mention any reason for cancellations, but experts say the reasons were the increasing good relations with Greece and opening of the tourism season.
500.000 APPLICANTS TO SECOND VOYAGE OF MAVI MARMARA
Huseyin Oruc, Board meber of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation says that 500.000 application forms printed to join the second Mavi Marmara voyage to Gaza. He said: "500.000 forms finished on the first day and we received 15.000 applications in two days. However, we are capable of accommodating only 100 passengers".