The Turkish political world was thrown into disarray this week when at least 52 people, including the sons of three Cabinet members, businessmen, officials, and a mayor detained in investigations of real estate fraud and other corruption. The scandal has been a major blow for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who many believe is planning to run for president next year in a bid to extend his power beyond turn limits.
But things may be about to get even worse for Erdogan.
Today a short video that is being described as a “sex tape” allegedly featuring Erdoğan’s businessman brother, Mustafa Erdoğan, has been circulating on various video sharing websites. The video is of extremely poor quality, and it appears to be relatively tame as far as sex tapes go. Regardless, it could be a blow for Erdoğan, who has been prime minister of Turkey for 10 years and is leader of the conservative Islamic Justice and Development Party (AK).
It’s unclear where the tape came from at present, or if there’s any truth to the allegations that Erdoğan’s brother is the man in the video, or why the footage was filmed. Its circulation could, however, be the latest step in the ongoing row between the AK party and the religious movement led by the enigmatic, Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, which has been accused to gathering evidence against Erdoğan allies.
Sex tapes and blackmail are believed to have played a role in Turkish politics before. Just two years ago, Erdoğan’s government was forced to deny that it was behind a sex tape website that has forced 6 members of the opposition to resign.
As Ilhan Tanir, a Turkish journalist-based in D.C. put it, “this will hurt.”
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