A sex tape saga that affected Turkey's opposition parties several years back has returned to the headlines as Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office issued arrest warrants on Tuesday for 120 suspected Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) members involved in the sex tape conspiracy cases targeting main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies in 2010 and 2011.
36 people were detained as part of the investigation, while 31 others were previously detained for other offenses. 34 police officers were also detained.
Former CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal had to resign following a secretly filmed footage involving him and another CHP deputy was released in May 2010, a year before 2011 general elections. Later in August, another tape involving Group Deputy Chairman Akif Hamzaçebi was released.
Former CHP Deputy Tevfik Diker said on a local news outlet in early March 2014 that members of FETÖ had prepared the video on Baykal and published it on the Internet.
According to Diker, Gülenists tried to overthrow Baykal by using Mustafa Sarıgül, the former mayor of Şişli in Istanbul, who ran as a candidate for Istanbul mayor in the March 30, 2014 local elections, but they were unsuccessful and therefore placed the videotape instead.
In late April 2011, roughly one and a half months ahead of the elections, another secretly filmed footage involving former MHP deputy chairman Recai Yıldırım and Metin Çobanoğlu, this time including their dialogues with their partners, was released, leading to their resignations along with eight other party executives.
At the time, officials from both parties accused the government and Gülen Movement of being involved with a conspiracy against the parties.
Current CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who replaced Baykal after his resignation, claimed in 2014 that he saw a video of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — prime minister at the time — watched Baykal's tape before it was made public.
Due to this, the Ankara Prosecutor's Office sent an invitation to Kılıçdaroğlu to testify, but Kılıçdaroğlu's office in Parliament said he would not reply to the prosecutors call.
In a televised interview in April 2016, Baykal said that people who want to solve this case should start by doing so by speaking to Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.