Sex Tapes Threaten Turkish Democracy

Usually a sex tape results in personal embarrassment, and possibly a reality show career. But in Turkey, the release of sex videos featuring prominent politicians could change the course of history.

According to the AP, a group called the "Different Nationalists" released a first round of sex tapes earlier this month, depicting officials of the far-right Nationalist Action Party having affairs. The tapes sound fairly tame by Paris Hilton standards — some showed the officials talking to women in apartment, while one showed a party member in bed with a woman, discussing a car he had given her. Nonetheless, these were enough to force four NAP officials to resign. Now the Different Nationalists say they have tapes incriminating six more officials, and they'll release them unless the party's leader, Devlet Bahceli (pictured), withdraws from Turkey's June 12 election.

He says he won't do it, but some are concerned that the scandal could cause the NAP to lose its seats in the Turkish parliament. This would allow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's own party to further consolidate power, and might bring it closer to the majority it needs to enact major constitutional changes. Critics have long been concerned about the lack of a viable opposition party in Turkey, and last year, the leader of one such party was forced to resign — also because of a sex tape. Erdogan insists he's not responsible for the current video scandal, but it's certainly worked out well for him so far. And whoever's behind it, it's pretty fascinating — and disturbing — that something generally thought of as gossip-blog fodder has become such a potent political weapon.

Turkish Website Threatens To Post More Sex Tapes [AP, via NYT]

Related: Sex Tape Opens Bright Future For Turkey [Guardian]