Turkey`s `Gandhi` set to lead main opposition

A man dubbed Turkey`s "Gandhi" is poised to take control of the country`s main opposition party after its longstanding leader resigned over an alleged affair exposed on an Internet video.

Ankara: A man dubbed Turkey`s "Gandhi" is poised to take control of the country`s main opposition party after its longstanding leader resigned over an alleged affair exposed on an Internet video.

Deniz Baykal, who had led the Republican People`s Party (CHP) since 1992, resigned on May 10 after the revelations, which he slammed as a "conspiracy" by the government. Vice President Kemal Kilicdaroglu announced his candidacy for the post this week.

The short video showed intimate bedroom images, shot with a hidden camera, allegedly of the 71-year-old leader and a woman lawmaker from the CHP.

Baykal did not openly admit to or deny the affair, but charged that the images could not have been shot without the knowledge of the Islamist-rooted government.

Baykal has led the pro-secular CHP, the party of the founder of modern Turkey and its first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, against the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The charismatic 71-year-old political veteran had enjoyed a strong grip on the reins of power within his own party and never faced any challenge to his leadership.

His resignation left the door open for a possible come-back at the CHP convention which takes place this weekend.

But the party has rallied behind party Kilicdaroglu and observers say that any return by Baykal looks unlikely. Kilicdaroglu was nicknamed Turkey`s Gandhi by the media due to his resemblance to the Indian leader.

PTI

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