ANKARA- Turkish Daily News
A secret love affair between a political leader and famous theology professor, and his young advisor has sent shockwaves through party ranks.
People's Ascent Party, or HYP, leader Yaşar Nuri Öztürk faces allegations that he conducted an affair with his advisor, Şahane Müftüoğlu, 26. The claims not only sparked controversy in his family but have also gained a political dimension.
Yaşar Okuyan, who had merged his own political party with Öztürk's HYP, resigned after allegations surfaced. Although Öztürk denied the forbidden love during a TV broadcast, he did not fail to defend his alleged lover and her family.
�I wish everybody was like Şahane. She is a very sophisticated person who grew up in the West and worked in the United Nations. She is very idealistic. Her family is also a very respectable Turkish family,� Öztürk said.
Forbidden love allegations appeared when Müftüoğlu sent phone messages to Öztürk's wife Canan Öztürk, saying, �I am with your husband. He laughs at you very much.� When similar messages were also sent to some HYP brass, Okuyan resigned from the party, saying the claims were �the straw that broke the camel's back.� He also claimed that most members of the executive board would submit their resignations in the upcoming days.
�She is an example to other girls'
Öztürk's wife blamed the advisor for setting up a political trap, while Öztürk said his wife was being used and the allegations were street gossip. He said political jealousy and his controversial book, �Allah'la Aldatmak� (Deceive with God), were the driving force behind the recent events.
�The basis of the allegations leans upon political conflicts in the party. Following the release of my book, I was expecting reactions from the public opinion. Some people profited by the allegations and used them against me,� Öztürk said.
When asked about claims that the party had applied to the court to have Müftüoğlu's age increased so she could serve as a deputy, Öztürk verified the claim.
�Şahane wrote two theses on Turkey and she is a Turkey lover. Since we know her knowledge, we ran her as candidate at the first rank. It is true that we increased her age,� Öztürk said, adding that he wanted to promote her as an example for other young women working for the party. �But apparently corruption in Turkish politics prevented our success.�
Öztürk had assigned Müftüoğlu to be his advisor while he was a Republican People's Party, or CHP, deputy six years ago, and she continued working with him after he established his own political party