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Saner withdraws candidacy as UBP leader, rival implicated in compromising video case

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Saner announced he was no longer running for UBP leadership to focus on the legal battle against those responsible for the release of the video

One of the candidates for the presidency of the north’s ruling party, Faiz Sucuoglu was implicated in the release of a compromising video last week of ‘prime minister’ Ersan Saner, reports said on Tuesday.

Sucuoglu’s alleged involvement was revealed during the court case concerning the release of the video after five suspects were arrested, including the woman seen in the video taking off her clothes as Saner watched.

The hearing into the case started on Monday with all five suspects, one woman and four men, arrested last week appearing before court in Famagusta in the north. They have been charged with violation of privacy, unlawful disclosure and sexual harassment.

Saner was to run for another term for the presidency of the National Unity Party (UBP) but announced on Tuesday afternoon he was withdrawing his candidacy to focus on the legal battle ahead of him concerning the release of the video. For the same reason, Saner said he took leave of absence from his ‘prime minister’ duties and that he would soon appoint a substitute. He also said he withdrew from the candidacy to protect his family and UBP.

The UBP congress will be held this weekend.

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Faiz Sucuoglu

According to reports in the north, the court heard that the video was recorded in December 2020 and that the woman had deleted it but that she was pressured by two of the male suspects to hand over her phone so that it could be retrieved. This took place in July.

Her lawyer also said that the woman, along with two others and Sucuoglu had lunch at a restaurant where the video was given to Sucuoglu on a USB stick.

The court heard that two of the male suspects had told the woman that she had to cooperate in recovering the video because Turkey’s state intelligence agency MIT was involved. According to reports, one of the suspects involved in the case was an assistant of Sucuoglu.

Reports said that court heard that Saner had a relationship with the woman in question for 1.5 years.

Sucuoglu denied any involvement and said he would not only withdraw from politics but leave the country if these allegations are proven to be true. He said that many people knew of the video’s existence, including him, but he had nothing to do with it.

He also said he was the most likely to win the party elections and thus had no reason to go after Saner.

Saner was not convinced, however, and in a statement later in the day said that Sucuoglu was involved in the case from the beginning to the end. He accused his fellow UBP member of “playing a leading role” in his character assassination, harming the north, the party and Saner’s family.

He called on the UBP members to stand against those who create conspiracies and intrigues.

Sucuoglu said in response that the creation of those images was Saner’s own fault and reiterated he was not involved in the video’s dissemination. He also said that he did not report on the video’s existence to avoid putting Saner in a difficult position. He also hit back at Saner arguing that he too knew of the video’s existence and asked why he did not report this to the police himself prior to its dissemination.

The video was released last week by alleged mafia boss Sedat Peker, a Turkish national who now lives in self-exile and who lately has waged a war on Turkish Cypriot politicians accusing them of supporting the plot against him in Turkey by joining forces with drug lords and illegal bookmakers.

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