Ethem Sancak, a businessman who has close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on April 1 submitted his resignation letter to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after his comments on the U.S. support for the party stirred a huge reaction.
Sancak on March 31 said at a university conference that the AKP "came to power with the support of the United States.”
His comments stirred a huge reaction inside the party, and he was referred to the AKP Istanbul Provincial Disciplinary Board with a definitive expulsion request from the party.
Journalist Candaş Tolga Işık said that he had confirmed Sancak's resignation through an AKP official.
“I just spoke with the AKP Istanbul-Sarıyer district chair Halil İbrahim Kurşun and he said, ‘Ethem Sancak delivered his petition of resignation from the party today. We have put the paperwork into process,’” Işık tweeted on April 1.
Az önce AK Parti İstanbul-Sarıyer İlçe Başkanı Halil İbrahim Kurşun'la konuştum, "Ethem Sancak bugün partiden istifa ettiğine dair dilekçesini bize ulaştırdı. Evrak tarafımızdan işleme kondu" dedi.— Candaş Tolga Işık (@ctisik) April 1, 2022
During the conference earlier this week, Sancak also took a swipe at Turkey's membership in NATO. “In fact, Turkey is constantly at war with NATO and the West. We are a member of NATO and we have been NATO's guardians for 70 years. Is there a single contribution NATO has made to this country in all its 70 years?" he said.
"They didn't let us build pistols. NATO is a cancer of the past within us. Even if we don't go out, they're going to kick us out anyway," he further said.