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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s deputy chair in charge of media affairs has resigned from his post after admitting that the party in the past cooperated with the Gülen network, which authorities refer to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

“If the AKP linked arms with the FETÖ in the past in the bureaucracy, it did this to liquidate the putschists,” Emre Cemil Ayvalı said on June 10 during a live program aired on broadcaster CNN Türk. The Gülen network is widely believed to be behind the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

“[When the AKP came to the power] There was a putschist Kemalist tradition on one hand, the FETÖ on the other hand [in bureaucracy]. I [referring to the AKP] had to proceed by means of having them turn against each other,” Ayvalı, an assistant to AKP deputy chair Mahir Ünal, said.

These remarks have received widespread attention, with one of the guests on the program even saying: “Here is the confession.”

Ayvalı announced on social media on June 11 that he resigned from his duty in an attempt “to not damage” the party.

He wrote on his Twitter account that his remarks were manipulated and “those who wanted to damage the party through me have created all together disinformation.”