Erdoğan-linked businessman Ethem Sancak facing expulsion from ruling AKP

Turkish businessman Ethem Sancak, known for his close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is facing expulsion from Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) following his statements on Washington’s role in the AKP’s ascent to power two decades ago.

AKP member Sancak, who is the owner of Turkey’s largest commercial and military vehicle manufacturer BMC, has been referred to the disciplinary board of the party’s Istanbul branch in a move to facilitate his expulsion, Duvar news site reported on Friday.

The 64-year-old businessman during a conference on NATO at Istanbul’s Marmara University earlier this week went on record to say that the AKP had come to power “with the support of the United States,” but later turned against the West.

“We began to defy the shackling system of the West,” Duvar cited him as saying, “And in order to topple this, the latest (force) they facilitated to permeate us, FETO, carried out the July 15 coup attempt. We were able to defeat them with the support of our nation.”  

The Turkish government accuses a religious group led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen of carrying out the 2016 coup attempt. Ankara has labelled the group, which it refers to as the Fethullahist Terorr Organization (FETÖ), a terror organisation and has dismissed over 150,000 suspected Gülenists from their jobs while throwing over 50,000 in jail.

Sancak also appeared on Russian news channel RBC earlier this month to argue that NATO, which Turkey is a member of, is the main culprit in Russia-Ukraine war, calling the transatlantic alliance a “cancerous tumour” in the Turkish political body.

The businessman maintained that NATO action against Russia was also a threat to Turkey. “We will not join in the sanctions, because if Russia falls, Turkey would get divided. And if Turkey falls, the same goes for Russia,” he said.

Turkey, which shares maritime borders with both Ukraine and Russia, maintains good ties with both countries and has sought to play a central role in mediation efforts to negotiate an end to the war.

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