The curious thing about the Flynn-Turkey connection is that it was a very badly-kept secret. Details of Flynn’s connection to a firm that worked on behalf of the Turkish government were known at least by mid-November, and there were hints that something fishy was going before that when he began singing Erdogan’s praises and demanding Gulen’s extradition.
One of the Trump administration’s first decisions about the fight against the Islamic State, ISIS, was made by Michael Flynn weeks before he was fired – and it conformed to the wishes of Turkey, whose interests, unbeknownst to anyone in Washington, he’d been paid more than $500,000 to represent.
If nothing else, the timing of this is certainly interesting. Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington for his meeting with President Trump scheduled for later today. It’s an encounter which I already described as problematic at best, given Erdogan’s new status as a strongman and tyrant, and it doesn’t seem to hold the promise of much benefit on our part.
The exiled cleric accused by Turkey of orchestrating last year’s attempted coup charged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with seeking to silence critics, as the Turkish leader prepared to push for the preacher’s extradition in a White House meeting with Donald Trump.
In the aftermath of the failed coup — and the subsequent purge of thousands of workers accused of being dissidents — Canada has seen a spike in asylum claims from Turkey. The 55,000-strong Turkish-Canadian community has also become increasingly polarized, with distrust and accusations of witch hunts against anyone deemed to be a sympathizer and supporter of the Gulen Movement.
The Turkish Culture Center of Brooklyn feted a bevy of Brooklyn elected officials tonight as part of their eighth Annual Friendship Dinner & Award ceremony celebrating cultural diversity with the theme of the evening being “Hate Crime.”
The Erdogan government jails its citizens without due process, severely curtails freedom of speech by jailing journalists, and ignores the plight of vulnerable minorities. They are the least credible messengers to warn Americans about their civic duty. The Turkish Consulate’s attempt to use McCarthyite tactics to spread fear and unduly influence American civic life is simply abhorrent and deserves condemnation.
Mr Gulen denies any role in the failed coup in July, and US officials have privately said the evidence provided by Turkey has been inadequate, while voluminous. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim recently described the delay as a joke on Turkey.
An American pastor who has been jailed on bogus terrorism charges in Turkey for more than five months has asked US President Donald Trump to help secure his release. Pastor Brunson has no known ties to terrorist groups, and the Turkish government has not produced any evidence to show that he does.
Country after country, world’s leading intelligence agencies say they’ve seen no evidence supporting Ankara’s narrative. Heads or members of intelligence services of two countries, Germany and the U.S., both allies of Turkey, came out and said Ankara has yet to convince them about its narrative that links Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen to July 15 coup attempt.
James Woolsey says he attended a September meeting where other participants, including then-Trump adviser Mike Flynn, talked of moving Fethullah Gulen back to Turkey without going through U.S. extradition process.
Turkish leaders said they were astonished that they had so far been unsuccessful in persuading the United States Justice Department to even ask a federal judge to extradite Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish government said it had provided the United States with extensive proof against Mr. Gulen, who has denied involvement. But Turkish officials refused in several interviews to publicize a single piece of that evidence.