Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin charged with involvement in Flynn lobbying
A former business partner of Michael Flynn, who was once U.S. President Donald Trump's security advisor, is being charged with conspiring to helping to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen from the United States, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
According to the indictment, Bijan Kian, Flynn's former partner, conspired with Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin to illegally lobby U.S. government officials and influence public opinion in the U.S. against Fethullah Gülen, Washington Post said.
Ankara has accused Gülen of masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt and has launched a wide-scale crackdown against Gülen’s followers in Turkey. Gülen has denied involvement in the coup.
Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin is accused of directing and funding Kian and Flynn’s business. According to the indictment, it was ''clear'' that the real ''client'' was the Turkish government which worked through Alptekin.
Alptekin denies that there is any involvement of the Turkish government in lobbying efforts. In the indictment, it is claimed that "Turkish Minister #1" is being updated and approves the lobbying efforts. "Turkish Minister #1" also told Alptekin that these efforts will be discussed at the Turkish Cabinet of Ministers, according to email communications quoted by the U.S. investigators.
In page 5, "Turkish Minister #1" tells Alptekin that he would like to meet with the group during his visit to Washington DC, according to Alptekin's email dated August 10, 2016 and quoted by the indictment. Alptekin also asks Kian if they know anyone on the U.S. Secretary of State's team.
The U.S. Secretary of State at the time was John Kerry.
Alptekin also told Rafiekian via Skype on Sept.1, 2016, that they are scheduling a meeting with a Turkish ministers and perhaps even "a Senior Turkish leader 1", the indictment said.
The indictment talks abut "Senior Turkish Leader #1" and "Senior Leader #2".
In page 5, in email quoted by the indictment, Alptekin reportedly tells Kian and Person A that "Minister #1" and "Minister #2" will discuss the lobbying efforts with "Senior Turkish Leader #2."
According to court reporter Adam Klasfeld, "Senior Leader #1" is current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
It is also known that Erdogan was in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016 for the Assembly meetings.
Alptekin, in a Skype message quoted by the indictment, says that he will meet with "Turkish Minister #1" s boss... not direct boss but u know who."
Very likely that here Alptekin implies then Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who is the direct superior of the cabinets, as "Senior Turkish Leader #2" and other boss, who is not directly overseeing the ministers as "Senior Turkish Leader #1" and Turkish President.