Newsweek has an article out this morning laying out some of Trump’s conflicts of interest. They go over some problems with the Philipines, China, and especially Turkey. It is the story bout Turkey that we must take note of however.
It all begins in 2008. That year Trump signed a deal with a company called Dogan Holdings. The deal was to put his name on two towers that were being built raising millions of dollars for Trump and his family business.
The President of Turkey, Erdogan, actually presided over the opening and met Trump himself in 2012. Things seemed rosy between the two. But it didn’t last. Earlier this year, Erdogan declared that the Trump name should be removed from the complex because he was angry about Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims.
Then in July, members of the Turkish military attempted a coup. Erdogan crushed the attempt. Since then, he has arrested over 36,000 people he claims were involved in the coup attempt. He also shut down 17 media outlets he thinks were against him.
Then to make sure someone was named as the one to blame, he picked Fethulla Gulen, a 77 year-old Imam living in the Pennsylvania Poconos. He demanded that the Obama administration immediately deport Gulen to turkey to face his heinous crimes.
The administration, in conjunction with U.S. law said that Erdogan must present hard evidence before it would consider extraditing Gulen. You have to know that Erdogan and Gulen were allies until 2013. That year a series of investigations were launched in what has become known as “gas for gold” with Iran scandal.
Seeing his administration being investigated like this, Erdogan declared that Gulen was behind the insidious investigations and declared it was a form of “civilian coup”. He placed Gulen on Turkey’s “Most Wanted List”.
Now, enter Donald Trump and his business conflicts. On the day of the U.S. elections, the Hill ran an article by none other than Michael Flynn who has his own business interests in Turkey. His consulting company is paid by the Turkish government.
In the article, Flynn made sure where his loyalties lay. He wrote:
The forces of radical Islam derive their radical ideology from radical clerics like Gulen who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven…It is imperative that we remember who are real friends are.
Erdogan saw that article as a signal. He immediately believed that a Trump administration would not demand more evidence to extradite Gulen and he immediately stopped attacking him.
The day after the election the Prime Minister for Turkey wrote a congratulatory message linking Gulen into the message. He wrote:
We congratulate Donald Trump. I am openly calling on the new President from here about the urgent extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the mastermind, perpetrator and executor of the heinous July 15 coup attempt, who lives on U.S. soil.
But it gets even better. Later that same day, Trump talked to Erdogan on the phone. He was sure to pass on best wishes from one of his business associates whom he called a “close friend”. That person was Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, the son-in-law of Dogan Holding owner Ayden Dogan who was instrumental in Trump’s business complex in Turkey. Yalcindag is now running the company as Dogan is retiring.
The fact that Trump delivered the message was widely reported in Turkish media and has never been denied by the Trump team. In the past, Erdogan has placed enormous pressure on Dogan’s media outlets. This pressure included a $2.5 billion tax fine on the company. This is because the media outlets have been critical of Erdogan.
So, when Trump called Dogan’s son-in-law a “close friend” that gave Erdogan some ammunition to blackmail Trump. On December 1, Turkish authorities detained Barbaros Muratogal, a 28-year veteran of Dogan Holdings and the company’s representative in Ankara. His crime was “maintaining ties with the movement led by Gulen”. Thereby, tying executives of Dogan Holdings to the coup.
The evidence cited by Erdogan for this “detention” is public accusations made by an editor of a newspaper that is a competitor of Dogan. How is that for sound evidence for arrest and links to a coup.
So, we are looking at the real possibility that at any moment Trump’s revenue source from Turkey could be cut off completely. Just look at the “evidence”. Erdogan is frustrated because he can’t get his hands on Gulen. Trump lavishes praise on an executive for Dogan Holdings, and then a few weeks later another executive from Dogan Holdings is arrested on extremely thin evidence.
Using the executive that was arrested and the millions of dollars flowing to Trump and his children from Turkey it could be said that Erdogan has leverage against Trump.
The question is will Trump simply hand over Gulen to Turkey to save his friend’s executive and his millions or will he require more evidence that Gulen was actually involved in the coup?
Erdogan sincerely believes he has something Trump wants. When Trump becomes President, he will have what Erdogan wants. Will Trump engage in quid-pro-quo with people’s lives? Let’s be clear, if Gulen is extradited to Turkey his life will be very short.
The real irony in all of this is that it is of Trump’s own making. This “smart” man who doesn’t need daily intelligence briefings just placed an executive of a supposed “friend” in danger because he does not understand what the hell is going on in Turkey.
If he hade really understood world politics, he would have kept his mouth shut and not placed himself or these people in this position. But don’t worry, Thursday Trump will announce how he will divest himself from his businesses. Oh yeah, that news conference was cancelled yesterday.
This issue is a perfect example of just how dangerous this ignorant person is to our nation and people in general. His penchant for bluster about how great he is and his willingness to blindly “name drop” has put two men’s lives in jeopardy.
I don’t know about you, but if I were a Trump business associate overseas I would be on the phone asking Mr. Loose Lips to not mention my name to my government officials. Once this clown takes office, when I hear the entrance song for the President I will be singing “hail to the idiot”.