November 2, 2016 | Quoted by Brent Scher - The Washington Free Beacon
Clinton Campaign Was Warned That Turkey’s Erdogan Was Attempting to Buy Favor
Top Hillary Clinton campaign officials were warned last summer that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would make contributions to the campaign through American proxies to gain favor, but chose to take money from one of the people they were warned about nonetheless.
The warning came last August in an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Michael Werz, an expert on Turkey who used to work for Podesta’s Center for American Progress, told Podesta that the “Erdogan faction” was making investments in Democratic candidates such as Clinton.
“Am told that the Erdogan crew also tries to make inroads via donations to Democratic candidates, including yours,” Werz told Podesta. “Two names that you should be aware of are Mehmet Celebi and Ali Cinar.”
Dr. Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish Parliament who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said Erdogan’s effort to gain influence through various Turkish American organizations such as the Turkish Heritage Organization goes back to his 2013 rift with Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish religious leader who lives in the United States.
“Gülen and Erdogan had a very good relationship until December 2013—they used to be working together and hence Erdogan didn’t need much help lobbying because Gülen’s reach was very strong in the United States,” Erdemir explained. “After the fallout between the two, Erdogan tried to replace the Gülen network with an alternative network.”
“That is when the Turkish Heritage Organization came forth,” Erdemir said.
Cinar said that his job in the Democratic Party is “to foster support within ethnic communities, not to bring up foreign policy issues.”
Erdogan has blamed Gülen for orchestrating the unsuccessful coup attempt earlier this year and has called for the United States to turn him over to Turkey.
Last month Erdogan referred to Clinton as a “political novice.”
Email records show that Clinton maintained a relationship with Gülen-aligned forces while she was secretary of state. The Gülen network has also flooded money into both Clinton political operations and the Clinton Foundation.
Erdemir said “the Democratic Party itself has become the battleground for Erdogan-Gülen battles.”
“Turkish-American efforts within the Democratic Party are an attempt on the Turkish side to prevent pro-Gülen Turkish-American activity there,” Erdemir said.
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