Trump Adviser Michael Flynn, an Advocate for Extraditing Gulen, Financially Linked to Erdogan

The Retired Lt. Gen. and defense secretary candidate, did not disclose in a pro-Erdogan oped that his firm is being paid by an arm of the Turkish government.

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Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, center, leaving Trump Tower in New York City, November 14, 2016.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, center, leaving Trump Tower in New York City, November 14, 2016.Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Despite Donald Trump's pledge not to have his officials working on behalf of foreign governments, the vice chair of his transition team has been linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, The Daily Caller revealed on Friday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn runs a consulting firm that has been lobbying for Turkish interests, Robert Kelly, an associate, told Politico, which followed up on the story.

Flynn wrote an opinion piece just before the presidential election in The Hill advocating the extradition of Erdogan critic Fethullah Gulen from the United States to Turkey. However, Flynn, who is a candidate to be defense secretary or National Security Advisor, did not disclose that his Flynn Intel Group was recently hired to lobby on behalf of Turkish interests.

According to The Daily Caller, a Dutch company called Inovo BV recently hired Flynn Intel Group to lobby on behalf of Turkey. Ekim Alptekin, an ally of Erdogan and director of the Turkey-U.S. Business Council, which is associated with Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board, founded Ekim Alptekin.

The Daily Caller pointed out that Flynn changed his stance this year after his firm took on Ekim Alptekin. He criticized Turkey in a conversation with Seymour Hersh that appeared in the London Review of Books in January, saying that "Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria." However, in November, he asserted that Turkey is the "strongest ally" of the United States against ISIS.

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