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09 November, 2016

The Podesta emails – Erdogan's attempt to expand influence through donations to Democratic candidates?

WikiLeaks series on deals involving Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta. Mr Podesta is a long-term associate of the Clintons and was President Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff from 1998 until 2001. Mr Podesta also owns the Podesta Group with his brother Tony, a major lobbying firm and is the Chair of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington DC-based think tank.


An email sent by Michael Werz, Senior Fellow at American Progress, to John Podesta, on August 19, 2015, exposes the deep concern of the US establishment about the aggressive mobilization of Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to expand his influence on the US political status, and especially to the Democratic camp, in order to restrict further the power of the Turkish opposition and the Kurds.

Although short, this letter is particularly revealing:

        John, heard this second hand but more than once. Seems Erdogan faction is making substantial investments in U.S. to counter opposition (CHP, Kurds, Gulenists etc.) outreach to policymakers and USG. Am told that the Erdogan crew also tries to make inroads via donations to Democratic candidates, including yours. Two names that you should be aware of are *Mehmet Celebi* and *Ali Cinar*. Happy to elaborate on the phone, provided you are not shopping at the liquor store.


Recall that nearly a year later, Erdogan accused the United States of harboring Fethullah Gülen whom has considered responsible for the failed coup against him.

Also, “President Erdoğan asked the United States to extradite Gülen: "I call on you again, after there was a coup attempt. Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey! If we are strategic partners or model partners, do what is necessary." Prime Minister Yildirim has threatened war against any country that would support Gülen. Turkish Labor Minister Süleyman Soylu claimed that "America is behind the coup."”[wikipedia.org]

As a final result, the relations between US and Turkey, two key NATO allies, have been downgraded to the worst level for decades.

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