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Flynn Rejects Plot to KIDNAP CLERIC and DELIVER HIM to TURKEY

The Azeri Times

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The lawyer for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn vehemently rejected media reports of a plot to kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. to deliver to the Turkish government in return for millions of dollars.

Robert Kelner labeled media reports as “outrageous and false” in a statement denying a report by The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper on Friday reported that Special Counsel Robert Muellerwas investigating Mr. Flynn for a plot to forcefully remove Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar who lives in Pennsylvania in self-exile, and bring him to Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Mr. Gulen of orchestrating July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The cleric and his supporters strongly deny those charges.

The Turkish government sent dossiers of documents to Justice Department trying to secure his extradition, but so far has failed to persuade the U.S. authorities over Mr. Gulen’s role in the putsch.

The Wall Street Journal report sent ripples across the U.S. political spectrum, prompting waves of debates about former aide of President Donald J. Trump.

“Out of respect for the process of the various investigations regarding the 2016 campaign, we have intentionally avoided responding to every rumor or allegation raised in the media,” Mr. Kelner saidin a statement, according to Reuters.

“But today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageus and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false,” he said in the same statement.

The revelations came to the fore during Mr. Mueller’s investigation into claims of collusion between the Trump campaign team and Russian officials during the presidential election campaign last year.  In early August, media reports emerged that the Mueller’s team demanded documents from White House to unearth the full nature of Mr. Flynn’s ties to Turkey.

The retired general stayed only 23 days in his position as national security advisor. He was fired by President Trump after media reports revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the content and nature of his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

In a meeting on Sept. 19, in 2016, Mr. Flynn, former CIA Director James Woolsey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Serdar Kilic, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also President Erdogan’s son-in-law, first raised the scheme.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr., allegedly met with the Turkish officials to further discuss the plot in advance. The former Trump aide was offered $15 million for the plan to kidnap Mr. Gulen and bring him back to Turkey in a private jet.

Before that, the former national security advisor signed a lobbying deal with Ekim Alptekin, a businessman with close to the Turkish president, for $500,000 to discredit Mr. Gulen in the U.S.

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Turkey

Street name of new US embassy building in Ankara changed to ‘Malcolm X’

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A bill suggesting to change the street name of the new United States Embassy to “Malcolm X” was unanimously approved by the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Council on Oct. 13.

The embassy will move to its new address at 1478 Street in the Çukurambar neighborhood when construction is completed. According to the construction contractors BL Harbert, the new complex is due to be finished in 2020.

The street now has been named after the American human rights activist, who is known for his struggle for the black and Muslim people in the U.S. in the 1950s until his assassination in 1965.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had met the daughters of Malcolm X, Qubilah and Ilyasah Shabazz, during his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

“He has invited me to Turkey. Mr. Erdoğan said they have planned to give my father’s name to a street in Ankara and he invited us to the opening ceremony. That will probably happen this year,” said Ilyasah Shabazz after the meeting on Sept. 24.

The Ankara Metropolitan Municipality had changed the street name of the current U.S. Embassy building to “Olive Branch” in February after the military operation against ISIL and YPG militants in northern Syria.

The YPG, deemed the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, is supported by the U.S. in fighting against the ISIL.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

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Turkey

Azerbaijani mafia boss ‘Lotu Quli’ nabbed in Istanbul

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An Azerbaijani crime ring boss on Oct. 8 was detained in Istanbul by anti-organized crime police on charges of incitement to murder.

Nadir Salifov, alias Lotu Quli, was captured in an operation and taken to the Istanbul police headquarters on Vatan Avenue for interrogation.

He was released from prison in Azerbaijan a year ago after serving time for incitement to murder, arson, drug trafficking and robbery.

An arrest warrant was issued for Salifov with suspicion of his links to the killing of Russian-Azerbaijani mafia boss Rovshan Caniyev on Aug. 18, 2016 in Istanbul.

On Nov. 6, 2017, at a shopping mall in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district, 10 members of a Turkish gang called Şirinler (The Smurfs) were busted during their meeting with Caniyev’s brother.

The gang members were allegedly offered five million Turkish Liras to hit Salifov.

Salifova’s possible connections with other murders of Azerbaijani nationals in Istanbul in recent years will also be investigated by police.

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Turkey

Turkey surprises Greek Minister with low flying jets

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The meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece was briefly interrupted on Sept. 4 when low flying Turkish acrobatic jets surprised the Greek minister, who was calmed down by his Turkish counterpart. During the press conference, noise from the low flying Solo Türk acrobatic jets filled the room at one moment. When the Greek minister anxiously pointed to the sky, Çavuşoğlu calmed him down with a smile, telling him there was nothing to worry about. Solo Türk jets were in a test flight ahead of their upcoming show for the 96th anniversary of İzmir’s liberation from the Greek invasion in the aftermath of World War I.

Turkey and Greece have pledged to develop bilateral ties through dialogue and cooperation despite disputes that need to be resolved, the foreign ministries of the two countries have said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias inaugurated the renovated Greek Consulate General in the western province of İzmir on Sept. 4.

The consulate in İzmir was closed in 2003 for restoration works, but the process never finished due to the Greek economic crisis in the last decade.

“Turkey and Greece represent two big civilizations rich in history and geography. We carry the richness and traces of these two big civilizations together. Both our countries are home to scores of cultural heritages,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Cooperation and dialogue are regarded as the fundamental constituent in Turkey’s relations with Greece, he stressed.

“As Nikos said, there are issues we disagree on. We have sometimes experienced stormy weather. But at the end of the day commonsense prevails as the two sides regard cooperation and dialogue as the fundamental constituent of our ties,” the Turkish minister said.

Citing growing economic and trade ties between the two neighbors, Çavuşoğlu offered his counterpart to accelerate works to launch a ferry line between İzmir and the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Referring to Greece’s decision to provide legal protection to eight Turkish troops who fled to Greece after taking part in the July 2016 coup attempt, Çavuşoğlu said: “Turkey never harbors traitors of Greece on its soil. It is home only to the friends of Greece.”

Consulate symbol of a new beginning

For his part, the Greek foreign minister described the inauguration of the new building of the consulate general as the symbol of a new beginning in ties despite some bilateral problems.

“We are working with Mr. Çavuşoğlu to better our relations. We are also working on Turkey’s EU orientation. Two big leaders are in power in our countries. They are capable of resolving current problems based on international law,” he said.

Greece stood against coup plotters

The Greek top diplomat recalled that Greece has always stood by Turkey against coup plotters, saying Greece never “harbored terrorists.”

“We do not host them. What is always the case in our country is the implementation of the legal processes and international legal process. I believe our relations, our friendship and European vocation are also based on it,” he said.

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