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Iran Press TV

Flynn discussed removing Gulen with Turkish officials: Ex-CIA chief

Iran Press TV

Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:12AM

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn discussed with senior Turkish officials the possibility of removing Turkey's exiled opposition figure Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of masterminding a coup attempt last year, according to a report.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal that he attended a meeting in New York in September during which Flynn, who was then an adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, spoke with top Turkish government ministers about removing Muslim cleric Gulen from the United States and taking him to Turkey.

The former CIA chief said that he was shocked by the discussions and felt the move could be illegal.

The idea was "a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away," Woolsey told the Journal. "You don't send out folks to haul somebody overseas."

Flynn disclosed the meeting to the Justice Department in a filing late last month, admitting that his consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, carried out research that "focused on" Gulen on behalf of the Netherlands-based company Inovo BV, which is owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin.

Recently, Flynn had to register as a foreign agent because of his work with Inovo.

Flynn's firm was paid more than $500,000 by the Dutch firm for public relations and research work, including looking into the Turkish opposition figure, who is residing in Pennsylvania.

Flynn, who was forced to resign last month over his contacts with Russian officials, was involved in a business that was potentially representing the interests of a country other than the US at the time he was advising Trump on foreign policy matters during the election.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for Gulen's extradition, a request that was rebuffed by the administration of former president Barack Obama.

Ankara hopes that the Trump administration would be more cooperative in this regard.

"We hope steps will be taken primarily to extradite [Gulen], the architect of the cowardly coup attempt," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said just hours before Trump's inauguration on January 20.

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