[It is really difficult to get a handle on this breaking story, since everything is in Turkish, and Goog Trans does a terrible job translating Turkish to English. Despite that impediment, I have waded into to the story, nonetheless. It seems that the “air force imam,” and a partner was accused of transporting “Orphans” to the US each year as cover for the plotters and their American handlers. One of them was able to make a call in a restroom, before removing and hiding the memory card from that phone in a stack of towels. The next guy in found the card. It appears that they are obtaining hard evidence of US sponsorship of “Orphan’s putsch night.”]
The State Department says it is reviewing nearly 15,000 previously undisclosed emails recovered as part of the FBI’s now-closed investigation into the handling of sensitive information that flowed through Hillary Clinton’s private home server. Time
WASHINGTON — An Istanbul-based college professor, who has been accused by the Turkish government of coordinating last month’s failed coup attempt, is at the center of a group of suspicious 2014 contributions to a super PAC supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
Adil Oksuz is the subject of a massive manhunt in Turkey. Two years ago, an apparently fictitious company that Oksuz created made a $5,000 donation to the Ready for Hillary PAC, a group preparing for Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The Clinton campaign did not provide a response to USA TODAY’s questions about the donations. The campaign did not control the operations of the super PAC.
A company called Harmony Enterprises gave $5,000 to the PAC on June 27, 2014, campaign finance records show. Oksuz registered Harmony in New Jersey in 2010, according to state corporate records. It is the only campaign donation the company had ever made. The company website suggests it is a paper manufacturing business, but the address listed on the corporate records is a used-car lot on a highway in Lodi, N.J. Harmony’s phone number is disconnected.
Foreign nationals are not allowed by law to make campaign donations, but foreign-owned companies are allowed to donate as long as they are using U.S.-generated profits and the decision to donate is made by U.S citizens who work for the company, according to election lawyer Charlie Spies. There is no public information showing whether the Harmony donation complied with campaign finance laws.
The donation was one of a half-dozen donations made to Ready PAC that same day totaling more than $62,000 from Turkish Americans in and around Lodi. Much of that money came from companies that no longer exist or may have never existed, or from donors who cannot be located, campaign and corporate records show. Other donors in the group were also donors to the Clinton presidential campaign as well as the Clinton Global Initiative.
Most of the donors have clear ties to the religious movement led by a cleric named Fethullah Gülen, who lives on a compound in the Pennsylvania countryside.
The Turkish government believes Gülen is running a worldwide network that is trying to overthrow the regime there. Turkish President Recep Erdogan has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite Gülen. In the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, the Turkish government declared that Oksuz was the “imam of the Air Force” and a leader of the plot in Turkey. He was briefly detained and then released after the coup but is now being hunted by the government.
Gülen denounced the coup attempt and told USA TODAY that he and his movement had nothing to do with it. “I condemn and reject in the strongest terms the attempted coup,” he said in an interview with USA TODAY and several other reporters in July.
The Gülen movement, also known as Hizmet, has been active in American politics. A network of Gülen-affiliated organizations provided members of Congress and staff hundreds of free trips to Turkey, many of which USA TODAY discovered were secretly funded by Turkish entities in violation of congressional travel rules.
Gülen-affiliated Turkish Americans have also provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in suspicious donations to political campaigns in the United States. The donations often arrive in groups of five to 10 high-dollar contributions from first-time political donors whose employment declarations provide no evidence they can afford the checks they are writing.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., returned $43,100 in Turkish-American donations last year after USA TODAY’s reporting indicated that some of the contributors were unaware even of basic facts about Ayotte — such as the fact that she is a woman.
The pattern re-emerges in the donations to Clinton’s PAC on June 27, 2014. Along with Oksuz’s Harmony Enterprises, a second business at the Lodi, N.J., address — Under 70 Auto Sales, also a used-car lot — donated $7,500 to Ready PAC that day. That company was owned by Abdulhadi Yildirim, whom Turkish news reports identify as Oksuz’s U.S.-based brother-in-law. Yildirim’s LinkedIn page lists him as “Executive Director at Harmony Enterprises.” The phone number at Under 70 Auto Sales is disconnected.
Bergen County land records indicate that a company called Sansun USA LLC, owned by Adbulhadi Yildirim, sold the car lot for $510,000 the day before the donations were made.
Two other used-car lots on that same stretch of U.S. Highway 46 made donations to Ready PAC on the same day, totaling $12,500. Both lots were registered to do business in New Jersey by Mustafa Urgulu; one appears to have closed, the other was sold. Neither company has ever made another political donation, but Urgulu is a regular Democratic contributor. He did not respond to messages left at the number he lists on his LinkedIn page.
That same day in 2014, two leaders of the Gülen-affiliated Turkish Cultural Center of New York made large donations to Ready PAC.
Recep Ozkan, who served as the center’s president a decade ago, donated $20,000 to Ready PAC. He served as a national finance co-chairman for the PAC. He has also given nearly $5,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and earlier this year he gave between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Global Initiative. Ozkan is variously listed on campaign finance records as president of Baharu Inc. and chairman of Everglobe Partners LLC, but neither company has a functioning telephone number or email address. Ozkan could not be reached for this story.
Gokhan Ozkok — also listed as a past president of the TCC and a finance co-chairman of Ready PAC — gave $5,000 to the PAC that day and in March 2014, and he has given $8,000 to Clinton’s campaigns over the years. He is also a donor to the Clinton Global Initiative. His company, White Tulip Global, has a website, but the phone number rings to an answering machine and an email inquiry was returned as undeliverable. Its listed address is a “virtual office” in New York that serves as a mail drop. Ozkok could not be reached for this story.
Ozkan and Ozkok both corresponded with Clinton aide Huma Abedin via Clinton’s personal email server, according to new emails released by the State Department to the watchdog group Judicial Watch. After Clinton broke her elbow in a fall in 2009, Ozkok sent best wishes via Abedin and added, “I would also like to convey the prayers of Mr. Gülen.”
Contributing: Herb Jackson, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record