Ekim Alptekin plans to quit the presidency of the American-Turkish Council, who already testified in front of Mueller’s prosecutors, Turkish local press reports.
Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, who has been a frequent topic of discussion in the American media for his involvement with the Mueller investigation already testified to the Mueller’s team in May, when he was in Washington, DC to talk at the American-Turkish Council’s annual meeting.
According to same reports, Alptekin’s earlier testimony about payment to Mike Flynn, President’s Trump’s first National Security Adviser, to the Mueller team was not accepted as truth by the team Mueller and American prosecutors. Mueller’s team asked Alptekin’s lawyers to tell his client that he needs to renew his testimony and tell the truth about $450 thousand paid to Flynn.
According to Turkish local reports, Alptekin was advised by his lawyers not to go to the US, and doing so could be risky. Therefore, Alptekin, who always accompanied President Erdogan during his US visits, even planning some of his events as he did during Erdogan’s March of 2016 visit, did not come with Erdogan to UN General Assembly meetings in September, 2 weeks ago.
Alptekin told “his close circles that under the circumstances it’s impossible for him to continue to the chairmanship of Turkish-American Business Council (TAIK).” Alptekin has been the head of TAIK since early 2014 after the council was taken over by the Erdogan government. Before that date, TAIK was autonomous business body, planning its own meetings and calendar, electing its own president. After the 2013 December of corruption cases, Erdogan government moved to take over many autonomous institutions, sought ways to grab more power. Therefore, the Erdogan government took the control of TAIK as well and appointed Mr. Alptekin as business body’s first post-autonomous president, tying him directly the Turkish government.
Alptekin gave various accounts about the source of money and why he paid the money.
Mueller: We do not believe your testimony, please renew it
According to same Turkish reports in Hurriyet, Alptekin returned Turkey following his testimony during his visit to Washington, DC between May 21-23 of 2017. 2 days after returning home, Alptekin received a subpoena from the Grand Jury. Mueller’s investigators told Alptekin’s lawyers, “your client (Alptekin) is lying. The discussed money ($450K or $530K) is not his own money. We believe that he paid this money on behalf of the Turkish government. We expect him to renew his testimony.”
“There can not be a president of US-Turkish Business Council who cannot travel to US”
Alptekin, who is known to travel to the US when there are important events between Turkey and US did not accompany President Erdogan in his most recent visit to UN General Assembly meetings. It’s now learned that the reason he did not show up for NYC meetings, according to Turkish local reports, is because the Mueller investigation. According to Hurriyet’s sources, Alptekin told his business partners that there cannot be a president of Turkish-US business council who cannot travel to the US. Therefore, it’s better for me to quit the position.
Same reports indicated that TAIK is now searching for a new president to replace Alptekin for November elections.
Number of close allies of President Erdogan, such as former EU Minister Egemen Bagis cannot travel to US, despite he is a US-Turkish dual citizen, due to Reza Zarrab investigation.
Now, reports reveal that Ekim Alptekin joins to the list of Erdogan allies who cannot travel to US.