Flynn Intel Group Worked with Turkish Officials with Close Ties to Man Dubbed “Putin’s Rasputin”
With renewed scrutiny on President Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and a potential indictment looming, a new link connecting Flynn to Putin’s inner circle has been uncovered.
Flynn was paid $530,000 for his lobbying work that benefited Turkey, a sum of money that he originally failed to disclose having to retroactively registering as a foreign agent in 2017. During the fall of 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Flynn Intel Group was flying Turkish officials to Washington to interview them to be featured in a documentary on Fetullah Gulen — the Muslim cleric that the Erdogan government blames for a failed coup attempt in 2015. Ismail Hakki Pekin, the former head of Turkish intelligence, was one of the men featured in the film. It is unclear how Flynn’s group got in touch with Pekin and the extent of their relationship. After news of Flynn’s failure to mention his work that helped the Turkish government became public, the film was never released.
In multiple instances over the past few years, beginning in 2014, Pekin has acted as an intermediary between Putin and Turkey. When a Russian jet was shot down by Turkey in 2015, Pekin flew to Moscow to resolve the tensions between the two nations. There, he met with multiple highly influential people close to Vladimir Putin including the US sanctioned Aleksandr Dugin and Konstantin Malofeev:
Dugin and Malofeev, who’s also under US sanctions for supporting the revolt in Ukraine, started Tsargrad, an old name for Constantinople, in 2015 and the TV channel now has some 20 million viewers. It was the only major station to carry a speech former Trump adviser Carter Page gave in Moscow last year.
Pekin said Dugin introduced Malofeev as Putin’s “right-hand man,” and the Turks came to learn the financier really can “knock on Putin’s door.”
“That’s how the trip became effective,” Pekin said. “We knew what we said went directly to Putin.”
Dugin himself describes the trip in great detail here:
Pekin has also consistently flowed information through an established back channel for the Turkish-Russian-Syrian governments to coordinate the movement of assets in Syria.
Despite all of the under-the-table multi-national information sharing, Pekin’s most troubling tie is to the Russian man named Aleksandr Dugin. The two have become very close through multiple interactions over the past 18 months. In May of 2016, Pekin was asked by the current Turkish government to invite Dugin to Ankara. Dugin returned to Ankara in August, meeting with the offices of the President and Prime Minister. The following week, Putin and Erdogan held a summit in St. Petersburg, marking the full restoration of relations between the two nations.
Aleksandr Dugin has been called “Putin’s Rasputin” and “Putin’s Brain”. Dugin has called for a genocide of Ukrainians, and proudly props up conspiracy theories such as the United States being responsible for the attempted coup in Turkey. The far-right ideologue has made a career out of espousing his love for Fascism and, specifically, Vladimir Putin. In 2007 he was quoted as saying,
“There are no more opponents of Putin’s course and, if there are, they are mentally ill and need to be sent off for clinical examination. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, and Putin is indispensable.”
With all of these back-channel communications, it is baffling that the Flynn Intel Group allowed this cooperation to happen. Given the risks of associating with controversial, anti-American and pro-Fascist people, Flynn’s connection left him vulnerable to criticism. These same connections, however, allowed Flynn to potentially pursue a valuable resource: Russian information and support.
The chair of Pekin’s political party The Homeland Party (for which Pekin is the vice-chair) is a man named Dogu Perincek.
Perincek has an arguably even closer relationship to Dugin. The two men bond over their American hatred; Perincek has gloated over the weakening influence of American forces in Turkey by saying, “A large share of America’s power in the military and the police has been crushed.” The men have traveled to each other’s country several times in official and unofficial capacities.
That Michael Flynn would open his group and pocketbook to a man with such anti-US views is stunning in itself. That he would attempt to hide this obvious connection to Putin’s inner circle is dubious. This willingness to work with such polarizing figures as Pekin and Perincek and their Russian connections illustrates a serious lack of judgement by the former NSA. Flynn is one of at least fifteen members of the Trump orbit that has confirmed ties to Russia. The list continues to grow regularly.
Contact the author: @ScottMStedman
Contact the Editor: Nathaniel de Gala