On Monday night, Rachel Maddow discussed a Newsweek report concerning our next president, Donald Trump, and how the Turkish President Erdoğan might have already taken steps to compromise our nation’s next leader by threatening his business interests in Turkey.
This story centers around two towers being built by Doğan Holding, a company that’s set to pay millions of dollars to use Trump’s name on these buildings, and a rather interesting phone call from the president of Turkey the day after our elections.
“The day after our presidential election in this country, one of the world leaders who called up Trump tower and spoke with the president-elect was the president of Turkey,” Maddow said. “And one of the perk up your ears strange things reported about that call is that while Donald Trump was on the phone taking that congratulatory phone call from the president of Turkey, in that same call, Mr. Trump brought up to the president of Turkey, by name, that executive from the Doğan company, the guy who was the key guy on Trump’s big twin towers in Istanbul.”
In and of itself that phone call may have been fairly harmless, but what followed is where things get interesting. As Maddow explained, it’s that phone call which gave President Erdoğan practically everything he needed to blackmail our next president.
“Now Newsweek reports that Turkey has figured out how to turn that to their advantage and how to put the president of the United States over a barrel in the process,” Maddow continued. “On December 1st, the top representative of the Doğan company… got arrested by the Turkish police. Again, Trump as president-elect, had taken an official call from the Turkish president, he used that occasion to tell the Turkish president how much this one particular company meant to him, going so far as to name specific executives.”
The Turkish government is claiming that the executive they arrested, and the founder of the company, were both part of a failed military coup that happened over the summer.
In other words, because Trump doesn’t have any idea what he’s doing, he handed a man many consider nothing more than a dictator exactly what he needed to blackmail our next president.
That’s when Maddow addressed the reason why President Erdoğan did this.
“Turkey desperately wants the U.S. government to extradite a Turkish imam [Fethullah Gulen] who lives in Pennsylvania now. He’s a legal, permanent U.S. resident.,” Maddow explained. “They want to blame him for that coup. They want the U.S. to ship him over to Turkey.”
Thus far, the U.S. government has said they’re not going to extradite Gulen.
“But if that’s what you wanted,” she added. “What if you could squeeze the personal financial interests of the American president as a way of trying to get what you want from the American government? I mean, the Trump family, and the president-elect himself, they stand to make millions of dollars from their relationship with the Doğan group in Turkey. That will presumably stop if the Doğan group in Turkey all gets locked up. So they started locking them up. Nice leverage, right?”
While I’m sure the Turkish president, Trump and his supporters will deny that these comments during that phone call had anything to do with the arrest of this executive, you have to be incredibly naive to not see what this is about. It’s not a coincidence that months after an attempted coup, a key executive to a company doing millions of dollars worth of business with Trump, a man who our president-elect just happened to specifically mention during a phone call with the Turkish president, ends up in prison a couple of weeks after that call.
Maddow then read a key excerpt from the Newsweek report:
If Erdoğan’s government puts more pressure on the company that’s paying millions of dollars to Trump and his children, revenue flowing from that tower complex in Istanbul could be cut off. That means Erdoğan has leverage with Trump, who will soon have the power to get Gulen extradited.
Erdoğan has something he believes Trump wants, and Trump has someone Erdoğan desperately wants.
This is a situation that should alarm everyone (though I’m sure his supporters will downplay its significance), but it’s also exactly what many people have been saying was going to happen. We were warned that Trump’s business interests were going to be used by world leaders to extort or blackmail him into giving them things they want because they believe if they go after his finances, that gives them the leverage they desire over our next president.
And in this particular case, it’s Donald Trump’s sheer incompetence that handed President Erdoğan the information he needed to seize that leverage over our nation’s next president. Incompetence that’s also put the lives of this Turkish imam and the executive who was arrested at risk because now Trump’s going to have to make a decision:
- Extradite an imam into the hands of a dictator who’ll almost certainly kill him to secure the release of the Doğan executive who was arrested so that his company can make millions. – or –
- Refuse to extradite this imam, which may trigger more arrests of members of the Doğan family by the Turkish government for no other reason than to kill a business deal Trump had made with their company.
Donald Trump’s not even officially our president, yet his stupidity has already put himself in a position to be blackmailed by a foreign leader. He’s either going to have give in to President Erdoğan’s demands to extradite the imam or he’ll refuse and likely lose millions of dollars on a business deal.
No matter what decision he ultimately makes, his incompetence has already put the lives of innocent people in jeopardy by handing someone who’s much smarter than he is exactly what they needed to have leverage to use against him.
Watch the video below via MSNBC: