Part 2—At times like these, nobody cares: For the record, Michael Flynn strikes us as a bit of a nut.
Last summer, he stood on stage at the Republican Convention, leading chants of "Lock her up." He retweeted a claim about the way Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of the basement of a D.C. pizza joint.
At the business he founded, he chose his even-crazier son to be his chief of staff.
That said, Flynn had a distinguished military career—and he has geopolitical views. If we're willing to be honest just this once, most of us liberals aren't sufficiently knowledgeable to say, with any real authority, that his views are "wrong."
Along the way, Flynn's craziness and his geopolitical views made him the apple of Donald J. Trump's eye. These are the wages a society pays when its "elites" mug and clown their way through thirty years of gonzo pseudo-political history, as our "elites" have done.
Now we're engaged in a great newspaper war, with the ludicrous Flynn providing much of the excitement. This leads us to our question for the day:
Who is Ekim Alptekin?
Who the heck is Ekim Alptekin? For now, let's let the New York Times tell us!
Alptekin has been all over the news in the past six months. He's routinely featured in news reports which deal with Michael Flynn's international adventures.
Despite his ubiquity, Alptekin remains a bit of an international man of mystery. Let's let the Times clear things up:
ROSENBERG AND MAZZETTI (5/18/17): The subpoena also asks for similar records about Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman who is close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and is chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council. There is no indication that Mr. Alptekin is under investigation.You just can't beat the New York Times for cool clear consistent reporting! According to our smartest newspaper, Alptekin is either a Turkish businessman, a Turkish-American businessman, or a Turkish businessman who is the head of the Turkish-American Business Council.
ROSENBERG (4/2/17): The payments for lobbying work that Mr. Flynn did for the Turkish government—and did not disclose until March—were handled through the Flynn Intel Group, and are not listed separately on the disclosure forms. Mr. Flynn did not work directly for the Turkish government; the firm that hired him, Inovo, is owned by a Turkish-American businessman with links to leaders in Ankara and [sic] asked him to work on an issue important to the government.
BAKER AND ROSENBERG (3/11/17): Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, registered as a lobbyist last year but did not file papers with the Justice Department registering as a foreign agent, providing a fuller understanding of his role, until Tuesday. While he did not work directly for the Turkish government, the firm that hired him, Inovo, is owned by a Turkish-American businessman with links to leaders in Ankara and [sic] asked him to work on an issue important to the government.
NORDLAND (11/19/17): General Flynn's article, as Politico reported, did not disclose that he was a paid lobbyist for a consultancy founded by a Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin, who is also the head of the Turkish-American Business Council.
In two recent attempt to identify Alptekin, Rosenberg and Mazzetti seemed to say that he's an American citizen. As far as we know, that's false. But even that elementary fact remains unresolved within our floundering "elite" press corps, which is currently on a chase.
(As we noted yesterday, the Washington Post keeps jumping around about Alptekin's citizenship too!)
Good God! Alptekin's employment of Flynn became a major topic last November. Even now, our big newspapers haven't managed to get clear about his citizenship, which would seem to be relevant to the matters at hand.
In fairness, everything else is murky too! Even after some recent searches, we don't think we've ever seen a statement about Alptekin's age, or about his place of residence.
How old is Alptekin? Where was he born, and where does he live? What is his citizenship? Because the corps is on a chase, details like these no longer matter. We're being sold an exciting tale, in which the most elementary facts seem to have no place.
Who the heck is Ekim Alptekin? We have no real idea—but over the weekend, as part of a search, we finally came upon a biographical profile from a non-journalistic source.
Because it comes from some sort of interest group, we can't swear for its perfect accuracy. But what the heck! Here it is:
RESEARCH TURKEY: Ekim Alptekin is a successful young businessman, specialised on transatlantic trade and the development and maintenance of commercial and political cooperation between Turkey and the US. He was born in Ankara in 1977. He completed his studies in law and economics in Utrecht University in 2001. He speaks Turkish, English, French, German, and Dutch. After completing his studies he moved to the USA and worked in the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) as well as other international organisations. Alptekin also carries important diplomatic missions. He is honorary consul of Turkey to Albania and member of the board of the USA Newroz Commission. In addition, he is member of European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD).According to that account, Michael Flynn's recent employer is 39 or 40 years old. Especially considering his age, he seems to be a go-getter.
Ekim Alptekin also carries out important activities in trading sector. He is the founder and a principal partner of Eclipse Aerospace Inc., a New Mexico-based company manufacturing aircrafts. He founded EA Aerospace in Turkey to buy American Eclipse Aerospace, which was re-founded in 2008. EA Aerospace is significant as it is the very first Turkish company that made aircraft industry investment in the USA. In addition to EA Aerospace, Ekim Alptekin owns EA Construction, ATH Defence and One Colony companies active in real estate, construction, defence, security, entertainment, and tourism industries. Alptekin agglomerated his companies under the name of AE Group, where he acts as the Chair of the Executive Board. He also worked as the President of the Turkish-American Business Association (TABA/AmCham) between 2012 and 2014, and he was elected as the Young Leader by the American-Turkish Society in 2012. He won the Commercial Leadership Award of American-Turkish Council thanks to the Eclipse Aerospace initiative in 2011. Alptekin’s EA Construction has been active in Istanbul’s construction sector through Beykonak Houses and Kartal Kule projects and his "Kartal Kule" project was awarded the "Best Architecture Single Office Europe by International Property Awards.
Since October 2015, Ekim Alptekin is acting as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Turkish-American Business Council (TAİK), an organisation under the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK).
It sounds like he's Turkish, not Turkish-American. That said, he seems to have gone to college in the Netherlands. Could he maybe be Turkish-Dutch—a Dutch citizen of Turkish extraction?
Did Alptekin move to the USA after college, as that profile declares? Does he maybe possibly live on Imus' ranch in New Mexico, where he founded Eclipse Aerospace Inc.?
Rather plainly, no one knows or cares!
Who the freak is this guy? Incredibly, the New York Times and the Washington Post still haven't bothered nailing down the basic facts about his citizenship. But this is the way our "press corps" behaves when they engage in a chase.
A few key facts do seem to be known about Alptekin. At some point, he founded Inovo BV, the Dutch-based firm which hired Flynn on a short-term contract last year.
Having said that, let us also say this: "a Dutch-based firm" is not the same thing as "the Turkish government." For whom was Michael Flynn working last year? Let's review the masterful way Rosenberg dealt with this basic question:
ROSENBERG (4/2/17): The payments for lobbying work that Mr. Flynn did for the Turkish government—and did not disclose until March—were handled through the Flynn Intel Group, and are not listed separately on the disclosure forms. Mr. Flynn did not work directly for the Turkish government; the firm that hired him, Inovo, is owned by a Turkish-American businessman with links to leaders in Ankara and [sic] asked him to work on an issue important to the government.According to that paragraph, Flynn "did lobbying work for the Turkish government" without "working directly for the Turkish government."
It's possible this could be explained, though no one has really bothered.
(Through early March, Our Own Rhodes Scholar kept exciting and delighting us liberals by telling us that Flynn had been "on the Turkish government payroll." On its face, this exciting claim always seemed to be false.
(Our Own Rhodes Scholar no longer makes this claim, though she still sometimes implies it. On alternate weeks, she tells us that the money for Flynn's work came from Putin-connected Russian oligarchs, without seeming to notice that this second exciting story doesn't directly jibe with her first.
(Even as she dropped her thrilling earlier account, Our Own Rhodes Scholar never fired up her gong-show based DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS to explain the change in her story. She was assuming, quite correctly, that we liberals are too dumb to notice the change in her account, and/or too addicted to narrative to care.)
Did Michael Flynn do something wrong when he worked for Alptekin and Inovo BV, which is either 1) the Turkish government or 2) an arm of Putin's oligarchs? We can't answer that question.
We can tell you this:
A chase is on in the mainstream press. At such times, elementary facts and logic tend to disappear.
What matters is preferred talking points, which get repeated again and again. In the current instance, the greatest such point is this:
Michael Flynn registered as a "foreign agent!" That is a very exciting point. But does anyone know what it means?
Michael Flynn worked as a foreign agent! It sounds wonderfully vile. But what the heck does that term really mean? And to what has Michael Flynn copped?
Tomorrow, we'll start to sift those questions. In the meantime, Ekim Alptekin, Flynn's fresh-faced employer, is either Turkish or American or possibly Dutch. Flynn was on the Turkish government payroll. Or he worked for Putin's oligarchs!
As with New England weather, so too with elementary facts when a chase is on. If you don't like the most recent account, you can just wait a while!
Michael Flynn strikes us as a bit of a nut, but so do large swaths of the elite press. Thirty years of their low-IQ clowning got us all into this mess.
Tomorrow: What is a foreign agent?