Former CHP deputy implicated in UAE, Washington scandal

ÖMER FARUK GÖRÇIN
ISTANBUL
Published 09.06.2017 21:41
Updated 09.06.2017 21:43

A recent email leak involving the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) envoy to Washington has implicated a former Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy, Aykan Erdemir, and expert for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), who had said he is "proud to be known as the power behind the July 15 coup attempt", as having dubiously participated in events involving the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The emails, allegedly stolen last week from the inbox of the Emirati ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba, revealed the close relationship between Otaiba and the pro-Israel, neo-conservative FDD think tank.

The Intercept reported that the emails were hacked and distributed by a group called GlobalLeaks tying themselves to DCLeaks, a website that previously released Democratic National Committee emails. According to the report, the hackers used a .ru email address, associated with Russia.

The hacked emails show that Otaiba has been in frequent contact with the FDD, which is funded by pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson, an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In one of the emails obtained by the Intercept, FDD senior counselor John Hannah, a former deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, sent Otaiba an article claiming that both the UAE and the FDD were responsible for the July 15 military coup attempt in Turkey, saying he is "honored to be in the UAE's company."

The FDD's experts' list also strikingly includes former CHP deputy Aykan Erdemir. Erdemir, who has been actively involved in defamation activities against Turkey under the umbrella of the FDD, also has dubious links to FETÖ.

In his latest article penned for the Washington Post, Erdemir, whose term as deputy ended in June 2015, had accused President Recep Tayip Erdoğan of being "a conspiracist and anti-Semitic," based on his opinion shaped by a Turkish TV series.

Erdemir was also among the signatories of the letter, penned by two former U.S. Ambassadors Martton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman, which was written to defame President Erdoğan ahead of his U.S. visit in March 2016. The former deputy has also been actively supporting social media campaigns against Turkey, particularly on Facebook.

The former CHP deputy attended the inauguration of the Washington bureau of FETÖ-linked Samanyolu TV channel on March 18, 2015. Attending the event with former İzmir deputy İlhan İşbilen and Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) Elazığ deputy Enver Erdem, he made a speech about the freedom of the press in Turkey.

At the time, the FETÖ-linked HizmetNews news website circulated a story about the event. According to sources, Erdemir, who had made comment contributions to shows on Samanyolu TV, also visited the Rumi Forum which is among the FETÖ-linked organizations in the U.S.

Meanwhile, in comments made to Public Radio International, Erdemir said that July 15 coup attempt was not only carried out by Gülenists but that people from other parts of society had also participated, adding that th e Turkish government could not provide sufficient proof that Gülen was behind the coup attempt and that Turkish authorities knew about the coup attempt from the early hours of July 15.

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