Trial begins with high stakes for US-Turkey ties, ex-Trump adviser Flynn

Source:Middle East Monitor Date:16Jul2019

In a court case that could further strain American relations with Turkey and weigh on the sentencing of former US national security adviser Michael Flynn, a criminal trial began on Monday involving a former Iranian-American business partner of Flynn, Reuters reports.

Bijan Rafiekian’s trial in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, turns on whether he conspired to lobby on Turkey’s behalf to try to persuade the US government to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Turkey for a failed coup in July 2016.

“During the summer and fall of 2016, the defendant has acted as an agent to advance one of Turkey’s most important foreign policy goals,” one US prosecutor said in his opening statement, adding that was to help support Ankara’s goal in seeking the extradition of Gulen from the United States.