In 2012, Donald Trump opened a twin tower structure in Turkey under the brand name Trump Towers Istanbul. The buildings were constructed and remain owned by a Turkish company, but Trump licensed his name to the project and continues to derive significant revenue from fees for the use if his name. In fact, according to Trump’s most recent financial disclosure filings, Trump earns somewhere between $100,001 and $1 million in licensing fees from Trump Towers Istanbul. The information was posted online by the watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) on the document archive site Box.
The financial disclosure forms for U.S. government officials, including Trump, require only that filers disclose a range of income earned from each source rather than specifying an exact figure.
As far back as 2017, as The Atlantic magazine reported, critics have said that Trump’s own financial interests in Turkey could influence his foreign policy positions to tip in Turkey’s favor. In fact, in 2017 when Erdogan muscled in a constitutional referendum that granted the country’s president — himself — nearly dictatorial powers, Trump called the Turkish leader “to congratulate him” on the referendum victory.
Just left Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday where #TrumpTowers was just opened–magnificent!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2012
In 2015, shortly after announcing his candidacy for president, Trump admitted that he had “a little conflict of interest” in Turkey, “because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” as quoted by The Atlantic. His self-described “little conflict of interest” has drawn new attention following the White House announcement on Sunday that the U.S. would pull troops in Syria back from a region where Turkey has long planned a military operation against Kurdish forces there.
Trump “paved the way” for a Turkish assault on the Kurdish YPG, or “People’s Protection Unit” militia in Syria near the border with Turkey, according to the Turkish pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, and that attack has already begun less than 24 hours after the White House announcement that Trump had ordered United States troops to pull back from the region.
As The Inquisitr has reported, long-standing U.S. policy has been to support the Kurds in Syria. But the White House announcement on Sunday marked a sudden an unexpected reversal of that policy, allowing Erdogan to go ahead with the invasion of Syria aimed at the Kurdish fighters there.
“The Turkish military has started shelling PKK-linked terrorists in northern Syria’s al-Malikiyah town,” Daily Sabah reported Monday, reflecting the position held by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the YPG, which led the U.S.-backed fight against the terror group ISIS in Syria, is an extension of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, an anti-government group in Turkey that Erdogan brands as “terrorists.”
The PKK says that its aims are merely to allow Kurds to live freely within Turkey, but Erdogan accuses the group of plotting to establish a Kurdish state that would break away from Turkey.