Trump collected far more income from Turkey business than previously known - report

New tax records of U.S. President Donald J.Trump published by the New York Times on Sunday show the president collected 13 million dollars, far more than the previously known amount of earnings since he made a licensing deal in Turkey in 2008. According to the same report, Trump collected one million dollars since 2016 when he entered the Oval Office.

One of the most frequent activities of the Trump empire appears to be writing off large consultant fees, sometimes even to Trump's own daughter Ivanka Trump who is also a top executive at the company and reducing the tax. According to a NYT witness in Turkey who was 'directly involved" in developing two Trump towers in Istanbul, Trump pursued the same strategy in Turkey as well. A person, speaking to reporters, “expressed bafflement when asked about consultants on the project," and said that "there was never any consultant or other third party in Turkey paid by the Trump Organization. But tax records show regular deductions for consulting fees over seven years totaling $2 million."

NYT reports that Trump and his companies paid $156,824 to the Philippines and over $145 thousands to India for his earnings. There is no report showing how much tax he paid to Turkey for his 13 million dollars income there.

Trump signed the licencing agreement with Mehmet Ali Yalcindağ in 2008. Yalcindağ was appointed to head the Turkish-US Business Council, TAIK, in 2018 after the previous head of the group, Ekim Alptekin, was indicted by the federal U.S. prosecutors for his role with hiring Trump's first national security adviser, retired general Mike Flynn. 

In May, Yalcindağ wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging support for increased trade between the United States and Turkey. The ultimate goal was nothing less than “reorienting the U.S. supply chain away from China.”

In 2012, the Dogan Media Group, belonging to Yalçındağ’s father-in-law, was involved in a bitter struggle with then prime minister Erdoğan. Yalçındağ stood in an office in the newly opened Trump Towers in Istanbul and called for the Doğan conglomerate to foster good relations with Erdoğan’s government. “If we’d worked with him rather than fighting him, we’d be the richest people in Turkey,” Yalçındağ is reported to have said.

Yalçındağ is also known as the man who introduced Trump to Erdoğan at the opening ceremony of the Istanbul towers in 2012. Yalcindağ was also reportedly the only foreigner who was with Trump on the night of the U.S. election in 2016. 

In 2012, Yalçındağ was appointed the board chairman of Yandex’s Turkish subsidiary. Yandex is owned by Arkadiy Volozh, who founded the company and is also  Russian President Vladimir Putin’s technology tsar.

Trump's bilateral relationship with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been under the spotlight for some time. Trump has been preventing any sanctions from hitting on Ankara due to Erdogan government's purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missiles. Trump, on several occasions, defended Turkey's decision to procure the Russian system which has been noted by numerous NATO officials for their interoperability issues with the NATO systems. 

Turkey has been frozen out of the F-35 fighter jet alliance due the Russian missile purchase after pressure from Pentagon and Congress. Trump has come under fire for green lighting Turkey's Syria operations in the past. Trump's first Defense Secretary James Mattis called the move "felony stupid" in Bob Woodward's latest book, "Rage", and resigned his position in early 2019. Turkey eventually moved into Syria for the third time in October 2019, following Trump's tweets effectively opening the way for Turkey and Turkish backed forces.