Turkey’s government used a Washington, D.C. law firm to gather information about its critics, The Wall Street Journal reports. The targets reportedly included U.S. residents who Turkey believed were helping a political movement it says is working against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Documents reviewed by the Journal are said to show Erdogan’s government sought intel on associates of Fethullah Gulen, the Islamic cleric who is exiled in Pennsylvania. Erdogan has repeatedly demanded that the U.S. extradite Gulen to Turkey, accusing him, with no clear evidence, of being behind a 2016 coup attempt against him. To gather information on Gulen’s suspected followers in the U.S., the Turkish Embassy in 2017 turned to a D.C. law firm, Saltzman & Evinch, which reportedly compiled information from public databases and social media for a dossier allegedly sent to Turkey’s foreign and justice ministries. It was then sent to public prosecutors in Ankara, Istanbul, and elsewhere in Turkey. David Saltzman, a principal in Saltzman & Evinch, said he couldn’t comment on the allegation due to attorney-client privilege.
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