HomeBussinessFBI eyes NYC Mayor Eric Adams business class upgrades on Turkish Airlines...

FBI eyes NYC Mayor Eric Adams business class upgrades on Turkish Airlines in campaign probe

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The FBI is looking into business class upgrades that Mayor Eric Adams received on Turkish Airlines as part of the federal probe into his 2021 campaign finances, law enforcement sources confirmed Friday.

The feds are eyeing Adams’ accommodations on international flights, both during his time as Brooklyn borough president, and since taking office as mayor in January 2022, according to the sources.


Mayor Eric Adams, through his attorney, denied any wrongdoing in accepting upgrades. AP

Adams has not been accused of wrongdoing. The focus on his travel comes as part of the larger probe by Manhattan federal prosecutors, revealed in November, into claims the Turkish government illegally funneled money to Adams’ campaign.

At least three people in the Adams’ orbit have had their homes raided by the feds as part of the investigation, including former Turkish Airlines executive Cenk Ocal, who worked on the mayor’s transitional team, and City Hall aide Rana Abbasova.

The mayor’s attorney, Brendan McGuire, denied any wrongdoing by Adams, telling The Post there was nothing nefarious in accepting the upgrades, first reported by The New York Times.

“As borough president, the mayor consistently disclosed his official travel to Turkey, did not receive any improper upgrades and did nothing inappropriate in exchange for an upgrade,” McGuire said. “Speculation is not evidence. We look forward to a just and timely conclusion to this investigation.”

As Brooklyn borough president, Adams flew multiple times on Turkish Airlines during his half-dozen trips to the Middle Eastern country, but it was unclear how many upgrades he received.

Adams has taken trips to Greece and Qatar as mayor — countries the airline flies to from JFK Airport, with layovers in Istanbul — but it wasn’t known if he used the carrier during those jaunts in 2022.

Calls to the Southern District of New York and to City Hall were not returned.

The FBI declined to comment.

The relationship between Adams and the airline, half of which is owned by the Turkish government’s sovereign wealth fund, dates back to 2015 when he served as Brooklyn borough president.

At that time, Adams and his aides traveled to Turkey twice, four months apart, on the carrier’s dime as part of official borough business to meet with local officials and discuss a sister city agreement, according to the Times.

The trips, revealed in emails obtained by the newspaper, came after the then-beep met with a group of Turkish Airlines executives as part of an official sit-down arranged by Abbasova, who was a liaison to the Turkish community in Brooklyn at the time.


Turkish Airlines Airbus
Turkish Airlines is half owned by the Turkish sovereign wealth fund. Urbanandsport/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Two years later, Adams heaped praise on the airline in a pro-Turkish government publication on his fifth trip to the country, saying “Turkish Airlines is my way of flying,” and told the outlet of his plans to buy a place in Istanbul.

Adams hasn’t been shy about his love for Turkey. At a flag raising in October, ahead of Turkey’s 100-year anniversary as a republic and days before the FBI raids, the mayor boasted of this ties to the country.

“I’m probably the only mayor in the history of this city that has not only visited Turkey once, but I think I’m on my sixth or seventh visit to Turkey,” Adams said.

The high-profile federal probe emerged on Nov. 2 when the FBI raided Adams’ top campaign fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, causing the mayor to abruptly return from DC, where he was set to meet with the White House about New York City’s ongoing migrant crisis.

In the days that followed, agents stopped the mayor on the street and seized his phones and other digital devices in an extraordinary move by the feds.

City Hall later reported Abbasova, the mayor’s then-director of protocol for international affairs, to authorities as someone who had “acted inappropriately” during the campaign.

The FBI also searched Abbasova’s and Ocal’s homes in early November as well but those raids didn’t become public until weeks later.

Neither Abbasova, Ocal or the campaign have been accused of wrongdoing.

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