A global proxy war between the president of Turkey and his No. 1 nemesis played out early this year in an otherwise routine public-school board meeting in Fremont, Calif.

On the agenda during the January meeting was a pitch from the chief executive of a California charter-school chain, which had proposed opening an outpost in the Silicon Valley suburb.

Also in attendance, and bearing a long list of objections, was a lawyer representing the Republic of Turkey.

The attorney, from London-based Amsterdam & Partners LLP, "has been following us around lately" trying to block the chain's projects, Caprice Young, chief executive of Magnolia Public Schools, told the Fremont board. "He is a representative of the Turkish government who seems to believe that we are affiliated with a religious group with whom we are not affiliated."

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