Flynn lobbied for Turkish government, documents reveal

#Diplomacy

Former US national security adviser was paid $530,000 for work that 'benefited the Republic of Turkey'

Flynn was fired for failing to disclose parts conversation with Russian ambassador (Reuters)
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Friday 10 March 2017 10:55 UTC
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A pro-government Turkish businessman paid $530,000 to President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn for lobbying efforts before Donald Trump's victory in November, Department of Justice documents revealed.

Flynn was fired last month for failing to disclose that he discussed US sanctions on Russia in a phone call with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office. On Tuesday, he voluntarily registered with the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit, the Associated Press reported.

The retired US general and his firm acknowledged lobbying efforts that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey" from August to November of last year.

Lobbying firms that work for foreign governments are required by US law to register with the Department of Justice, but this regulation is rarely enforced, according to the AP report.

Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman who hired Flynn's firm, said he disagrees with the former general's disclosure because he is not a part of the Turkish government.

"It would be different if I was working for the government of Turkey, but I am not taking directions from anyone in the government," he told AP.

Although Flynn has a history of Islamophobic statements, he wrote an op-ed for the Hill in defence of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist leaning government after last year's failed coup.

In the opinion piece, Flynn paints Fethullah Gulen, the US based cleric whom Erdogan blames for the coup attempt, as a "radical Islamist".

“From Turkey’s point of view, Washington is harbouring Turkey’s Osama bin Laden,” Flynn wrote.

HR McMaster was appointed as Flynn’s replacement as national security adviser last month.