Former US National Security Adviser on Turkey’s payroll blocked arming of Kurds in Syria

Michael Flynn

Former US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, widely criticised for his close relations with Russia, was paid more than $500,000 to represent Turkey’s interests in Washington, according to a report by Vera Bergengruen in Miami Herald on Thursday.

Paid by a company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, Flynn stopped the Pentagon’s plan to retake the Islamic State’s de facto capital Raqqa with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The former National Security Advisor also held a meeting with Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, energy minister Berat Albayrak, at a New York hotel last September.

Turkey has fiercely opposed US support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG) which is the backbone of the SDF. When the plan to arm the Kurdish fighters, drawn up by the Obama administration, was presented to Flynn after seven months in the making he said: “Don’t approve it.” It then looked as if the new Trump administration was going to rework the Raqqa plan due to Flynn but that did not happen although the military operation was delayed for months, the report says.

After he was fired, Flynn’s connections to Turkey and Russia and the documented payments have been under scrutiny as he may have violated a clause in the US Constitution which prohibits former military officers from accepting gifts from foreign governments without the approval of Congress. Flynn may also have violated a more than 200-year old act that prohibits private citizens from interfering with diplomatic relations between the US and foreign governments.