The news about former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn keeps getting worse. Most attention has been paid to Flynn's connections to Russia, but Flynn relationship with Turkey is far more troubling.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, while Flynn was working for Trump, Flynn received $600,000 from Turkey to work as a foreign agent, pushing Turkey's agenda in the United States.
On election day, Flynn wrote an editorial saying that the United States should hand over a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania that Turkey portrays as a radical. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says the cleric was complicit in last year's failed coup attempt.
Turkey has a long history of military coups that rein in political leaders who betray the vision of Turkey as a modern secular state that its founder, Kemal Atatürk, had for his country. Erdoğan is quickly turning Turkey into an Islamic dictatorship in the Iranian mold.
After the coup attempt, Turkey purged thousands upon thousands of government officials, teachers, police, governors, university deans, and arrested thousands of soldiers, judges and generals.
Turkey just held a constitutional referendum that gives President Erdoğan dictatorial powers. It barely passed, 51-49%.
When Trump hired Flynn after the inauguration, Trump knew that Flynn had committed a crime by not registering as a Turkish foreign agent. Trump didn't fire Flynn for almost three weeks after Sally Yates told his administration that Flynn was dirty with Russian money. During that time Trump let VP Mike Pence and other mouthpieces continue to lie about Flynn. Now Pence says he didn't know Flynn was a foreign agent for Turkey.
Recently the Trump administration decided to arm Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS, despite objections from Turkey. However, Flynn rejected this idea when the Obama administration proposed doing it before Trump took office, to help avoid Trump taking the heat for the decision.
But now that Flynn's out, we're helping the Kurds. Flynn set back the American fight against ISIS. Did Flynn betray American interests for a Turkish dictator?
Turkey doesn't want the Kurds to have weapons or any kind of relationship with the United States because they have a native Kurdish minority that the Turks have been oppressing since forever. Some Kurds in the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) have committed terrorist acts in Turkey, so not all Kurds are angels. But they're not all terrorists, either.
The Kurds in Iraq have been pretty much the only reliable ally the United States has had in the Middle East since George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003. And Turkey bombed our Kurdish allies just last month.
The daughter of an acquaintance of mine taught English in Turkey for several years. It used to be a normal, modern, democratic, religiously-tolerant country, but since Erdoğan took power it has become backward, Islamist and anti-Western. She and her husband moved to Spain recently because of increasing anti-Western rhetoric spewing out of the dictator's mouth:
“Turkey is not a country that can be pushed and shoved, whose honour can be toyed with, whose ministers can be ousted, whose citizens can be dragged on the ground,” Erdogan said in a speech to Turkish media representatives in Ankara, the Turkish capital.This is the same dictator that Trump congratulated after his dictatorial referendum win.
“These developments are being watched in all corners of the world,” he said. “If you continue this way, tomorrow no European, no Westerner anywhere in the world will be able to step onto the streets safely, with peace of mind.”
This is the same dictator that Trump met with in the White House the other day.
This is the same dictator that ordered his thugs to beat up people on American soil.
This is the same dictator that Flynn took more than half a million dollars from, violating his oath and breaking the law. This isn't just a liberal allegation: Flynn has admitted committing these crimes by retroactively registering as a foreign agent.
Despite all this, Donald Trump apparently still wants Flynn to come back and work for him. Trump still doesn't think Flynn did anything wrong.
Is Trump really that stupid? Is he really that morally compromised, oblivious, unethical and ignorant of the law?
Or is Trump intentionally leaking these positive vibes so that Flynn still likes him? Is Trump trying to keep on Flynn's good side so that when Flynn is ultimately charged for his crimes, he won't rat out Trump for a deal?
You know it can't be out of loyalty. Trump will throw anyone under the bus to save his own skin.
You'd think that with all the trouble that Flynn has caused Trump he'd blast Flynn on Twitter endlessly. But, just like the Russians who have made Trump look like their bitch, the president has nothing bad to say about Flynn.
Why is that?