Porter Goss, a director of the CIA under the Bush administration, has been hired by Turkey’s government to lobby Congress on matters including counter-terrorism, energy-security, and stability in the the NATO-member’s region.
Goss’s role involves “educating” members of Congress and the administration on issues of importance to Turkey, according to a form filed with the Department of Justice. Acting as a senior adviser to Dickstein Shapiro, a law firm that has worked with the Turkish government on energy issues, Goss will also inform Turkey on U.S. actions that affect its interests.
The two allies have disagreed on how to respond to the rise of Islamic State in Syria, with Turkey urging a policy that also seeks the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad while the U.S. is focusing on fighting the militant group. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called on the U.S. in January to deport Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of orchestrating a graft probe to bring down the government.
Hiring Goss “is an acknowledgment by Turkey that it’s been having a really hard time persuading people of their view on counter-terrorism issues,” according to Jonathan Friedman, a risk analyst at Stroz Friedberg in London.
“This is an effort not only to more effectively advocate their side in their dispute with Fethullah Gulen and his followers, but also their positions on the future of Syria, the Kurds and the wider region,” he said.
Last year, Erdogan also criticized the U.S. for airdropping weapons to help Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian city of Kobani against Islamic State. The city’s defenders included fighters linked to the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the U.S.