LOS ANGELES—Mercury Public Affairs has terminated its registration as a foreign agent of the Republic of Turkey in response to calls by the Armenian community demanding an end to the company’s association with the Turkish regime amid its support for Azerbaijan’s genocidal war against Artsakh.
“As a result of our community’s persistent activism and the steadfast support of our friends in elected office, I was just informed by Fabian Núñez, who is a partner at Mercury’s Los Angeles office, that Mercury Public Affairs would be terminating its registration as a foreign agent of Turkey,” remarked Chair of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region Board of Directors, Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “We welcome Mercury’s decision to stand on the right side of history in ending its association with the Government of Turkey and its genocidal policies, and we hope that this decision will serve as an example for every entity which works for or with the authoritarian regimes of Turkey and Azerbaijan.”
The decision comes after considerable pressure from local and state elected officials, and Armenian-American community organizations, mounted on Mercury for its unethical association with the Turkish regime. In the last week, a series of letters has been directed to Mercury demanding the termination of its contract with the Turkish government, including from all fifteen Los Angeles City Councilmembers, Los Angeles County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis, California State Senator Anthony Portantino, Glendale City Councilmember Ardy Kassakhian, and sixteen members of the California State Legislature.
“I applaud and respect Mercury for taking this very meaningful step today,” said Krekorian said Friday soon after news of the suspension was reported. “Mercury has done the right thing by choosing not to do business with a government that is the perpetrator of the first genocide in modern history, one of the worst abusers of human rights in the world, and a bellicose imperialist that threatens world peace with its lust for conquest.”
Krekorian also welcomed on Friday the news that two other international public affairs firms, DLA Piper and the Livingston Group, recently cut their business ties with Azerbaijan. “I hope other firms will soon follow Mercury’s lead. Any firm that chooses to continue to give advice and comfort to the dictators of Turkey and Azerbaijan will be held accountable for assisting their war crimes and their attempts to destroy the Armenian people.”
In addition to this, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) initiated the termination clause of its contract with Mercury in a demonstration of solidarity with the Armenian community.
Mercury Public Affairs, a public strategy firm, represents numerous high profile clients across business, politics, and civil society including Microsoft, American Airlines, Starbucks, Comcast, Charter Cable, SoCalGas, and Grubhub among others.
For years, Mercury rendered strategic, political and public affairs services to the Republic of Turkey and was complicit in whitewashing the myriad human rights abuses perpetrated by the genocidal Erdogan regime. In February 2020, Mercury signed a contract with Turkey’s Embassy in Washington D.C. to the tune of one million dollars.
Mercury has a long history of working with not only the Turkish government but its many proxies. Mercury has rendered services to the American-Turkish Council Turkish-American Business Council (TAIK) – headed by close ally of Turkish President Erdogan, Mehmet Yalcindag. Last year, Foreign Agent Registration Act filings show Mercury contacted over 150 Congressional offices on behalf of TAIK to set up meetings for Turkish Economy Minister Berat Albayrak – who also happens to be President Erdogan’s son-in-law.
Mercury’s decision to terminate its registration as a foreign agent of Turkey also follows decisions by the Livingston Group and DLA Piper to end their representation of Azerbaijan amidst growing public outcry over Turkey and Azerbaijan’s genocidal aggression against the Armenians of Artsakh.
The Turkish and Azerbaijani governments have for years sought to enforce a gag-rule over United States human rights policy through their insidious attempts to deny the Armenian genocide, and undermine the fundamental rights of the Armenians of Artsakh. Both states rate amongst the worst in the world in terms of democratic standards, media freedoms, and basic civil and political rights.
“Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have spent millions throughout the years on hiring public affairs firms to clean up their public image – tainted by a deplorable track record on human rights, and a severe disregard for democratic freedoms,” said Hovsepian. “The actions taken by DLA Piper, the Livingston Group and now Mercury Public Affairs are an important step in bringing the Turkish-Azerbaijani influence machine to a grinding halt, and preventing their exertion of malign foreign influence here in the United States.”
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.