California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Chair of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus, authored a letter with 16 members of the California Legislature calling on Mercury Public Affairs to end its association with Turkey, amid growing hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Joining Nazarian in signing the letter were Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assemblymembers Laura Friedman, Mike Gipson, Luz Rivas, Ian Calderon, Wendy Carrillo, Chris Holden, Randy Voepel, Marc Levine, Joaquin Arambula, Tom Lackey And Lorena Gonzalez, as well as State Senators Andreas Borgeas And Scott Wiener.
Below is the complete text of the letter:
We are writing to you today regarding one of your clients, the Republic of Turkey. We understand that Mercury provides a number of services, including strategic advice, both in political and public relations, to the Republic of Turkey at the federal level.
Turkey and Azerbaijan have been working together to attack and eradicate the Armenian people of the Republic of Artsakh, an autonomous territory controlled by Armenians that is embedded between Azerbaijan and Armenia. On numerous occasions they have demonstrated their aggression against the Armenian people and in several instances over this past summer they have targeted their aggression against the Armenian community here in California.
We are outraged that your firm collaborates and promotes a government of such vile stature, which has been responsible for a collective slaughter of more than 3 million people—half of them being Armenians—during the 1915 Armenian genocide. To this day, Turkey continues to deny this genocide and now it aids Azerbaijan in an attempt to continue what it started over one hundred years ago. Any country that continues this level of denial and revision of its crimes against humanity has no business being represented by any firm in California.
However, our outrage does not compare to the attacks that Azerbaijan’s military continues to launch against the Republic of Artsakh. Turkey has transferred thousands of extremist Jihadist militants from the battlefields of Syria and Lybia into the Caucasus to support the slaughter of Armenians. Azerbaijan continues to destroy the cities and towns of Artsakh with weapons supplied by Turkey, your client, killing scores of innocent civilians. They have targeted schools, churches and even hospitals that are located nowhere near any military operations.
Turkey and Azerbaijan are significantly more populated and have significant more resources than Artsakh does—the level of wealth, supplies, and armaments do not compare. For many years, Azerbaijan’s dictator has said that he will eliminate the Armenians from the region completely, with the full support of your client, Turkey. There is no question that this invasion is nothing less than a continuation of the Armenian Genocide, which, as mentioned before, was started and is still denied by your client.
We understand the difficulty that comes with making difficult business decisions. Most recently, Facebook has taken the challenging step to censor and stop all posts denying the Jewish Holocaust. A platform dedicated to freedom of speech and expression has drawn a line between what is right and wrong. However, your firm has chosen to work with and receive generous funds from Turkey, which is universally recognized as a perpetrator of the first genocide in modern history, the worst abuser of human rights, and a belligerent imperialist that threatens world peace.
As elected officials, we have to make choices—some are not easy, however, this decision is quite easy to make. We will not engage with any firm in any capacity while it gives support to a client that so openly and unapologetically commits genocide, denies the truth of the genocide, and aids and encourages the war against the Republic of Artsakh.
We hope that your firm will realize the line between right and wrong and stop associating with the Republic of Turkey.