More U.S. Lobbyists Talking Turkey

ArmeniaAs the U.S. House of Representatives considers a controversial resolution "recognizing as 'genocide' the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in the former Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago," the Turkish government is increasing its Washington DC lobbying. Ankara is "spending more than US$300,000 a month on sophisticated public relations specialists and former Washington lawmakers to help defeat the measure," reports Asia Times. "The Turkish Embassy is paying $100,000 a month to lobbying firm DLA Piper, which is associated with former Democratic House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, and $105,000 to the Livingston Group (connected to former Republican lawmaker Robert L. Livingston), and it recently paid public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard $114,000 ... a month." The Bush administration is opposing the Armenian resolution, saying its passage could harm U.S. military operations in Iraq. Most U.S. air cargo to Iraq, as well as fuel and vehicles, goes through Turkey. After the French parliament voted in 2006 to make the denial of the Armenian genocide a crime, Turkey severed military ties with France. After the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Armenian resolution, "Ankara ordered its ambassador in Washington to return home for 'consultations,' but says he has not been formally withdrawn."