He said, “Many people have bought a lot of summer houses and fishing boats and brought their grandchildren into the university by lying about Armenia and covering up Azerbaijan.”
The Armenian National Committee and another group, the Armenian American Association, attempted to pressure Mercury by organizing protests outside their offices in Washington and Los Angeles and urging Mercury’s clients to cut ties with the company if it continued to represent Turkey.
The campaign had an impact. Catherine Barger, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and Hilda Solis, a superintendent and former labor secretary in the Obama administration, wrote to Mercury on Wednesday urging the company to “immediately sever any commercial ties with the Republic of Turkey.” (Mercury is a contractor with Los Angeles County , Which includes a large Armenian population.)
California State Council Chairman Anthony Rendon and 16 other state legislators Mercury said On Thursday, they will not do business with the company as long as it represents Turkey. The Los Angeles Community College Department informed Mercury that it will “begin to exercise a 30-day termination clause” in its contract if Turkey remains a customer.
Mercury declined to comment. The Turkish embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
The pressure campaign on Armenians comes as Washington begins to shift its focus towards the fight.
Representative Jackie Speer (Democrat from California) introduced a resolution earlier this month condemning the role of Azerbaijan and Turkey in the conflict, which was supported by 67 people. On Friday, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo met separately with Armenian Foreign Minister Zahrab Mnatsakyanian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jihon Bayramov in an attempt to end hostilities.
Recall the efforts made to persuade lobbying firms in Washington that represent the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to cut ties with the kingdom in 2018 after Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Washington Post, where Khashoggi was a contributing opinion writer, She threatened to block two lobbyists Who write columns in the newspaper unless their companies stop operating in Saudi Arabia.
The pressure ultimately led to five lobbying companies severing ties with the kingdom.
Turkey and Azerbaijan are not deprived of leverage now without Mercury, which Turkey hired in January under a contract set to last until the end of the year, according to a copy provided to the Justice Ministry. The company was mandated to help organize events that would allow Turkey to “communicate with public policy stakeholders” and advise the Turkish government on media relations.
Turkey also maintains lobbying firms Capitol Counsel and Greenberg Traurig while the Azerbaijani government maintains BGR, according to disclosure files. The lobbyists in the member states include former Representatives Bill Delahunt (Democrat, Massachusetts), Charles Boustany (R. Los Angeles), Randy Forbes (R. Virginia), and Albert Wayne (Democrat, Massachusetts).
Meanwhile, the Armenian government appointed former Senate majority leader Bob Dole last month to help out in Washington.
Another former lawmaker, former Rep. Bob Livingston (R from Los Angeles) of the Livingston Group, stopped representing the Azerbaijani government last week, according to the filing of disclosure, although it is unclear if Livingston is really pushing for the country.
Asmar Yusufzadeh, a spokesperson for the Azerbaijani embassy in Washington, wrote in an email to Politico that the country had not been in contact with the Livingstone team for over a decade.
Livingston did not respond to a request for comment. Capitol adviser Greenberg Traorig declined to comment.
Hambrian said he plans to ramp up the pressure on the BGR now that Mercury has surrendered. But BGR could be a tougher target: the company said in a statement that it “intends to continue to represent Azerbaijan”.