On Thursday, January 29, a coalition of organizations representing Armenian Americans sent over 200 letters to businesses, universities, and NGOs working with one of the five firms that currently work for Turkey for the purpose of denying the Armenian Genocide. These firms include those led by former Congressional leaders Dick Gephardt (Gephardt Government Affairs) and Dennis Hastert (Dickstein Shapiro).
Despite international consensus from historians about the Armenian Genocide, Turkey is well known for its aggressive, ongoing denial of this crime, which witnessed the planned and systematic murder by Ottoman Turkey of over 1.5 million Christian Armenians between 1915 and 1923. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the genocide, and Armenian Americans along with allies nationwide will be protesting and drawing public scrutiny to both Turkey’s primary lobbying firms, and the companies and organizations that continue to do business with them.
“It’s a disgrace that Dick Gephardt and Dennis Hastert – two former leaders of the U.S. House – are making millions enforcing a foreign government’s gag-rule on our White House and among the Congress in which they once served,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. “Gephardt and Hastert should drop their Turkey contract, and, if they won’t, their clients should drop them.”
The letters request that the companies demand their firm end its contract with the Turkish government in light of its participation in genocide denial efforts. If the firm does not end its relationship with Turkey, the letter requests that the company end its own contract with the firm. If neither occurs by Wednesday, February 25th – 60 days out from April 24, 2015, the global day of remembrance for the genocide – Armenian Americans will start protests against these firms and their clients.
According to U.S. Department of Justice Foreign Agent Registration Act records, Gephardt Government Affairs, Dickstein Shapiro, Greenberg Traurig, Alpaytac, and LB International all support Turkey’s genocide denial agenda. Their clients receiving letters include PepsiCo, TIME Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Chrysler, among others.
Coalition partners include four of the largest Armenian American organizations: the Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Assembly of America, and the Armenian Youth Federation of both the Eastern and Western United States.