A lobbying firm that’s a registered agent of the Turkish government is trying out a new argument during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the U.S. this week: the Russians are coming, and Armenia is helping them, the Huffington Post reports.
Representatives from Mercury LLC have contacted multiple congressional offices to argue that Russia’s presence in Armenia, a small country on Turkey’s border that has tensions with the Turks lingering from the 1915 genocide of Armenian Christians, makes it important for the U.S. to close ranks with fellow NATO member Turkey, according to two Capitol Hill aides.
Mercury, which registered to work on behalf of Turkey last month, hopes to convince lawmakers to attach their names to two separate documents, an aide told The Huffington Post.
One is a letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry that focuses on the “growing military alliance between Russia and Armenia” — citing the flow of Russian fighter jets, helicopters gunships and drones to Armenia. It calls the Russia-Armenia relationship “deeply concerning.”
Asked for comment, Mercury shared a statement from an organization called the Turkish Institute for Progress, the Huffington Post says.
“The Turkish Institute for Progress along with U.S. security experts and officials are calling on Armenia to expel the two Russian bases in Armenia and to sever its military ties with [President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia. The close relationship between Russia and Armenia speaks for itself,” said Derya Taskin, the institute’s president.