Pro-Turkey lobbyist sought secret favors from Hillary Clinton: The Daily Caller

Newly released emails show that a former Democratic National Committee official and lobbyist for the Turkish government directly contacted two of Hillary Clinton’s top aides to ask for a favor ahead of the then-secretary of state’s March 2009 visit to Turkey, The Daily Caller reports.

The correspondence raises numerous questions because the lobbyist, David Mercer, was paid $25,000 a month by the Turkish government to convince lawmakers and government officials to oppose a bill designating the Ottoman Empire’s murder of an estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians from 1915 to 1917 a genocide.

Clinton once touted her support for the resolution but flip-flopped dramatically after she joined the Obama administration.

According to the source, the messages were sent and received at a crucial inflection point for Clinton on the Armenian genocide issue.

As a New York senator, Clinton supported several resolutions calling for the recognition of the mass murders as genocide. And as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008 she issued a statement promising to recognize the genocide if elected president. She said then that “alone among the presidential candidates, I have been a long-standing supporter of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.”

The pledge earned Clinton the praise of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the largest Armenian political organization in the U.S.

But Clinton completely reversed course on the issue and refused to use the “g-word” to describe the century-old atrocity after she entered the Obama administration.

During a State Department town hall in Jan. 2012 she said that the issue of whether the mass murder was genocide was still up for debate.

“I think it’s fair to say that this has always been viewed, and I think properly so, as a matter of historical debate and conclusions rather than political,” she said at the time.

Clinton was called out for the comments in a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing the next month by California Rep. Adam Schiff, who is currently a member of the House Select Benghazi Committee and one of Clinton’s most ardent supporters.

“Some actions that were taken by you and the administration with regard to the Armenian genocide are of great concern,” he said during the hearing.

“I can’t begin to express in mere words how much anguish has been caused in the Armenian-American community and among many activists about recent statements at a State Department town hall that you made,” he added.

Clinton flailed as she attempted to defend downplaying her statement that the Armenian genocide was still up for debate.

Aram Suren Hamparian, who once praised Clinton as ANCA’s executive director, had harsh words for both Mercer and Clinton.

“Mr. Mercer profited personally by aiding and abetting Turkey’s shameful cover up of its genocide of millions of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and other Christians. Mr. Mercer’s complicity in Ankara’s genocide denial represents an unconscionable corruption of U.S. democracy by high-priced lobbyists, a morally unacceptable compromise of American values by a foreign power,” Hamparian told The Daily Caller.

It is likely that Clinton and company were aware of Mercer’s role as an opponent of the Armenian resolution. Records show that he sent letters to Lee Feinstein, the national security director of Clinton’s campaign, at around the time she publicly supported the genocide resolution.

“Hillary Clinton needs to answer for her morally indefensible actions as Secretary of State enforcing Turkey’s gag-rule against American condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide,” Hamparian told TheDC.

Clinton has not weighed in on the genocide issue during the 2016 cycle. Her campaign did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment.

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