Includes Halkbank

$5.6 Million








Mercury Public Affairs
(for Turkey)

Hired: May 2018
2018 fees: $758,000

NEW Informational materials

For Turkey, Mercury distributed a press release claiming that the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which leads the US-protected autonomous administration in northeastern Syria, is releasing Islamic State “terrorists in return for money.”

Mercury Public Affairs
New contract
(for Turkey-US Business Council)

Hired: Jan. 2020
Contract: $1 million

NEW Informational materials

For the Turkey-US Business Council (TAIK), Mercury distributed a pitch on how Turkey’s luxury travel industry is dealing with COVID-19.

Saltzman & Evinch
(for Turkey)

2019 fees: $1.8 million

NEW Contract

Law firm Saltzman & Evinch has registered to work for Turkey. The law firm, which has represented the country for nearly two decades, also disclosed receiving more than $14.8 million in fees since 2000-2001. The firm’s latest contract with Turkey, signed Dec. 31, was for one year and allocated a $1.1 million retainer to the law firm. Rachel Cerqueira Denktas, Gunay Evinch, Gani Kuseyri, Efe Poturoglu and David Saltzman are registered to work on the account.

Capitol Counsel
Greenberg Traurig subcontractor
(for Turkey)

Hired: Nov. 2015
2018 fees: $432,000

NEW Supplemental
(Dec. 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020)

Capitol Counsel was paid $216,000 by Turkey through Greenberg Traurig in the six-month period ending May 31. For Turkey, the firm’s lobbyists, former Congressman Charles Boustany (a Republican who represented Louisiana) and Towner French met with Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., on Feb. 10; Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Feb. 11; and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., on Feb. 13. French met with Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., on Dec. 11.

CHP Representative Office to the US

Registered: 2013

NEW Supplemental
(Dec. 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020)

Yurter Ozcan, the opposition Republican People's Party representative to the United States, received $107,000 from the party in the six-month period ending May 31. He disclosed meetings with reporters from The New York Times and Bloomberg, in addition to State Department senior Turkey desk officer Clare Orvis and Col. Rich Outzen, the State Department’s senior adviser for Syrian engagement. He also met with officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Center for American Progress and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and attended a Feb. 25 hearing at a federal court in New York for Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank, which was accused of Iran sanctions evasion.

Greenberg Traurig subcontractor
(for Turkey)

Hired: Feb. 2019

NEW Supplemental
(Nov. 1, 2019 – April 30, 2020)

Venable received $135,000 from Turkey in the six-month period ending April 30. For Turkey, lobbyist Loren Aho and Turkish ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic met with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on Nov. 21. The meeting came as pressure grew in the Senate to pass a resolution recognizing the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of more than a million mostly Christian Armenians as a genocide (the Senate unanimously recognized the Armenian Genocide on Dec. 12).

Greenberg Traurig
(for Turkey)

Hired: 2014
2018 fees: $1.7 million

NEW Contract renewal

NEW Supplemental
(Nov. 1, 2019 – April 30, 2020)

NEW Terminated foreign agent
Tim Hutchinson

Greenberg Traurig has renewed its $1.5 million-per-year contract with Turkey through 2020. Former Senator Tim Hutchinson, a Republican who represented Arkansas, stopped working for the firm on April 30. Hutchinson lobbied for Turkey.

Turkey paid Greenberg Traurig $769,000 in the six-month period ending April 30 (during that time, the firm paid its subcontractors on the Turkey account $486,000). For Turkey, lobbyists from the firm met with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (Nov. 18), Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. (Nov. 21), Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. (Feb. 11), Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. (Feb. 11), Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Feb. 13), and Reps. Ted Yoho, R-Fla. (Feb. 10), Guy Reschenthaler, R-Penn. (Feb. 12), Steve Chabot, R-Ohio (Feb. 12), and John Garamendi, D-Calif. (Feb. 12).

LB International Solutions
Greenberg Traurig subcontractor
(for Turkey)

Hired: 2014
2018 fees: $270,000 (from Greenberg Traurig)

NEW Supplemental
(Oct. 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

NEW Contract renewal

LB International Solutions was paid $135,000 by Greenberg Traurig for its Turkey work in the six-month period ending March 31. During that time period, the firm disclosed meetings with Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich. (Oct. 31); Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio (Oct. 31), Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. (Nov. 7) and Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif. (Dec. 11), and also disclosed meetings with Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla. (Feb. 10), Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio (Feb. 10), Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif. (Feb. 10), Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa. (Feb. 10), Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio (Feb. 10), Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. (Feb. 10) and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Feb. 13).

LB International Solutions has also renewed its contract with Greenberg Traurig to work for Turkey through 2020. LB International Solutions will be paid $270,000 per year.

Finn Partners
(for Turkey Promotion Group)

Hired: June 2019
Contract: $55,000

NEW Supplemental (termination)
(Oct. 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

Finn Partners stopped working for the Turkish Exporters Assembly’s Turkey Promotion Group on Jan. 1. Finn Partners received $85,000 from the group in the six-month period ending March 31. The company disclosed preparing and sending press releases for the group. Finn Partners’ Haldun Dinccetin worked on the firm’s account with the Turkish Exporters Assembly’s Turkey Promotion Group before the firm stopped working for the group Jan. 1.

McGinn and Company
(for Halkbank)

Hired: Dec. 2017
2019 fees: $170,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank paid McGinn and Company $40,000 for “media counseling” in connection with the federal investigation into its activities. In October, the bank was indicted in federal court with scheming to circumvent US sanctions on Iran. Shortly after the indictment, Ballard Partners stopped representing the bank.

Ankara lobbyists can’t mend US-Turkey rift


Julian Pecquet



Julian Pecquet is the Editor of Special Projects for Al-Monitor, where he supervises the award-winning Lobbying Tracker as well as managing long-form stories. Before that he covered the US Congress for Al-Monitor. Prior to joining Al-Monitor, Pecquet led global affairs coverage for the political newspaper The Hill.

Posted: September 11, 2019

Turkey spent more than $5.5 million last year trying to patch a deepening rift with the United States.

In the end, all it bought was heartache.

For years, Ankara has faulted its NATO ally for failing to fully grasp what Turkey views as existential threats, whether from Kurdish militants in Syria or alleged coup plotters under the supposed influence of a US-based cleric. Tensions finally came to a head this year when Turkey, infuriated by Washington’s 2015 decision to pull its Patriot missile batteries from the Syrian border, closed a rival arms deal with Russia.

Much of Turkey’s recent influence operations have aimed to convince Congress and the Donald Trump administration not to cancel its planned purchase of 100 F-35 jet fighters and to allow Turkey to continue producing some 900 parts for the plane. Turkish lobbyists have also spent countless hours trying to take down Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In a bid to eliminate a key irritant in bilateral relations, Ankara released US pastor Andrew Brunson in October 2018 after he served two years in prison on charges of involvement in the 2016 coup. But other sticking points could not be resolved.

After Turkey ignored repeated US warnings not to proceed with the Russian S-400 missile defense purchase, the White House canceled Ankara’s F-35 sale order in mid-July and booted it out of the international co-production program. A month later, the Pentagon told Al-Monitor that it had rescinded a $3.5 billion offer to sell Turkey Patriot missile batteries.

Attempts to convince the Trump administration to extradite Gulen also appear dead in the water.

After pocketing $500,000 in 2017 as the lead firm fighting to unravel a Gulen-linked network of US charter schools, Washington law firm Amsterdam & Partners saw its payments shrink to just $150,000 last year despite a $50,000-per-month contract. In its latest lobbying filing, the firm reported no political activity for the six months through April and blamed “bureaucratic inertia” for Turkey’s failure to pay up for 17 months.

Despite significant setbacks, Turkey can take some solace from the fact that its foes are also feeling the pinch.

Even as the anti-Erdogan mood in Washington promises a sympathetic ear, pro-Gulen lobbying has collapsed amid reports that the group is hurting for money as Turkey clamps down on its businesses. Sextons Creek and Fidelis Government Solutions both pulled out last summer, leaving only Cogent Strategies working for the Gulenist New York nonprofit Alliance for Shared Values.

Turkey’s campaign of damaging leaks regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has also paid off, with Saudi Arabia facing one of the worst hits to its reputation in Washington since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

And Ankara does have a few other wins in its column.

State-owned Halkbank spent more than $2 million last year lobbying to minimize the damage from its alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran. The bank’s former deputy director general, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, was released from US prison in July after serving a 32-month sentence but the bank itself has so far avoided fines in the case.

Turkey is also expressing satisfaction with its new deal with the United States on a safe zone along the Syrian border. US-backed Kurdish forces began moving away from the border late last month, allowing Erdogan to back off his threats to launch a new incursion into Syria.

Despite that rare diplomatic breakthrough, Turkey’s turn away from the United States appears to be irreversible. Following Ankara’s expulsion from the F-35 program, Erdogan attended an arms show with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in late August during which the two leaders shared their interest in Russian warplane sales to Turkey.


Main lobbying firm:
Greenberg Traurig



$5.6 million

Total lobbying and PR spending for 2018



  • Trump tacitly OKs Syrian incursion
  • State Department rejects Armenian genocide designation
  • Pentagon seeks to limit fallout from worsening relationship
  • Congress recognizes Armenian genocide
  • Congress votes to lift arms embargo on Cyprus
  • Halkbank indicted on sanctions-busting charges