Jun 29 2018

Turkish lobbyists outdoing Greeks in Washington

Turkish lobbying organisations in Washington are better organised, more dynamic, and more coordinated than their Greek counterparts, strategy consultant Nikolas Katsimpras wrote for the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

It was the establishment of the Macedonia Political Action Committee (MACPAC), a lobbying association for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, that prompted Katsimpras’s article – the committee was found to have been set up and registered to a post box by Louette Ragusa, operations director of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA).

“This suggests that MACPAC is not some formal yet negligible effort of the colorful yet active FYROM lobby, but is rather an initiative of the powerful Turkish lobby,” wrote Katsimpras.

The association could be added to the list of political action committees (PACs), organisations which secure funding for members of congress and promote specific interest groups, through which the TCA “promote(s) the Turkish agenda and undermine Greek national issues like Cyprus and the Pontic and Armenian genocides,” according to the writer.

In this endeavour, the Turkish lobbyists at the TCA are by far outdoing the efforts of the Greek diaspora, with revenues approaching $1 million a year, $8 million worth of assets, and a professional full-time staff supported by an active volunteer corps.

“We do not know whether the TCA created MACPAC on its own initiative in order to further Skopje’s agenda or whether it was in communication with mother Turkey or the FYROM lobby,” said Katsimpras.

“I believe that there was some level of coordination, but nevertheless, the main message behind the move is that the Turkish Americans are very well aware of the importance of backstage lobbying in the American political system,” he added.