Feb 26 2018

U.S. lobbyists register under FARA over Turkey links

Lobbying group Mercury Public Affairs, has registered under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as a result of work it carried out with the Turkey-U.S. Business Council, an organisation that works to promote trade links between the two countries.

A document showing the 22nd Feb. application was posted online by Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross.

FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals to publicly disclose such relationships.

Mercury Public Affairs is already in the spotlight after it emerged that U.S. President Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates had directed contracts to the firm’s Washington D.C. office, run by former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, relating to lobbying work carried out on behalf of the Russian-aligned government of Ukraine.

Manafort and Gates, were charged in October with 12 criminal offences - include money laundering, tax evasion, and conspiracy against the United States - relating to their lobbying activities in Ukraine.

Ross’s Twitter feed quotes Mercury as saying it registered with FARA over its links to the Turkey-U.S. Business Council (TAIK) out of “an abundance of caution.”

TAIK Business Council was known with its autonomous structure before 2014. As the Gulen Movement and the Erdogan government fall out realized, the Turkish government went ahead to take the control of the TAIK by intervening its structure and putting it under the Turkish government's control. Mr. Ekim Alptekin was elected in early 2014, in this period.

The Mercury is also known with its work to organize the meetings of the Turkish government officials in the U.S., including some of the Turkish President Erdogan's meetings during Washington visit.