Educate Lobbyists’ Clients on Genocide Denial; Call for Nationwide Protests if Lobbying Continues
On Thurs., Jan. 29, a coalition of organizations representing Armenian Americans sent letters to more than 200 businesses, universities, and NGOs currently working with one of 5 firms—including those led by former congressional leaders Dick Gephardt (Gephardt Government Affairs) and Dennis Hastert (Dickstein Shapiro)—that are helping Turkey to deny the Armenian Genocide in Congress.
Despite international consensus from historians about the Armenian Genocide, Turkey is well known for its aggressive, ongoing denial of this crime, which witnessed the planned and systematic murder of more than 1.5 million Christian Armenians between 1915 and 1923. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the genocide, and Armenian Americans, along with allies nationwide, will be protesting and drawing public scrutiny on both Turkey’s primary lobbying firms and the companies and organizations that continue to do business with them.
“It’s a disgrace that Dick Gephardt and Dennis Hastert—two former leaders of the U.S. House—are making millions enforcing a foreign government’s gag rule on our White House and among the Congress in which they once served,” said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“Gephardt and Hastert should drop their Turkey contract, and, if they won’t, their clients should drop them.”
According to U.S. Department of Justice Foreign Agent Registration Act records, the firms Gephardt Government Affairs, Dickstein Shapiro, Greenberg Traurig, Alpaytac, and LB International all support Turkey’s genocide denial agenda. Their clients include PepsiCo, TIME Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Chrysler.
The letters to the client businesses requested that they—in light of their firm’s participation in genocide denial—demand that their firm end its contract with the Turkish government.
If the firm does not end its relationship with Turkey, the letter requests that the client company/organization end its own contract with the firm.
If neither occurs by Wed., Feb. 25—60 days out from April 24, the global Day of Remembrance of the genocide—Armenian Americans will start protests against these firms and their clients.
Coalition partners include four of the largest Armenian-American organizations: the ANCA, Armenian Assembly of America, and the Armenian Youth Federation of both the Eastern and Western United States.