Edelman signs 'exclusive affiliate' deal with Turkey's Unite Communications

Edelman has signed an agreement with Istanbul's Unite Communications to be its "exclusive affiliate" in Turkey, casting doubt on the global network's ongoing relationship with its former wholly-owned agency in the country.

Pic credit: Matthew Dixon/Thinkstock
Pic credit: Matthew Dixon/Thinkstock

PRWeek reported in March that Edelman was to pull out of its wholly owned Turkey operation, with the agency’s Europe boss Michael Stewart citing the "unbelievably complicated" geopolitical situation in the country.

Edelman said it would move to an "affiliate plus" model in Turkey, saying the office would continue servicing the same clients with the same team but with general manager Serra Turk Buyukfirat becoming the majority shareholder, and Edelman retaining a minority stake.

However, in a statement released on Tuesday, Unite Communications of Istanbul said it had signed an "exclusive affiliation agreement" with Edelman.

Unite said: "We believe that this partnership will enhance our way of doing business internationally, enrich our international outreach and integrate us more effectively to the ever-changing communications industry.

"Our partnership will also allow us, as an independent agency, to retain and provide our services seamlessly and with utmost care like we’ve always done for the past 18 years."

PRWeek asked Edelman yesterday for more details of its agreement with Unite, and of its current relationship with the former wholly-owned office, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Prior to exiting its wholly-owned operation, Edelman’s Turkey business employed 18 people and generated annual revenue of around $1.3m (£930,000) through 20 clients.

The Turkish PR industry has faced challenging times recently, following the attempted coup in the summer and reports of crackdowns on press freedom. In July, three comms trade bodies in the country issued a joint statement "fiercely" condemning the attempted coup and promising to "maintain a prudent communication language".

Speaking to PRWeek earlier this year, prior to the attempted coup, Stewart said: "The geopolitical context in that part of that world has gotten unbelievably complicated on multiple levels.

"It is at the forefront of the migration crisis out of Syria, it has a semi-hot conflict with Russia, you’ve got a head of the country who’s having some pretty Draconian moves on freedom of the press. We’ve decided it’s best for us at this point in time to have an affiliate relationship there."

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