California politicians call on Mercury to abandon Turkey as client

They say the firm shouldn’t give support to a client that “commits genocide.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES: Dozens of California politicians have publicly critiqued Mercury Public Affairs and threatened to stop working with the firm because of the work it does for the government of Turkey.

Los Angeles City Council president and councilwoman Nury Martinez posted a letter on Twitter Tuesday calling on the Omnicom shop to “do the right thing and discontinue its immoral association” with the country.  

The letter was addressed to Mercury president Kirill Goncharenko and signed by Martinez and 12 of the other members of the 15-person city council. In it, the politicians said they were especially upset that Mercury would represent Turkey given its role in the Armenian genocide and its support for Azerbaijan in that country’s current conflict with Armenia.

“As elected officials, we also have to make choices, and in this case ours is quite easy to make,” the letter read. “We will never have any dealings whatsoever with any firm that gives support to a client that commits genocide or denies the truth of genocide.” 

California state senator Anthony Portantino posted a similar letter — addressed to Mercury partner and former California assemblyman Fabian Núñez — on Twitter Wednesday.

Then on Thursday, California State Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon also posted a letter calling on Mercury to stop associating with Turkey. Calderon’s letter was addressed to Goncharenko and signed by 17 members of the assembly.

Spokespeople for Mercury, which according to Justice Department documents has worked for Turkey since at least 2016, did not immediately comment on the controversy.

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