Mercury scraps $1m Turkey contract after pressure campaign

Dozens of California politicians demanded the Omnicom shop cut ties with the country.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo credit: Getty Images).
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

LOS ANGELES: Mercury dropped Turkey as a client on Friday after being publicly criticized by dozens of California politicians last week.

The Omnicom Group firm notified the Justice Department of its decision in a filing that stated the shop terminated its relationship with the Turkish embassy on Friday. 

Mercury declined additional comment. 

The decision came days after Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, California State Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, California State Senator Anthony Portantino and others called out Mercury on Twitter for its work with Turkey. 

The politicians said it was unethical for Mercury to work with Turkey in light of the country’s denial of the Armenian genocide and its support for Azerbaijan in that country’s conflict with Armenia.

Mercury had worked with Turkey since at least 2016, according to Justice Department documents, and signed its most recent deal with the country, worth $1 million, on January 29. Under the most recent contract, which was scheduled to run through the end of the year, Mercury was providing influencer engagement, strategic media outreach, social media support, consular support and grassroots engagement and media monitoring and analysis. 

Mercury did not comment on whether it would cut ties with the Turkey-U.S. Business Council or TAIK. The agency’s most recent work for TAIK began on August 13, according to documents filed with the Justice Department.

The Business Council is made up of private member companies, according to the filing, but is part of a larger organization that is overseen in part by the Turkish Ministry of Trade. The document did not say what duties Mercury performs for the Business Council or its compensation. 

Mercury has represented the Turkey-U.S. Business Council since at least 2018, according to Justice Department records. 

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