UAE hires lobby group to push US to put sanctions on Turkey

The UAE hired a US lobbying firm to convince Senators to impose sanctions on Turkey, according to the Anadolu Agency .

The news agency said it had obtained an email sent by Charles Johnson, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP lobbying group, that was sent a week after the House of Representatives passed its own sanctions legislation on Turkey.

Sent on 7 November, the email said: “Andrew & Matt – I am reaching out on behalf of our client, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, to underscore the UAE’s condemnation of Turkish aggression in Syria and support for sanctions measures against Turkey such as the House-passed Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act.”

“I hope this information is helpful as you continue to monitor developments in Syria, and as the Senate considers potential sanctions measures,” he added.

The email also contained a number of links to support the claim that Qatar had supported the Turkish military operation in Syria.

It was not clear to whom the correspondence was sent while the UAE embassy in Washington did not respond to Anadolu’s request for a comment.

Last week, US Senators backed legislation imposing sanctions on Turkey for purchasing the Russian S-400 missile defence system and its military operations in Syria.

Turkey urges US to resist ‘anti-Turkey lobbying’ groups

Also, a top Turkish official last Friday urged “reasonable statesmen” to push back lobbying groups in Washington which damage Turkish-US ties for the sake of “narrow domestic political interests”, according to Anadolu Agency.

“US foreign policy must find a way to escape sacrificing US national interests for narrow domestic political interests,” Fahrettin Altun, Turkish communications director, said on Twitter.

“Anti-Turkey lobbying fringe groups cheer such steps for ideological reasons while they don’t care about US interests being damaged by alienating Turkey,” Altun added.

“US will isolate itself globally if it allows these groups to determine foreign policy,” he warned.

“Turkish-American relations will survive their attacks but only if reasonable statesmen rise and take a stance emphasizing the value of a mutually respecting relationship,” he added.

On Thursday, Altun warned that recent US moves – a bill to place sanctions on Turkey and a resolution on Armenian allegations over the events of 1915 – jeopardize relations with Turkey.

Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide” but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to examine the issue.

Last Friday, the ruling party and several opposition parties in Turkey’s parliament issued a resolution condemning the US Senate resolution.