Middle East, Regional conflicts, Top Stories

Turkey taps longtime Lugar aide in lobbying rebuild

The Turkish embassy has hired a longtime aide to the late Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) as Ankara begins to rebuild its decimated lobbying operation.

Patrick Garvey‘s new firm Garvey Strategies is expected to be involved in “lobbying, promotion, perception management, public relations, and preparation or dissemination of informational materials,” according to a new Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing with the Department of Justice. The engagement began June 11 and is expected to involve interactions with members of Congress and their staffs, monitoring of congressional activity, advice on legislative issues, drafting of correspondence and research and analysis.

“We have an agreement in principle, and they have asked I begin work immediately,” Garvey wrote in his registration with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). “I will upload the contract when I have it in hand.”

Patrick A. Garvey Deputy Assistant Director Foreign Affairs, Defense, and  Trade Division (FDT) Congressional Research Service (C
Patrick Garvey

A retired captain in the US Navy, Garvey advised Lugar on military affairs, counterterrorism, and Middle East policy for many years before leaving for the private sector. He later served as deputy director of the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service, the internal research and analysis arm of the US Congress.

Garvey is currently a senior fellow with the Lugar Center, a Washington think tank dedicated to advancing the senator’s vision of bipartisan US leadership in global affairs. He incorporated Garvey Strategies in Annapolis, Maryland in February.

Garvey did not respond to a request for comment about the terms of the contract. This is his first lobbying registration.

The engagement comes as Turkey is looking to restore its influence operations in Washington for the Joe Biden era after hemorraghing lobbying and public relations firms over the past few months. After spending $3.6 million on seven different firms in 2019, the embassy has lost four in a row (Mercury Public Affairs, Greenberg Traurig, Venable and Capitol Counsel) amid a sustained pressure campaign by an Armenian diaspora furious over Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in last year’s war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s foes have also been beefing up their own lobbying presence.

The National Council on Civil Advocacy, a Washington nonprofit, recently picked up a 15-lobbyist team with Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas to keep up the US pressure on Turkey’s human rights abuses. The council is close to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the 2016 coup attempt.

And the Syrian Kurds battling Turkish-backed forces in northern Syria have recently hired their first US lobbyist to help organize a visit to the United States.


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Meanwhile US-Turkey tensions linger despite an upbeat assessment by both countries following the first face-to-face meeting between Biden and Erdogan since the 2020 US election.

“We had a positive and productive meeting, much of it one-on-one,” Biden said at a news conference following Monday’s meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels. “Our teams are going to continue our discussions and I’m confident we’ll make real progress with Turkey and the United States.”

Erdogan for his part called the encounter “productive and sincere” and said no issues between the US and Turkey were “unsolvable.”

Still, the two countries remain at odds over a slew of issues including the ongoing fighting in Libya and Syria, Biden’s recognition of the Ottoman-era massacre of Armenians as a genocide, and Turkey’s purchase of Russian air-defense systems. The Turkish defense industry has launched a separate lobbying campaign to reintegrate the F-35fighter jet program after being expelled under President Donald Trump, but the Biden administration has shown no indication that it plans to reverse course.