Turkey cranks up lobbying payments to U.S. law firm

Turkey has increased its annual payment to Washington-based law firm Saltzman & Evinch PLLC, paying the company an additional $150,000 for its lobbying services to reach $1.25 million, Tele1 news site reported on Monday.

The Turkish government has provided a total of $6.5 million to the company over the past five years, it said, citing documents by the Foreign Agents Registration Act, FARA.

The other U.S. firms working to further Turkey’s interests in Washington - Amsterdam & Partners LLP, Ballard Partners, and Arnold and Porter - are receiving annual payments of $2 million, $1.5 million and $1.5 million, respectively, according to Tele1.

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan enjoyed collegial relations with former U.S. President Donald Trump, he is faced with a tougher challenge in Joe Biden, a vocal critic of Erdoğan's democratic record, against a backdrop of problems plaguing Washington-Ankara relations.

Ballard Partners’ contracts in the past included a $125,000-per-month deal for the firm to represent Turkey’s state-run Halkbank, which is being prosecuted in the United States for fraud, money laundering and violating sanctions on Iran, NBC news reported last year. 

The Turkish government paid over $30 million to U.S. lobbying firms to exert influence on former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration during his four years in office, non-partisan and independent NGO Open Secrets reported in July.

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