Amid complicated relations with U.S., Turkey hires longtime Trump lobbyist Brian Ballard
Ballard Partners' Turkey contract, inked Friday, comes on the heels of two other international clients signed by the firm.
President Donald Trump’s longtime Florida lobbyist, Brian Ballard, has expanded his practice globally and just signed a $1.5 million contract with the government of Turkey, which will be represented by the firm’s new big hire, former Florida Congressman Robert Wexler.
Ballard Partners’ Turkey contract, inked Friday, comes on the heels of two other international clients signed by the firm: A March 6 $900,000 contract with the Dominican Republic and an April 1 $240,000 contract with the Socialist Party of Albania, the ruling party in the Balkan nation.
“I’m excited about the firm’s growing international practice and look forward to working with this important US and NATO ally,” Ballard, who still speaks to Trump on occasion after representing the Trump Organization for years in Tallahassee, said in a brief written statement.
The contract with Turkey is the firm’s highest profile foreign client and could be its most controversial amid unrest in the nation under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Turkey protested to the U.S. ambassador in Ankara that U.S. officials took "aggressive and unprofessional actions” against Turkish bodyguards in Washington last week when they beat protesters demonstrating against Erdogan. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday denounced the violent clash and told “Fox News Sunday” that State Department had called in the ambassador of Turkey to discuss the incident and say “that this is simply unacceptable.”
Meantime, amid a special counsel’s examining of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, has come under increasing scrutiny for his Turkish lobbying, which was also linked to a Russian oil deal.