TurkeyOctober 14 2020, 6:27 am

New Biden Campaign Official Headed NGO Tied to Turkish President Erdoğan

Armen­ian-Amer­i­can media is report­ing that the for­mer direc­tor of a US NGO with mul­ti­ple con­nec­tions to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan was appoint­ed as a cam­paign offi­cial with Joe Biden’s US Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Accord­ing to the report:

August 4, 2020 The cam­paign of Joseph Biden, the pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent, has appoint­ed Elvir Klem­pic, the for­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Turk­ish Her­itage Orga­ni­za­tion (THO), as Nation­al Affin­i­ty and Eth­nic Engage­ment Direc­tor. Klem­pic, who immi­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States with his fam­i­ly from Bosnia, set­tling in Iowa, has been active in Demo­c­ra­t­ic cir­cles for sev­er­al years now. How­ev­er, Klempic’s tenure at the THO, which has close ties not only to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, but also to the inner cir­cle of Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan should raise red flags, espe­cial­ly since he is tasked with engag­ing the var­i­ous eth­nic communities—presumably also the Armen­ian community—around the U.S. in Biden’s bid for the presidency.

Read the rest here.

Accord­ing to the job descrip­tion, Klempić’s duties will include man­ag­ing and exe­cut­ing an eth­nic and affin­i­ty focused con­stituen­cy out­reach plan and sup­port­ing and pro­vid­ing “strate­gic rec­om­men­da­tions for the trav­el of the Vice Pres­i­dent, Dr. Biden and high lev­el sur­ro­gates nationally.”

The Turk­ish Her­itage Orga­ni­za­tion (THO,  where Klem­pić pre­vi­ous­ly served as Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, describes itself as:

“a young, inde­pen­dent, non­par­ti­san, non­prof­it 501(c)(3) orga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes dis­cus­sion and dia­logue around Turkey’s role in the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty and issues of impor­tance in the U.S.-Turkey bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship, as well as an analy­sis of the NATO alliance and geopol­i­tics of the region.”

The THO has a num­ber of con­nec­tions to Pres­i­dent Erdoğan or orga­ni­za­tions sup­port­ing the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. THO’s cur­rent pres­i­dent is Ali Cinar (Turk­ish: Ali Çınar), a colum­nist for the pro-gov­ern­ment news­pa­per Mil­liyet, who has also writ­ten many arti­cles or op-eds for state-oper­at­ed TRT World and the pro-gov­ern­ment Dai­ly Sabah, where Erdoğan’s fam­i­ly have been board mem­bers. In 2015, a Turkey expert at the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress think tank warned Hilary Clin­ton pres­i­den­tial cam­paign chair­man John Podes­ta that the “Erdo­gan crew” was invest­ing in Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates through dona­tions and men­tioned Ali Cinar’s name specif­i­cal­ly. Cinar has since tes­ti­fied about Turkey before Congress.

The THO’s first and pre­vi­ous pres­i­dent, Halil Danis­maz, also has a his­to­ry of con­nec­tions to Pres­i­dent Erdoğan as:

    • He and oth­er THO lead­ers report­ed to Erdoğan’s son-in-law and oth­er Turk­ish offi­cials about the THO’s lob­by­ing efforts.
    • Danis­maz spoke at a con­gres­sion­al pan­el about the July 2016 Turk­ish coup, advo­cat­ing the Turk­ish government’s position.
    • Danis­maz left the THO and US in 2016 after he was inter­viewed by the FBI about his work for the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, accus­ing him of inter­ven­ing in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics on behalf of Pres­i­dent Erdoğan and work­ing as a secret agent for Turkey.
    • Danis­maz was a board mem­ber of the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, whose pres­i­dent at the time was inter­viewed by the FBI for the same rea­sons and whose cur­rent co-chair is a cousin of Pres­i­dent Erdoğan.


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