Turkish media is reporting that President Erdoğan spoke at a conference organized by the Turkish-American National Steering Committee (TASC). According to the Daily Sabah report:
September 20, 2021: Anti-Muslim hatred and xenophobia, which disrupt the daily lives of Muslims, have taken politics hostage in the West, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday. Erdoğan noted that both ideologies have been shaping state policies and have become destructive trends that pose a direct threat to social peace. “We are fighting against a deadlier and sneakier virus. This virus, which is as dangerous as the coronavirus, is called Islamophobia,” Erdoğan said at the “A Fairer World Is Possible” conference organized by the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) in New York City. “This virus is spreading very quickly in countries that have been portrayed as cradles of democracy and freedom for years,” he said.
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Another speaker at the conference was Siraj Wahhaj, who said that he believes Erdoğan is the leader of all Muslims in the Muslim world. Wahhaj is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and President of the Muslim Alliance of North America. He has also held various positions in the Islamic Society of North America, the American Muslim Council, the North American Islamic Trust, and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), all US Muslim Brotherhood groups.
Erdoğan also spoke at a reception co-organized by TASC and the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) with “representatives of the Muslim community in the United States.” Though the event was closed to the press, GIOR has found social media posts and photos indicating that the reception included several US Muslim Brotherhood leaders:
- Esam Omeish (former president of the Muslim American Society)
- Mohsin Ansari (President of the Islamic Circle of North America and the Chairman of the US Council of Muslim Organizations; USCMO)
- Nihad Awad (National Executive Director of CAIR)
- Oussama Jammal (USCMO Secretary-General)
The article also notes that before the conference, Erdoğan visited the Turkish House, which he said would function for Turks and the Muslim American community. The newly opened Turkish House is a 36-story skyscraper that serves as home to Turkey’s permanent mission to the UN, its consulate general in New York, and diplomatic housing.
The Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) is strongly tied to Turkish President Erdoğan:
- TASC co-chair Halil Mutlu is Erdoğan’s cousin.
- TASC co-chair Gunay Evinch is a principal of Saltzman & Evinch, a law firm retained by Turkey and registered as a foreign agent of Turkey in 2020.
- TASC’s former treasurer, Murat Guzel, detailed his US political activities in e‑mails to Erdoğan family members.
The Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (Turkish: Yurtdışı Türkler ve Akraba Topluluklar Başkanlığı; YTB) is a part of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The YTB describes its mission as coordinating activities for and strengthening economic, social, and cultural relations with Turks living abroad and related communities and managing the Türkiye Scholarship Program. YTB President Abdullah Eren has called its alumni organizations a “serious instrument” in the fight against Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey blames for the 2016 coup.
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