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Maryland Congressman Thanks Groups Close to Turkish Government for Coronavirus Aid

October 14th, 2020 06:10

Turk­ish media is report­ing that a Mary­land con­gress­man has thanked two groups close to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment for pro­vid­ing coro­n­avirus-relat­ed med­ical equip­ment. Accord­ing to the Anadolu Agency report:

Sep­tem­ber 1, 2020 Ankara The US-based Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC) said US Con­gres­sion­al Record rec­og­nized the con­tri­bu­tion of the com­mit­tee and Turkey in fight against coro­n­avirus. “US Con­gres­sion­al Record rec­og­nizes TASC and Repub­lic of Turkey in fight against COVID-19 in Mary­land and the Unit­ed States,” the TASC tweet­ed late Mon­day. “@RepDavidTrone @StateMaryland We Turk­ish Amer­i­cans stands with Amer­i­can peo­ple. Be Neg­a­tive on COVID, Stay Pos­i­tive on Life,” the com­mi­tee added. Trone addressed the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to express his grat­i­tude for the “gen­eros­i­ty” of Turk­ish Amer­i­cans and their “gra­cious” sup­port to Mary­lan­ders, accord­ing to the record issued on Fri­day. “… I rise today to rec­og­nize the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC), which is lead by Potomac res­i­dent Gunay Evinch, and the Turk­ish Exporters Assem­bly, which is lead by Mr. Ismail Gulle, for their human­i­tar­i­an­ism and gen­eros­i­ty in donat­ing crit­i­cal per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPE) to the State of Mary­land,” he said.

Read the rest here.

The Turk­ish Exporters Assem­bly is a semi-pub­lic agency found­ed by the Turk­ish Coun­cil of Min­is­ters in 1993. It describes itself as an “the only umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion of Turk­ish exports, rep­re­sent­ing more than 95,000 exporters with 27 sec­tors, 61 Exporters Asso­ci­a­tion.” Its Chair­man, İsm­ail Gülle, is also a Vice Pres­i­dent of the Turk­ish For­eign Eco­nom­ic Rela­tions Board (Turk­ish: Dış Ekonomik İlişki­ler Kuru­lu, DEİK), which is con­trolled by the Min­istry of Economy.

The Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Committee’s (TASC) is strong­ly con­nect­ed to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan:

  • Gunay Evinch, TASC’s co-chair, is a prin­ci­pal of Saltz­man & Evinch, the law firm retained by Turkey and engaged in the legal defense of Erdoğan’s body­guards who were accused of assault­ing pro­tes­tors dur­ing Erdoğan’s May 2017 vis­it to Wash­ing­ton DC.
  • TASC’s oth­er co-chair, Halil Mut­lu, is Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s cousin and is the for­mer chair­man of the Turken Foun­da­tion, where Erdoğan’s daugh­ter Esra Albayrak is on the board of directors.
  • TASC board mem­ber and for­mer trea­sur­er Murat Guzel detailed his engage­ment in US polit­i­cal activ­i­ties in e‑mails to Erdoğan fam­i­ly members.
  • TASC also has host­ed events in the US where Pres­i­dent Erdoğan has spoken.

TASC addi­tion­al­ly has a num­ber of rela­tion­ships with the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the US,  anoth­er transna­tion­al influ­ence net­work cov­ered by the GIOR:

  • In Sep­tem­ber 2019, TASC host­ed an event where pres­i­dent Erdoğan spoke along­side and met with a num­ber of USMB leaders.
  • TASC also par­tic­i­pat­ed in the 15th Annu­al MAS-ICNA Con­ven­tion in 2016 along with one of Erdoğan’s daugh­ters, Turk­ish pub­lic broad­cast­er TRT, as well as oth­er Turk­ish orga­ni­za­tions and agencies.
  • TASC co-spon­sored a ral­ly against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s 2017 dec­la­ra­tion that Jerusalem is the cap­i­tal of Israel along with sev­er­al US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood groups.

Turkey is like­ly using its coro­n­avirus aid in order to gain influ­ence in the US. The Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Watch pub­lished a post about a con­fer­ence call where a US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion, the Turk­ish ambas­sador to the US, and a TASC rep­re­sen­ta­tive watched a pre-record­ed Eid greet­ing from Erdoğan. The head of the orga­ni­za­tion thanked and praised Erdoğan and Turkey for send­ing med­ical aid to the US dur­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis and lat­er did so again when meet­ing with Erdoğan at the Turk­ish pres­i­dent complex.