A US university news service is reporting that New York City Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams has received donations from two leaders of organizations connected to the Turkish government. According to the NYCITY NewsService report:
June 17, 2021 […] Businessman Murat Guzel—contributor to numerous national Democratic campaigns—gave Adams $5,000 on July 12. Guzel donated an additional $5,100 a month later. Because Adams is participating in the city’s matching campaign-funds program, individual donors can give a maximum $2,000 in total contributions. Any additional amount is refunded by the campaign. Guzel, for instance, was refunded $8,100. Behram Turan, board chairman of the Turken Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Turkish and Muslim culture, donated $3,000 to Adams that July. In November 2018, Turken broke ground for a 21-story building in Manhattan where Adams hoisted a ceremonial shovel alongside Turan and Turkey’s ambassador to the UN. “We’re not expecting any special treatment,” Turan said when asked by the NYCity News Service about his donation. “We just happen to like him personally and see the potential for him to provide good service for New York City, where we have a project.”
Read the rest here.
Murat Guzel has several connections with Turkish President Erdoğan and his AKP party:
- Guzel is a board member of the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), a group co-chaired by Erdoğan’s cousin and Gunay Evinch, a principal of a law firm retained by Turkey and registered as a foreign agent of Turkey.
- Guzel is the president of MÜSİAD USA, the US branch of the Turkish Islamist businessman’s group, MÜSİAD, which aims to create a synthesis of business and conservative Islamic values and which has financially supported Erdoğan’s AKP party.
- Guzel reported his US political activities in e‑mails to Erdoğan family members.
Behram Turan is also a board member of TASC as well as the Chairman of the Board of the Turken Foundation, whose stated objectives include providing housing as well as social and educational opportunities to Turkish and Muslim students. Turken’s board also includes:
- Esra Albayrak, Erdoğan’s daughter.
- Ömer Faruk Albayrak, likely a relative of Esra Albayrak’s husband.
- TASC Treasurer Memis Yetim.
Adams also has had a relationship with the Turken Foundation, in 2018 presenting the group with a certificate of appreciation for “outstanding achievements and contributions to society.”
The article also notes that Adams traveled to Turkey to sign a sister city agreement between Brooklyn and an Istanbul district in 2015, a trip paid for by the Turkish Consulate. He received more donations from Turkish-American supporters after the trip.
Related GIOR reporting has included:
- In June 2021, we reported that TASC’s new Vice Chairman of the Board is also the president of MÜSİAD USA’s youth wing.
- In May 2021, we reported that TASC, alongside an NJ mayor’s office, organized a Ramadan iftar (fast-breaking) attended by NJ Congressman Bill Pascrell.
- In October 2020, we reported that Murat Guzel was on two of the Democratic National Committee’s committees according to a September 2019 members list.