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Senate Candidate Dr. Oz Tied to Turkish Government

March 9th, 2022 15:41

US media is report­ing that Sen­ate Can­di­date Dr. Mehmet Oz has sev­er­al con­nec­tions to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post op-ed:

Feb­ru­ary 16, 2022 Mem­bers of the U.S. Sen­ate often have con­flicts of inter­est, both busi­ness and per­son­al. But nev­er before has our coun­try expe­ri­enced a sen­a­tor who has dual cit­i­zen­ship, served in a for­eign mil­i­tary and main­tains deep ties to the oth­er nation where he holds cit­i­zen­ship — one where the leader is noto­ri­ous for pun­ish­ing those who cross him. Mehmet Oz — more com­mon­ly known by his tele­vi­sion name of “Dr. Oz” — has myr­i­ad con­nec­tions to Turkey and the world of its auto­crat­ic pres­i­dent, Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan, that are caus­ing con­cern in Wash­ing­ton and beyond. Oz’s young can­di­da­cy for Pennsylvania’s seat has been por­trayed in the press as quirky or stum­bling or con­tro­ver­sial, most­ly because of Oz’s var­i­ous com­ments over the years as television’s most famous doc­tor. But Oz’s bid to win the GOP pri­ma­ry in May is seri­ous. His cam­paign is spend­ing mil­lions on tele­vi­sion ads. He has near 100 per­cent name recog­ni­tion and a huge social media fol­low­ing. The lat­est polls show him as the front-run­ner, 11 points above for­mer Trea­sury Depart­ment offi­cial and hedge-fund exec­u­tive David McCormick and 12 points above Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ambas­sador to Den­mark and for­mer actress Car­la Sands. As the prospect of “Sen­a­tor Doc­tor Oz” becomes plau­si­ble, sev­er­al reports have ques­tioned Oz’s nation­al alle­giances and detailed his ties to elite busi­ness and polit­i­cal cir­cles in Turkey. Experts on Turkey say that while Oz’s Turk­ish and Mus­lim her­itage would be a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to the diver­si­ty of the Sen­ate, it’s legit­i­mate to wor­ry about the extent to which his assets and fam­i­ly mem­bers in Turkey would pro­vide Erdo­gan with lever­age over the future senator.

Read the rest here.

Oz is a celebri­ty physi­cian who has used his day­time tele­vi­sion show to pro­mote weight loss drugs and make unfound­ed claims such as apple juice con­tain­ing arsenic and women with cell­phones in their bras caus­ing breast can­cer. In 2020, he also praised lim­it­ed stud­ies pro­mot­ing chloro­quine and hydrox­y­chloro­quine as treat­ments for COVID-19 on his show. This advice con­tra­dict­ed the nation’s lead­ing infec­tious dis­ease expert, Dr. Antho­ny S. Fau­ci, and these stud­ies lat­er proved to be flawed.

The Post’s arti­cle also cites a Nation­al Review report about Oz’s ties to Turkey, which togeth­er detail sev­er­al con­nec­tions between Oz and the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, including:

  • In 2011, Oz was elect­ed to the High Advi­so­ry Coun­cil of the World Turk­ish Busi­ness Coun­cil, the inter­na­tion­al busi­ness-lob­by­ing arm of Turkey’s For­eign Eco­nom­ic Rela­tions Board, which is con­trolled by the Min­istry of Economy
  • Since 2017, he has been the pub­lic face of state-owned Turk­ish Airlines
  • In 2019, Oz spoke at a World Turk­ish Busi­ness Coun­cil con­fer­ence in NYC, co-host­ed by Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC) co-chair Gunay Evinch
  • In 2019, Oz stood arm-in-arm with Turk­ish Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Abdul­hamit Gül at a Turk­ish her­itage parade in Brook­lyn, NY.
  • Oz was the spe­cial guest at an Octo­ber 25, 2019, fundrais­er co-spon­sored by TASC and the Diyanet Cen­ter of Amer­i­ca, the US branch of the Diyanet.

The Nation­al Review also reports that Oz is known to attend a Diyanet mosque in New Jersey.

The Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC) is strong­ly tied to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan:

  • 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 co-chair Halil Mut­lu is Erdoğan’s cousin.
  • TASC’s for­mer trea­sur­er, Murat Guzel, detailed his US polit­i­cal activ­i­ties in e‑mails to Erdoğan fam­i­ly members.

The Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs (Turk­ish: Diyanet İşl­eri Başkan­lığı or Diyanet) is a Turk­ish state insti­tu­tion respon­si­ble for man­ag­ing reli­gious affairs. The Diyanet was found­ed in 1924 to monop­o­lize con­trol of Sun­ni Islam in Turkey under the state. The Diyanet drafts a week­ly ser­mon deliv­ered at all of Turkey’s mosques, and their imams are civ­il ser­vants employed by the state.