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Turkish-American Influence Group Meets with US Ambassador, Islamists

April 19th, 2021 11:43

Turk­ish media is report­ing that the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, along with the heads of US Islamist orga­ni­za­tions, has met with the new Turk­ish Ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States. Accord­ing to the Anadolu Agency report  

April 10, 2021 The meet­ing, orga­nized by the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC), was attend­ed by New York Con­sul Gen­er­al Rey­han Özgür, Reli­gious Ser­vices Coun­selor Bilal Kuşpı­nar, TASC co‑chair Halil Mut­lu and oth­er senior offi­cials, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions in New York and New Jer­sey. We need to show the Amer­i­can peo­ple how good we are, that we want noth­ing more than the good of this coun­try, and that we are an inte­gral part of this soci­ety, [Ambas­sador] Mercan said, refer­ring to the com­mon prob­lems faced in US soci­ety and empha­siz­ing the need to act togeth­er to solve them. Speak­ing at the meet­ing, New York Shu­ra Coun­cil Speak­er Abdul­hafid Cemil wished Ambas­sador Mer­can suc­cess in his new role and stressed that Turkey’s posi­tion in the Islam­ic world and the Turk­ish com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States are very impor­tant to them, and said that the joint work of the two com­mu­ni­ties will con­tin­ue. [Trans­lat­ed by Microsoft Trans­la­tor with edits]  

Read the rest here.  

Abdul­hafid Cemil of the New York Shu­ra Coun­cil is pre­sum­ably Abdel­hafidh Djemil, pres­i­dent of Majlis Ash-Shu­ra: Islam­ic Lead­er­ship Coun­cil of New York. Djemil was a speak­er at a TASC event where Pres­i­dent Erdoğan also spoke and has also pre­vi­ous­ly met with the Turk­ish con­sulate. Majlis Ash-Shu­ra is a mem­ber orga­ni­za­tion of the US Coun­cil of Mus­lim Orga­ni­za­tions (USCMO), a US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion. In Octo­ber 2020, GIOR report­ed that the USCMO met with Erdoğan in August of that year.  

Bilal Kuşpı­nar is the chair­man of the Diyanet Cen­ter of Amer­i­ca, the US branch of the Turk­ish Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs, a state insti­tu­tion man­ag­ing reli­gious affairs in Turkey and abroad.  

Also at the meet­ing was Sir­aj Wah­hajan unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tor in the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing who has 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, all US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood groups.

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.
  • TASC’s for­mer trea­sur­er, Murat Guzel, detailed his US polit­i­cal activ­i­ties in emails to Erdoğan fam­i­ly members.

Pre­vi­ous GIOR report­ing on TASC has includ­ed: 

  • In March 2021, we report­ed that TASC want­ed to con­tribute to US-Turk­ish rela­tions by dis­trib­ut­ing food aid through US politicians.
  • In March 2021, we report­ed that TASC had suc­cess­ful­ly got­ten an anti-Erdoğan ad pulled from Times Square.
  • In March 2021, we report­ed that TASC denounced a US sen­ate let­ter urg­ing the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion to have Turkey improve its human rights record.
  • In Octo­ber 2020, we report­ed that TASC board mem­ber Murat Güzel was a mem­ber of two DNC com­mit­tees.