Turkish media is reporting that the Turkish American National Steering Committee wants to contribute to Turkish-American relations by distributing food via US politicians. According to the Anadolu Agency report:
March 28, 2021 The Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), one of the umbrella organizations of the Turkish community operating in the USA, started preparations for aid to those in need during Ramadan. With the sponsorship of the Turkish food company Vintage Food Corporation in New Jersey, USA, TASC officials and volunteers prepared food packages that will meet a family’s basic needs for about a month. TASC Vice President İsrafil Demir stated that they prepared 3,500 food packages to be delivered to the Turkish and Muslim communities, most of them in need, before Ramadan. Demir said, “We hope these activities will further strengthen the bond between Turkish and Muslim societies.” Demir stated that they also aim to deliver the aid to Americans in need saying, “We want to bring the blessings of Ramadan to them and show the generosity of the Turkish community. We will distribute the aid through some US politicians. We hope that we will also contribute to Turkish-American relations on this occasion.” [Translated by Google with edits]
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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 e‑mails to Erdoğan family members.
Additionally, President Levent Demirgil of Vintage Food Corporation, the sponsor of the food donations, is a board member of MÜSİAD USA, the US branch of MÜSİAD, a Turkish-Islamist businessman’s group. MÜSİAD professes not to be a political organization yet has financially supported President Erdoğan’s AKP party and been supported in turn by President Erdoğan, and MÜSİAD leaders have left their positions to become AKP politicians themselves. MÜSİAD USA’s current president is Murat Güzel, a founder of the organization and a board member at TASC.
Other relevant GIOR reporting on TASC has included:
- 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 March 2021, we reported that MÜSİAD USA had sponsored a billboard supporting Turkey and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
- In October 2020, we reported that Murat Güzel (TASC, MÜSİAD USA) was a member of two DNC committees.