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Turkish-American Influence Group’s Co-Chair Leaves to Become USA AKP Representative

March 3rd, 2022 14:01

The co-chair of a Turk­ish-Amer­i­can influ­ence group has now been appoint­ed as head of Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s AKP par­ty in the Unit­ed States. Accord­ing to the ABDPOST report:

Feb­ru­ary 25th, 2022: Dr. Halil Mut­lu, Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan’s cousin, was appoint­ed head of the AK Par­ty’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Unit­ed States. Halil Mut­lu, 51, who has been a doc­tor in the USA for many years, will serve as the first rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the AK Par­ty in the USA. Only the Repub­li­can People’s Par­ty (CHP) and the People’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP) have rep­re­sen­ta­tive offices in Amer­i­ca. A grad­u­ate of Sel­cuk Uni­ver­si­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine, Dr. Halil Mut­lu also served as TASC co-chair­man in the USA. [Trans­lat­ed by Google with edits]

Read the rest here.

The Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC) has announced Mut­lu’s depar­ture from the orga­ni­za­tion, but does­n’t men­tion that he will become the USA AKP rep­re­sen­ta­tive, instead say­ing he will “pur­sue oth­er endeavors”:

March 1, 2022: TASC accept­ed the res­ig­na­tion of Co-Chair­per­son Dr. Halil Mut­lu who will pur­sue oth­er endeav­ors. Dr. Mut­lu exem­pli­fied her­itage com­mu­ni­ty lead­er­ship, suc­cess­ful­ly lead­ing TASC’s civic engage­ment, char­i­ta­ble and cul­tur­al pro­grams nationwide.

The same announce­ment also names Israfil Demir as the new TASC co-chair. Accord­ing to his LinkedIn pro­file, Demir was the Pres­i­dent of Young MÜSİAD USA from 2019–2020. MÜSİAD, in turn, is a Turk­ish busi­ness­man­’s group found­ed in 1990 which aims to cre­ate a syn­the­sis of busi­ness and con­ser­v­a­tive Islam­ic val­ues. It pro­fess­es not to be a polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion yet has finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed the AKP par­ty, been sup­port­ed by Pres­i­dent Erdoğan, and MÜSİAD lead­ers have left their posi­tions to become AKP politi­cians. As the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed in June 2021, TASC’s vice-chair­man of the board, Gokhan Dogan, is the cur­rent pres­i­dent of Young MÜSİAD USA.

The Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC) describes its mis­sion as “to pro­mote and ampli­fy a unit­ed Turk­ish Amer­i­can voice on issues that affect the Turk­ish Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty and Unit­ed States-Turk­ish rela­tions.” The Com­mit­tee is strong­ly tied to the Turk­ish government:

  • 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 trea­sur­er, Murat Guzel, detailed his US polit­i­cal activ­i­ties in e‑mails to Erdoğan fam­i­ly mem­bers. Guzel is also MÜSİAD USA’s cur­rent pres­i­dent.

The Turk­ish Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Par­ty (Turk­ish: Adalet ve Kalkın­ma Par­tisi; AKP) is the cur­rent rul­ing par­ty in Turkey led by Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The par­ty was found­ed in 2001 by politi­cians from Islamist polit­i­cal par­ties who were banned for vio­lat­ing Turkey’s sec­u­lar order, pro­claim­ing them­selves as prac­tic­ing “con­ser­v­a­tive democ­ra­cy” and reject­ing the Islamist label. The par­ty nar­row­ly sur­vived an attempt to close it via the courts for vio­lat­ing Turkey’s sec­u­lar­ism laws in con­nec­tion with its lift­ing of a ban on head­scarves at uni­ver­si­ties. The AKP sub­se­quent­ly passed con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments weak­en­ing the inde­pen­dence of the mil­i­tary and judi­cia­ry. The AKP has close ties with the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and oper­ates abroad with rep­re­sen­ta­tive offices in Europe, notably in Bel­gium. It has announced its intent to open offices in oth­er west­ern coun­tries as well.