Turkish media is reporting that the Maryland Secretary of State attended a Turkish-Islamist businessmen’s association’s Ramadan fast-breaking ceremony (iftar) held at a Turkish government center. According to the dikgazete report:
April 26, 2022: Many Turkish and American guests attended the iftar program organized by the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) USA Branch. The iftar, held at the Diyanet Center of America, located in Maryland, half an hour from the capital Washington, brought together many people from different walks of life. Representatives from the Turkish Embassy in Washington and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbian diplomatic missions attended the iftar, and Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith also attended. In his speech after the fast-breaking fast, Murat Güzel, President of MUSIAD USA, stated that the spirit of unity and solidarity that Ramadan represents for the Islamic world is remembered more strongly in such days. [Translated by Google with edits]
Read the rest here.
Wobensmith was stationed in Ankara for the US Department of Defense from 1993 to 1997.
The Diyanet Center of America is the US branch of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Turkish: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı or Diyanet), the 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.
MÜSİAD 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. Its president, Murat Guzel, has multiple connections with Turkish President Erdoğan and his AKP party:
- Guzel was the treasurer of the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), a group previously 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 reported his US political activities in e‑mails to Erdoğan family members.