A Turkish-American influence group is reporting about a meeting between “Turkish American Leaders” and US Congressman Jamaal Bowman. According to the Turkish American National Steering Committee tweet from August 8:
Turkish American Leaders met with Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) to discuss issues facing Turkish-American Community while enjoying delicious Turkish Food.
Other tweets indicate that the meeting was hosted by Israfil Demir and Hüseyin Bayram, board members at the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), and one photo also shows TASC co-chair Halil Mutlu next to Congressman Bowman. Mehmet Ozkan, Executive Director of the Maarif Foundation USA, another Turkish influence group, also tweeted a photo of himself with Bowman at the event, saying that they had discussed the future of education and its problems as well as US foreign policy and Turkish-American relations.
In May of this year, Bowman thanked the “Turkish community” for their support while standing in front of a TASC banner and next to Halil Mutlu. Later that month, he attended a TASC commemoration of a Turkish holiday.
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 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.
Other relevant GIOR on TASC reporting has included:
- In August 2021, we reported about TASC leaders briefing Turkish ministers and an MP on TASC’s activities, including those “which reach out to the US political leaders, media, and public.”
- In July 2021, we reported that New York City Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams had received donations from TASC leaders.
- In June 2021, we reported that TASC’s new Vice-Chairman of the Board is also the president of the USA youth wing of MÜSİAD, a Turkish Islamist businessman’s group.
- In May 2021, we reported that TASC co-organized a Ramadan iftar (fast-breaking) with the Mayor’s Office of Paterson, NJ, also attended by NJ Congressman Bill Pascrell.