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US Congressman Meets With Turkish Influence Leaders

August 27th, 2021 16:55

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.