Turkish state media is reporting that the Turkish American National Steering Committee has harshly criticized a recent letter signed by 50 US Senators, “urging the Administration to press the Turkish government to improve its human rights record, which includes an increasingly authoritarian crackdown on dissent both domestically and abroad.” According to the Anadolu Agency report:
February 11, 2021 The US-based Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) said Thursday it is “appalled” by a letter by 50 US senators that characterizes the Turkish government as “authoritarian administration and violators of Human Rights.” “Turkey’s government was determined by a free and fair election by all citizens regardless of their background,” senior names of the committee said in a statement. “The Turkish people made it clear that no one can temper with their future when they took to streets and resisted a coup attempt on July 15th, 2016. The Turkish people made it clear to the world that they value their democracy above all else, and will protect it at any cost.” The statement came two days after half of the US Senate has signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to push Turkey on its human rights record. The letter, which was written by Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Marco Rubio, falsely alleges that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has taken the country down an increasingly authoritarian path” and “marginalized domestic opposition” as well as “silenced or co-opted critical media outlets.”
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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.
Previous GIOR reporting on TASC includes:
- In November 2020, we reported on TASC organizing demonstrations in support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
- In October 2020, we reported on a TASC board member’s membership in committees of the Democratic National Committee.
- In October 2020, we also reported on a Maryland Congressman who thanked TASC for Coronavirus aid.