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Vans and Planes Spreading 2016 Turkish Coup Story in US

October 14th, 2020 06:57

Turk­ish media is report­ing on an influ­ence cam­paign run by a US orga­ni­za­tion tied to Turk­ish pres­i­dent Erdoğan to advance the Turk­ish government’s posi­tion on the 2016 Turk­ish coup:

July 14, 2020 New York Dig­i­tal LED vans and air­planes with ban­ners are tour­ing the US to give Amer­i­cans a win­dow into the defeat­ed putsch staged by Fetul­lah Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion (FETO), ahead of the fourth anniver­sary of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. Sev­er­al vans with screens dis­play­ing “July 15, Vic­to­ry of Turk­ish Democ­ra­cy” and “Vic­to­ry of Turk­ish Nation” toured Man­hat­tan, Brook­lyn and Queens in New York, Wash­ing­ton, DC and also Say­lors­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia, where FETO leader Fetul­lah Gulen resides. Planes flew ban­ners that read “Stop Ter­ror­ist FETO” above New York City and New Jer­sey. The cam­paign was orga­nized by the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee (TASC), whose co-chair, Halil Mut­lu, told Anadolu Agency the effort was to inform Amer­i­cans about the coup attempt.

Read the rest here.

This cam­paign is run by the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Committee’s (TASC). a group strong­ly con­nect­ed to Pres­i­dent Erdoğan:

  • TASC co-chair Halil Mut­lu is Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s cousin and is the for­mer chair­man of the Turken Foun­da­tion, where Erdoğan’s daugh­ter Esra Albayrak is on the board of directors.
  • Gunay Evinch, the oth­er TASC co-chair, is a prin­ci­pal of Saltz­man & Evinch, the law firm retained by Turkey and engaged in the legal defense of Erdoğan’s body­guards who were accused of assault­ing pro­tes­tors dur­ing Erdoğan’s May 2017 vis­it to Wash­ing­ton DC.
  • TASC board mem­ber and for­mer trea­sur­er Murat Guzel detailed his engage­ment in US polit­i­cal activ­i­ties in e‑mails to Erdoğan fam­i­ly members.
  • TASC also has host­ed events in the US where Pres­i­dent Erdoğan has spoken.

TASC’s cam­paign also advances the Turk­ish government’s posi­tion on the coup attempt. Although Turkey blames Fethul­lah Gülen for the coup, Gülen rejects this accu­sa­tion and the US has so far refused to extra­dite Gülen cit­ing insuf­fi­cient evi­dence. Gülen was pre­vi­ous­ly one of Erdoğan’s polit­i­cal allies, and has mil­lions of fol­low­ers in his move­ment which “prides itself on being a paci­fist, inter­na­tion­al­ist, mod­ern, and mod­er­ate alter­na­tive to more extreme deriva­tions of Sun­ni Islam.” The move­ment runs schools world­wide, includ­ing many in the US.

TASC addi­tion­al­ly has a num­ber of in the US, part of the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood a transna­tion­al Islamist influ­ence net­work also cov­ered by the GIOR:

  • TASC also co-spon­sored a ral­ly against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s 2017 dec­la­ra­tion that Jerusalem is the cap­i­tal of Israel along with the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can Islam­ic Rela­tions, ICNA, MAS, and the USCMO, among others.
  • The TASC Sep­tem­ber 2019 newslet­ter addi­tion­al­ly tells of a meet­ing with ICNA lead­ers and states that its “mem­bers con­tin­ue to be our strongest sup­port­ers and vol­un­teers for our programs.”