Turkish Heritage Organization


The US-based Turk­ish Her­itage Orga­ni­za­tion (THO) describes itself as a non­par­ti­san, non­prof­it 501(c)(3) orga­ni­za­tion dis­cussing and pro­mot­ing dia­log for “Turkey’s role in the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty and issues of impor­tance in the U.S.-Turkey bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship, as well as an analy­sis of the NATO alliance and geopol­i­tics of the region.”

The THO has a num­ber of con­nec­tions to Pres­i­dent Erdoğan or orga­ni­za­tions sup­port­ing the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. THO’s cur­rent pres­i­dent is Ali Cinar (Turk­ish: Ali Çınar), a colum­nist for the pro-gov­ern­ment news­pa­per Mil­liyet, who has also writ­ten many arti­cles or op-eds for state-oper­at­ed TRT World and the pro-gov­ern­ment Dai­ly Sabah, where Erdoğan’s fam­i­ly have been board mem­bers. In 2015, a Turkey expert at the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress think tank warned Hilary Clin­ton pres­i­den­tial cam­paign chair­man John Podes­ta that the “Erdo­gan crew” was invest­ing in Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates through dona­tions and men­tioned Ali Cinar’s name specif­i­cal­ly. Cinar has since tes­ti­fied about Turkey before Congress.

The THO’s first and pre­vi­ous pres­i­dent, Halil Danis­maz, also has a his­to­ry of con­nec­tions to Pres­i­dent Erdoğan as:

  • He and oth­er THO lead­ers report­ed to Erdoğan’s son-in-law and oth­er Turk­ish offi­cials about the THO’s lob­by­ing efforts.
  • Danis­maz spoke at a con­gres­sion­al pan­el about the July 2016 Turk­ish coup, advo­cat­ing the Turk­ish government’s position.
  • Danis­maz left the THO and US in 2016 after he was inter­viewed by the FBI about his work for the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, accus­ing him of inter­ven­ing in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics on behalf of Pres­i­dent Erdoğan and work­ing as a secret agent for Turkey.
  • Danis­maz was a board mem­ber of the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Nation­al Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, whose pres­i­dent at the time was inter­viewed by the FBI for the same rea­sons and whose cur­rent co-chair is a cousin of Pres­i­dent Erdoğan.