Armenians and Greeks concerned about Turkish ties to Mehmet Oz

Members of the Armenian-American and Greek-American communities over the weekend raised concerns about famed doctor Mehmet Oz’s ties to Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan, responding to a pro-democracy ad calling him a ‘close ally’ of the Islamist president.

Oz is running for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican, a move that has baffled fired staffers and Pennsylvanians alike given his long record of supporting leftist causes and his refusal to renounce Turkish citizenship. If elected, Oz would likely be the first dual national senator and the first Muslim in the upper house of Congress.

Armenian and Greek Americans echoed concerns about Oz’s relationship with Erdogan featured in a pro-Democrat Super PAC ad this weekend, ahead of the 107th anniversary of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides by the Ottoman Empire, observed April 24. caused tension in the Pennsylvania Senate campaign because Oz did not categorically call the mass extermination of 75% of the Armenian population a “genocide”. Around 450,000–750,000 Greek citizens and 150,000–300,000 Assyrians were also killed during the genocide. The Turkish government denies that the genocide was genocide and has advanced bizarre theories that Armenians committed suicide.

In addition to his relationship with Erdogan, Oz’s dual Turkish and American citizenship recently became an issue during the Pennsylvania primary after Oz reportedly said he would give up some security clearances, if elected. in order to keep his Turkish nationality. However, Oz backed up those comments after facing political backlash.

“I pledge that before I am sworn in as the next United States Senator from Pennsylvania, I will only be a United States citizen,” Oz said.

A pro-Democratic Super PAC recently ran an ad lambasting Oz for its ties to Turkey, which has received support from Armenian-American and Greek-American leaders.

The Really American PAC ad criticized Oz for serving in the Turkish military and speaking at an event hosted by the Turkish American Steering Committee.

“Who exactly is Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz? Oz served in the Turkish military and defiantly refused to renounce his Turkish citizenship,” the ad reads. “He is friends with Turkish authoritarian leader Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan, who terrorizes the Kurds and regularly imprisons journalists and political opponents.

The ad also features Selahattin Demirtas, a Kurdish-Turkish presidential candidate who had to campaign from prison and is still behind bars.

The announcement continued:

In 2019, Oz was the guest speaker at an event organized by the Turkish-American Steering Committee, Erdogan’s American propaganda machine. At this event, Oz sat down with their treasure Murat Güzel, who the FBI has been investigating for interfering in American politics. And after Erdogan’s bodyguards violently assaulted and hospitalized Americans protesting nonviolently in Washington, DC. They hired the co-president of the organization to represent them in court. Why is Mehmet Oz helping a foreign dictator’s propaganda company? Why does he not renounce his foreign nationality? What else is he hiding? Pennsylvania. Mehmet Oz cannot be trusted. Keep him out of the Senate in 2022.

Greek-American advocacy group Hellenic Leaders reposted the Really American PAC attack announcement on its Twitter page.

“#WhoIsOz? Here’s your answer,” Hellenic leaders tweeted.

Along with Hellenic leaders, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) amplified the pro-democracy attack announcement from Oz.

The ANCA warned of “foreign manipulation” when it reposted Really American’s attack announcement.

“The ANCA is committed to protecting the integrity of the United States Senate seat in Pennsylvania from foreign manipulation,” the ANCA said. tweeted.

With Greek-American and Armenian-American leaders rallying against Oz, it shows that Oz could be a serious liability for the Republican Party in the general election. The comments come after reports that Armenian-Americans feared that Oz could potentially generalize denial of the Armenian Genocide.

United Armenian Fund founder Harut Sassounian feared that Oz’s celebrity status, coupled with Turkey’s political influence, could lead to genocide denial. Sassounian told NBC News:

After Biden acknowledged [the Armenian genocide]Finally, after all these years of effort, we are really worried about Oz, because we know the power of Turkish lobbying and Turkish interests in American politics. Dr. Oz has been on television for years, he is a well-known person, he is a celebrity, and Armenians everywhere know that he is of Turkish origin. It therefore caught the attention of Armenians in all 50 states.

In response, Oz spokeswoman Brittany Yanick said, “Dr. Mehmet Oz opposes genocide and the killing of innocents in all their forms. The evils of the First World War should be commemorated. Dr. Oz looks forward to these important discussions, as well as helping the three million Armenians today.

Interestingly, the Oz campaign response does not explicitly say “Armenian Genocide.”

April 24 marked the 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.


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