New Photo Reveals Pennsylvania Senate Contender Dr. Oz Voting in 2018 Turkish Election
A photo of media personality and Pennsylvania U.S Senate contender Dr. Mehmet Oz voting in Turkey’s 2018 presidential election is bringing new attention to the celebrity’s dual citizenship, and what it would mean for a serving senator.
Oz, who seeking the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, cast a ballot as a Turkish citizen in June 2018.
Turkey’s consulate in Manhattan had originally posted the photo of Oz voting.
Oz, who was born in Clevland, Ohio, in 1960, to Turkish immigrants, previously served in the Turkish military in the 1980s, according to a PBS profile.
The television host and doctor holds Turkish citizenship and owns property in the country.
His connections to Turkey would all but surely cost him a federal security clearance, according to security experts quoted by ABC News, but senators don’t require security clearances.
Oz, who has received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, is one of the leading candidates in the Pennsylvania race.
One of Oz’s chief rivals for the GOP Senate nomination, Pennsylvania businessman David McCormick, has made an issue of Oz’s ties to Turkey.
In March, according to CNN, the McCormick campaign organized a news conference that included Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan saying it was “inconceivable” that a senator could skip attending briefings where classified information was discussed.
A spokeswoman for the Oz campaign, Brittany Yanick, told ABC that Oz hadn’t planned to vote in the Turkish election, but decided to cast a ballot when visiting the consulate seeking assistance for his work with Syrian refugees.
Turkey is governed by Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a former mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s who served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014. He was elected president in 2014.
Yanick told ABC that Oz had voted for Erdogan’s opponent, Muharrem Ince.
However, Oz strongly praised Erdoğan’s model of Islamic governance in 2013, as noted in a Twitter post published by Matt Wolking, a veteran Republican strategist working with McCormick campaign. The primary election is May 17.
Oz sure sounded like an Erodgan supporter in July 2013:
“I met him quite a few years ago… he’s an extremely important leader… he personally took care of the city’s poor. Through Islam, he improves the citizens’ lives… Erdogan’s Turkey has become a democratic model” #PAsen pic.twitter.com/mGaCLF07Fw
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) May 4, 2022
Oz has met Erdogan at least twice since Erdogan has been Turkey’s president — in 2014 and 2018, according to ABC.
Erdoğan’s opposition has faced political persecution in the country, following a failed 2016 attempt to remove the Islamist president from office.
June 13, 2018: Oz votes in the Turkish election at the Turkish Consulate General in New York
September 27, 2018: Oz sits with President Erdogan and his wife Emine during the 9th Turkey Investment Conference held by the Turkey-U.S. Business Council (TAIK) in New York#PAsen pic.twitter.com/M0GD7Wiast
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) May 4, 2022
Oz’s vote and meetings with Erdoğan contrast with his campaign claims of having “never been politically involved in Turkey in any capacity.”
A photograph of Oz casting a ballot in Turkey’s 2018 presidential election is rankling some national security experts—particularly after recently saying he has “never been politically involved in Turkey in any capacity.” https://t.co/JKPVpvwFJY
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 4, 2022
However, Yanick tried to downplay the significance of the vote.
“Voting in an election is far different from being actively engaged in the political work of the Turkish government, which Dr. Oz has never been involved with,” she told ABC. “There is no security issue whatsoever.”
Turkey is a member of NATO, but the country’s conflict with Kurdish militia forces and support for Islamist groups have proven a point of serious contention between Washington and the transcontinental nation.
The country’s government is hostile to Christians, having turned some of the world’s most ancient Christian cathedrals into mosques in a triumphialist insult towards the Western world.
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