Mehmet Oz’s rivals in the primaries from Republicans in Pennsylvania to the US Senate are exacerbating their attacks on the famous heart surgeon’s ties to his parents’ home country of Turkey, raising this as a possible national security issue.
Oz, best known as the television Dr. Oz, dismissed any allegations that he posed a threat to national security, and accused his opponents, including Republican rival David McCormick, of committing “fanatical attacks.” If elected, Oz will become the country’s first Muslim senator.
Criticism of Oz and his ties to Turkey increased in the following weeks Oz has received the approval of former President Donald Trump, which remains very popular with conservative voters. According to a recent Franklin & Marshall College poll, Oz is fast approaching the May 17 primaries in the state, and Oz is in a tough tripartite race with McCormick, former hedge fund CEO and conservative activist Katie Barnett.
Trump holds rally with Oz in western Pennsylvania on Friday night, breaking away a big victory in the primaries in the Republican Senate in Ohio. Trump’s candidate, J.D. Vance, who will also appear at Friday’s rally, fell behind in polls before Trump’s latest approval lifted him to the top of the race from seven sides.
Oz, who was born in the United States, has Turkish citizenship, served in the Turkish army and voted in the 2018 election, but says he renounce dual citizenship in Turkey if he is elected.
Former Trump Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who backed McCormick in the election race, told reporters on Friday that Oz was obliged to explain “the scope and depth of his relationship with the Turkish government.”
As director of the CIA, Pompeo served in the Trump administration alongside Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, who caught the attention of the Justice Department because of the lucrative advisory work he and his firm did that benefited the Turkish government.
Oza also has financial ties.
In his a report on financial disclosure to the SenateOz has disclosed property he owns in Turkey, assets from the estate of his late father who are there in a lawsuit, and an approval agreement with Turkish Airlines, which is partly owned by the Turkish government.
In a recent debate, McCormick, a veteran of U.S. military operations during the Gulf War, accused Oz of unjustified dual citizenship in Turkey and tried to contrast Oz’s service in the Turkish army with McCormick’s service in the U.S. Army.
Another rival, Carla Sands, a former Trump ambassador to Denmark who inherited commercial real estate, suggested that Oz has a double loyalty, calling him “Turkey first” as a play on Trump’s philosophy “America first”.
Fighting McCormick’s attacks in March, Oz suggested his religion was a target, accusing McCormick of carrying out “fanatical attacks” that “resembled past insults to Catholics and Jews.”
Oz claimed to have served in the Turkish army as a young man to retain his dual citizenship. According to him, he still maintains this, so in Turkey he has the legal authority to make health decisions for his mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Oz voted in the 2018 elections in Turkey when he was at the consulate in New York at meetings dedicated to his humanitarian work on behalf of Syrian refugees in Turkey, his campaign said.
He voted against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his campaign said, noting that it is unusual for Americans with dual citizenship to vote in elections in other countries.
“Voting in the election is very different from active participation in the political work of the Turkish government, in which Dr. Oz has never participated,” the Oz campaign said.
Senate historians have been unable to find a U.S. senator who retained dual citizenship.
David Lawman, former head of the counterintelligence department in the Department of Homeland Security’s Department of Homeland Security, said he believes national security concerns are individuals and organizations that pose terrorist threats, cybersecurity or economic security threats or are involved in leverage operations. in the United States on behalf of foreign states.
“I think we need to be careful to classify any American as a national security risk simply because of their ties to a foreign country,” Lawman said in an interview.
Edward Ahmed Mitchell, deputy director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the nonprofit did not comment on specific companies. But overall, he said, the organization viewed attacks on one aspect of the candidate – such as birthplace – as a substitute for a more obvious racist attack, such as their race or religion.
He pointed to the interrogation of Trump and others as to whether Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, was born in the United States.
“This is a pattern that has been repeated and is repeated in several companies,” Mitchell said.
Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, was doing a job of gathering unpleasant information Fethullah Gulena Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania whom Erdogan blames for a failed coup attempt, and wrote an article in November 2016 accusing the U.S. of giving Gulen “asylum” while Turkey sought his extradition.
Flynn was rejected in the first month of the Trump administration after the White House said it lied about its Russian contacts during the transition. He is later recognized in a criminal case Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller said his documents to the Justice Department, when he registered as a foreign agent for his work in Turkey, included “false statements and omissions.”
Associated Press writer Eric Tucker of Washington contributed to this report.
About all the candidates, issues and important dates that voters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware need to know NBC10 Decision 2022 page. You’ll find tools to help you navigate the by-elections, including when to vote and who will be on your ballot for the primaries and general election in November.