Greek and Armenian organizations in the US have joined forces to prevent Dr. Mehmet Oz, an ally of former President Donald Trump, from winning a Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
The #StopOz campaign was launched by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) recently. The campaign includes a video that has gone viral and has been viewed over one million times in its first forty-eight hours online.
— ANCA (@ANCA_DC) August 25, 2022
“We’re seeing growing alarm across Pennsylvania—driven in large part by ANCA coalition advocacy with the Hellenic American Leadership Council—over Dr. Oz’s troubling ties to Turkish dictator Recep Erdogan,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“Dr. Oz’s candidacy has been defined by false pretenses—pretending to be a Pennsylvanian when he actually lives in New Jersey, pretending to dispense medical advice when he is actually peddling snake oil,” said Hellenic American Leadership Council Executive Director Endy Zemenides.
Zemenides said that “that serial dishonesty is what raises the red flags with regards to Oz’s ties to the Erdogan autocracy. The Washington Post first raised these issues in February, and the fact that Oz has failed to address them is alarming. People all over America—who know full well what influence a single senator can have—are rightly asking: ‘Who is Oz?’”
Oz’s ties to Turkey
Dr. Oz, is a Turkish–American television personality, author, professor emeritus, and retired cardiothoracic surgeon. If elected, he would be the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. Senate, the first Muslim to serve in the United States Congress as a Republican, and one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
The son of Turkish immigrants, Oz was raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. A dual citizen of the U.S. and Turkey, Oz served in the Turkish Army during the 1980s to maintain his Turkish citizenship.
Oz’s ties to Turkey, including his dual citizenship, were criticized by his Republican primary opponents. Oz called these issues a “distraction” and said that he would renounce his Turkish citizenship if elected while his campaign called the attacks “pathetic and xenophobic.”
Informal advisor to Donald Trump over COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oz’s television appearances influenced Trump’s decision-making, and he became an informal advisor to the Trump administration.
Oz had promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, as a cure for COVID-19 on more than twenty-five Fox News broadcasts in March and April 2020.
Trump claimed to be taking the drug in May 2020. In June 2020, the Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine, saying that it was “no longer reasonable to believe” that the drug was effective against COVID-19 or that its benefits outweighed “known and potential risks.”