Mehmet Oz’s Justification for Turkish Citizenship in Question


    Oz's dual U.S-Turkish citizenship was a central aspect of his run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania after he informed his reporters that he'd abstain from specific security clearances granted to U.S. Senators in order to preserve his Turkish citizenship.

    Oz is believed to have kept his Turkish citizenship to take care of his mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. “I can love my country and love my mom,” Oz said to journalists in March.

    After facing criticism over his remarks about Oz's Turkish nationality, Oz pledged to revoke citizenship if voters in Pennsylvania decide to send Oz to the Senate in November.

    “I maintained it to care for my ailing mother, but after several weeks of discussions with my family, I'm committing that before I am sworn in as the next U.S. senator for Pennsylvania I will only be a U.S. citizen,” Oz declared in March.

    However, when he vowed to remove his Turkish citizenship, Oz maintained that he just wanted to keep it so that he could go to his parents only two weeks back.

    “President Trump was very clear, I'm America First,” Oz declared at the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary this month. “I was obliged to serve for two months in the Infirmary in the Turkish military, which I did in order to go visit my parents as I went through my life. I can love my mother, and I can love my country as well.”

    Based on Oz's time as a member of the Turkish military, as well as his endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines and the size of his Turkish investment in real estate, and his participation in the most recent Turkish presidential election, some scholars are suggesting that his mother's health might not be the main motive behind his decision to keep his citizenship in Turkey.

    In fact, as American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Michael Rubin pointed out, Oz can still take care of his mother without becoming solely an American citizen. For instance, Turkey's loose visa procedure would allow Oz the opportunity to see his mom, without having to be an official citizen of Turkey.

    As Rubin explained:

    Oz could take care of his mother regardless of citizenship status. In the past, Americans could go to the Turkish booths at major international airports to obtain a Turkish visa for just $20. The entire process took just five minutes, even if there was a long line. Reports note that Oz has an estimated net worth of 100 million dollars, so the financial burden of obtaining an entry visa only a couple of times a year was not an obstacle. Nowadays, the process is made even simpler: U.S. citizens can apply online for an electronic visa prior to their trip and get their Turkey visa in a matter of minutes.

    Oz could be a foreign agent of Turkey, according to an advocacy group that recently asked the U.S. Department of Justice to examine Oz in the event of a possible violation in the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his involvement in conjunction with Turkish Government-funded Turkish Airlines.

    Oz's Turkish connections have also attracted attention from the security community of the nation. The former president's national security advisor, Robert O'Brien, recently declared that Oz's appointment to the Senate could be “problematic.”


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