A top ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met far-left Democrat Ilhan Omar (MN) last month and donated a large sum of money to her campaign, a revelation that comes one day after Omar refused to sanction Turkey for their actions in northern Syria and refused to recognize the Armenian Genocide, which was committed by Turkey.
Halil Mutlu, who is the co-chairman of the Turkish American Steering Committee (TSAC), donated $1,500 last month to Omar’s campaign.
“Founded in 2015, TASC has orchestrated a public relations push to cast doubt on whether the Ottoman empire committed genocide against Armenians more than a century ago,” The Daily Caller News Foundation’s (DCNF) Chuck Ross reported. TSAC is “a U.S.-based nonprofit that has for years waged public relations campaigns in support of Turkish government policies and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan … [and] maintains close ties to Erdogan, routinely hosting the Turkish president during his visits to the U.S., including on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.”
The DCNF added that Mutlu, who is reportedly Erdogan’s cousin from Connecticut, made the $1,500 contribution to Omar’s campaign on at the end of last month and was featured in a photograph with her.
On Tuesday, Omar was one of the only members of Congress that did not vote to recognize the Armenian Genocide and was the only Democrat member of Congress to vote against sanctioning Turkey for their actions in northern Syria.
Omar released a statement on why she did not vote for the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide:
I also believe accountability for human rights violations—especially ethnic cleansing and genocide—is paramount. But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as cudgel in a political fight. It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics. A true acknowledgement of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country. For this reason, I voted ‘present’ on final passage of H.Res. 296, the resolution Affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.
Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, told the DCNF regarding Omar’s statement: “Essentially, this is a Turkish talking point that she’s throwing out. She is lining up to carry Turkey’s water on this.”
Omar was widely slammed across the political spectrum, including from her supporters on the far-left.
A man named Hrag Vartanian, who describes himself as a vocal defender of Omar’s, said that her refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide was the final straw for him.
“I’ve been a vocal supporter of @IlhanMN but no more. There was absolutely no reason for her to not vote on something that is solid historical fact and use the typical [word] salad of denialists,” he wrote. “I once saw her as a human rights defender. The other present or no votes I care less about, because I never supported them, but this really hurt.”
I've been a vocal supporter of @IlhanMN but no more. There was absolutely no reason for her to not vote on something that is solid historical fact and use the typical world salad of denialists. I once saw her as a human rights defender.
— Hrag (@hragv) October 29, 2019
“Omar — who likes to portray herself as a champion of human rights — has repeatedly condemned using sanctions against Iran, Turkey, and Venezuela because she claims that sanctions hurt innocent people, yet, Omar has repeatedly called for using sanctions against Israel,” The Daily Wire reported on Tuesday. “Omar is an avid supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is designed to destroy the state of Israel.”