The Blunder That Could’ve Cost John Fetterman the Election

I’ve made no bones about my opinion of John Fetterman and the “election” that sent him off to exercise his notable oratorical skills in the United States Senate. However, there is another side to the Oz vs. Fetterman story, which concerns the relationship between Dr. Oz and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

My sentiment concerning the Pennsylvania senatorial election was: “Why can’t they both lose?”

I always like to present a variety of opinions at Gates of Vienna, so here is David Boyajian’s take on Fetterman, Oz, and Turkey.

The Blunder That Could’ve Cost John Fetterman the Election

by David Boyajian

“If John Fetterman lacks the stomach to expose the entire Oz-Turkish love affair, particularly Ankara’s support of ISIS, he may lose… and will deserve it.”

My Double Trouble: Dr. Mehmet Oz and Turkey said that back in October.

It spelled out Oz’s alarming relationships with the Turkish government, President Erdogan, and shady Turkish organizations and Turks. Benjamin Baird’s Behind Dr. Oz’s Curtain and other writers had covered similar ground.

Yes, soon-to-be Democratic Senator Fetterman did beat the Republican Oz, by roughly 240,000 votes out of 5.3 million — 51% to 46.6%.

Yet victory was never assured for the stroke-stricken Fetterman and his anemic campaign. Polls showed Oz gaining on, and sometimes beating, his opponent. Early voting before Fetterman’s dismal October 25 debate performance probably helped his campaign.

Oz has dual citizenship with Turkey. That’s vastly different than dual citizenship with, say, France or Norway. Turkey is a rogue NATO member, unashamedly repressive and corrupt, and has long supported international terrorist organizations such as ISIS.

Oz’s foreign ties, some of which we’ll list, were his most glaring vulnerability. Yet Fetterman never exposed those ties.

Had he hammered home Oz’s troubling foreign relationships in blistering attack ads, Fetterman would undoubtedly have won more decisively.

Points Fetterman Missed

  • Ahmet S. Yayla, Turkey’s counterterrorism chief from 2010-2013, acknowledged in 2020 that “Turkey was a central hub for… over 50,000 ISIS foreign fighters, and… ISIS logistical materials… making Turkey and ISIS practically allies.”

    As a Turkish citizen, Oz had a responsibility to condemn Turkey’s ongoing support of ISIS and other terrorists. Yet he remained silent.

  • I’ve never found forthright criticisms by Oz of Turkey’s myriad human rights abuses, corruption, and mistreatment of Christians.
  • In 2019, Oz said, “I met with our leader [President Erdogan] in Turkey.” Our? Erdogan is Oz’s “leader”? The doctor offered to “help Turkey as a representative.” As a U.S. senator, perhaps?
  • The photo of a beaming Oz double-clasping the hand of his corrupt, ISIS-supporting “leader,” President Erdogan, speaks for itself.
  • In 2019, Oz embraced Turkish “Justice” Minister Abdulhamit Gul in New York City. The U.S. Treasury Department penalized Gul in 2018 for his role in Turkey’s unjust detention of Andrew Brunson, an American Christian pastor.
  • Oz produces lifestyle programming on the BiP communications platform. Erdogan’s Turkish Wealth Fund owns BiP.
  • Oz’s extensive real estate holdings in Turkey include a $2 million dormitory leased at no cost to the corrupt regime’s Education Ministry.
  • Why did Oz hold a meeting with Turkey’s U.S. Ambassador, Hasan Murat Mercan, and why did the ambassador immediately phone Oz when he announced his candidacy? Mercan, incidentally, was a founder of Erdogan’s corrupt, Islamist AKP party.
  • As a special guest at a 2019 Turkish fundraiser, Oz sat beside Murat Guzel, co-host of the event. Guzel was reportedly questioned by Federal agents and given immunity in an investigation regarding political donations.
  • Oz was once elected to the High Advisory Council of the Istanbul-based World Turkish Business Council (DTiK). The latter is affiliated with Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEiK), an arm of Erdogan’s regime.

    The doctor spoke at DTiK’s 2019 conference in NY City co-hosted by Gunay Evinch. Erdogan hired Evinch’s law firm, Saltzman & Evinch, to collect intel on some of Turkey’s critics in America.

  • Republican Mike Pompeo, the ex-CIA director and Trump’s Secretary of State, said Oz must explain the “scope and depth” of his relationship to Turkey because they raise “national security concerns.”
  • Enes Kanter Freedom, the NBA basketball star, former Turkish citizen, and Erdogan critic, tweeted, “[Dr. Oz] is a Foreign Agent and he works for Dictator [Erdogan].”

    Also: “Whatever Erdogan wants… Dr. Oz is going to do.”

Just a few of these facts in skillfully produced attack ads would have demolished Oz’s persona and campaign.

The bottom line: Voters won’t tolerate candidates who look to an atrocious foreign government — in this case, Turkey’s — for leadership and personal gain. Voters must first, however, learn the facts in hard-hitting campaign ads.

Meanwhile, Oz’s campaign itself used rough tactics. It opined that the Democrat’s stroke may have been caused by a bad diet and accused him of having sponged off his parents.

I provided Fetterman’s campaign manager, Brendan McPhillips, plenty of documentation about Oz. I never heard from him.

Why didn’t Fetterman use such obvious, potent facts against Oz?

Fetterman’s Failure

American presidents (some more than others), the U.S. State Department, elected Democrats and Republicans, and mainstream corporate media have habitually kowtowed to Turkey’s endless threats and demands. It’s a decades-long story.

Most recently, Turkey supports ISIS, threatens its neighbors (even NATO member Greece), and uses American F-16s contrary to U.S. law. Yet Washington does surprisingly little to hold Ankara accountable.

Even several Democratic critics of Turkey — such as Senators Bob Menendez (NJ) and Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Representatives Frank Pallone (NJ) and Dina Titus (NV) — apparently didn’t criticize Oz’s Turkish connections.

To no avail, before Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary, I asked the campaigns of GOP candidates Kathy Barnette and Dave McCormick to expose Oz’s failure to condemn Turkey’s support of ISIS.

McCormick proceeded to lose to Oz by just 951 votes out of 1.3 million.

Then again, McCormick had been an Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, a CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund, and a former board chairman of Washington, DC’s Turkophilic Atlantic Council. He would probably rather have lost than hurt Turkey’s feelings.

By throwing away a commonsense campaign strategy, John Fetterman betrayed his supporters and their financial commitment. Fear of offending a foreign government and the U.S. State Department is no excuse.

Hopefully, Senator Fetterman will grow a backbone.

David Boyajian is an Armenian-American freelance journalist. His primary foreign policy focus is the Caucasus. Many of his articles are archived at

For his previous essays at Gates of Vienna, see the David Boyajian Archives.

5 thoughts on “The Blunder That Could’ve Cost John Fetterman the Election

  1. “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”

    Likely the uniparty didn’t make any mention of the Turkish connections because if you dig deep enough they all have them. Whatever else Erdogan is he’s a slim customer and has plenty of purchased politicians in every party in every western country.

    If Uncle Fester’s campaign ghostwriters started tossing around accusations of Turkish influence (which are as unremarkable as allegations of pols being owned by special interests) the Oz campaign would have responded with dirt of their own on Fester as well as charges of racism, etc.

    And ultimately it wasn’t necessary because the fix was in from the very beginning of the voting charade process.

  2. Did wifey get the seat yet?
    If not there is a horse available somewhere.
    A dual citizen here, a dual citizen there, all are welcome at the free EBT milk & honey shopping world bazaar…at least until Depression 2.0 hits then its all family and tribe all the time.

  3. Dual citizenship should be outlawed both here in the UK and in the USA.
    In the Bible it says that a man cannot serve two masters.
    That’s a good enough reason for me.

  4. Re: “Ahmet S. Yayla, Turkey’s counterterrorism chief from 2010-2013, acknowledged in 2020 that “Turkey was a central hub for… over 50,000 ISIS foreign fighters, and… ISIS logistical materials… making Turkey and ISIS practically allies.”

    It is well to remember that some years ago, in the wake of the 9-11-01 attacks, the West sought to unify its definition of terrorism with that of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the largest pan-Islamic organization in existence. After due consideration, the OIC issued a report condeming what it called “terrorism,” which conveniently left out anything sanctioned by sharia (Islamic) law, and thereby refused to condemn the 9-11 attackers, amongst others.

    This apparently two-sided or two-faced bit of cognitive dissonance may appear incongruous to westerners, but not to Islamic sensibilities. The refusal to condemn groups waging jihad (holy war) – such as ISIS – is wholly congruent with the Islamic view of the world, which mandates ceaseless war against the infidels until such time as the enemies of the faith are all converted, subjugated or slain.

    This duality of thought is how the Erdogan government and its supporters, both inside and outside of Turkey, can with straight-faced sincerity maintain that the Turkish government has committed no wrong and is a member of NATO and the international community in good standing. By Islamic standards of ethics, they are behaving correctly.

    No nation whose people wish it to survive and prosper can allow dual-citizens the privileges of citizenship, such as voting and belonging to elected government. The idea that a man of such questionably loyalty as Mehmet Oz could even be considered as a U.S. Senator is risible, not withstanding his evidently sterling educational and career credentials. Yet here we are.

    Indeed, the possibility cannot be discounted that he is a Trojan Horse candidate intended to place a prominent Erdogan supporter in a position of power.

    Over his eight years in the Oval Office, Barack Hussein Obama was an open sympathizer of Muslim causes, and a steadfast friend of the Erdogan government. How is Oz any different, apart from the fact that he hasn’t yet attained power?

    The good doctor has deftly sidestepped questions about the bloodstained historical record of his chosen faith, and the proclivities of the Erdogan government, and on those few occasions when interviewers have been able to pin him down, he has responded in textbook ‘outraged Muslim’ fashion, claiming the mantle of victim-hood even as he refuses to condemn the violence for which his creed is known.

    The Oz candidacy is also a cautionary tale for traditional Americans and supporters of the Republican Party: The so-called Grand Old Party is nearly just as compromised with Islamists and pro-Muslim fifth-columnists as the Democrats are, at least in its upper reaches.

    • What a choice. Illustrates everything wrong with the primary system that the two chosen candidates of the uniparty were a Trojan horse and a reincarnation of Incitatus, only dumber.

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