Pro-Erdoğan organization in US withdraws from declaration in support of Israel

Known for its staunch support of the ruling AKP government, the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) has withdrawn from a declaration that it co-signed with the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC). Dubbed a "treason to the Palestinian cause" by Ankara only a year ago, the Abraham Accords signed between the UAE and Israel last year was listed as a cause to be supported in the joint declaration.

Duvar English

The Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), known for its close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government, announced on Sept. 23 that it withdrew from a joint declaration signed with the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC). The organization cited "a lack of proper consensus" as the reason. 

The announcement came only four days after the declaration was signed in which the two groups opposed the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement led by Palestinians, wanted enhanced trade between Turkey and Israel, and supported initiatives such as the Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreement, officially known as the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement, the daily Karar reported on Sept. 24. 

Metin Gürcan, a founding member of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), had shared on his Twitter account a copy of the declaration as well as a picture showing Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran holding the document.

Gürcan had pointed out that articles listed in the joint declaration were in direct contrast to the AKP's rhetoric as the Abraham Accords were dubbed a "treason to the Palestinian cause" by Ankara only a year ago. 

Sharing a copy of the Turkish Foreign Ministry's reaction to the Abraham Accords from a year ago, Gürcan tweeted: "Foreign politics means consistency, stability and predictability. If you made this announcement [a year ago], why are you then signing this agreement [with the OJC]? Or if you were going to sign this agreement in one year, then why did you [Turkish Foreign Ministry] make this statement?"

Shortly after its announcement of withdrawal from the joint declaration with the OJC, the TASC issued another statement, apologizing to Kıran and the public for "any misunderstanding" that may have emerged as a result of the deputy foreign minister's posing with the declaration. 

"We failed to fulfill our responsibility to inform Deputy Minister Kıran about the content of this civil society initiative beforehand. It was also our bad judgment to hold the declaration up in this photo," said the TASC. 

One of TASC’s co-chairs, Halil Mutlu, is President Erdoğan’s cousin. 

TASC is also the organization behind the mysterious saga of large billboards that popped up displaying the message "Love Erdoğan" earlier this year in New York.