Let us put aside the matter of whether cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Oz promoted questionable medical products and information on his television show, or his ideology in the context of American politics for a moment. For Armenian Americans, his potential ascent to the US Senate in Pennsylvania may set back the effects of US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and even US policy towards Armenia. He is in a very tight race in the Republican primary, which appears set for a recount. If he wins the primary, he may again face a close race against his Democratic rival John Fetterman, giving Armenians a chance to have a significant impact on this race.
Oz has never acknowledged the facts of the Armenian Genocide and till the present has avoided using the word genocide in reference to this tragedy. His campaign officials follow his lead. Most recently, when asked about his position on this topic in April, his spokesperson Brittany Yanick merely declared that he opposed genocide and the murder of innocent people in general, and concluded: “The evils of World War I should be commemorated. Dr. Oz looks forward to those important discussions, as well as helping the three million people of Armenia today.”
The Mirror-Spectator contacted the Oz campaign via email for further clarification but received no answer.
In addition to his evasion of a clear position on the Armenian Genocide, Dr. Oz’s ties with the Republic of Turkey provide addition grounds for concern. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, admittedly campaigning in favor of David McCormick, Oz’s opponent in the Pennsylvania Republican primary, declared that Oz’s candidacy presents “national security concerns.”
At the most basic level, although born in the United States, Oz retains Turkish citizenship as well as American. He carried out military service in the Turkish army for two months in the early 1980s while in medical school — the same army that has supported Azerbaijan in attacking Armenia and Artsakh and has engaged in countless campaigns against Kurds both in and outside Turkey. No US senator has ever kept dual citizenship, which can raise questions about political allegiances.
Oz even voted in a 2018 Turkish election. In early May, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo observed that Oz had “time and energy to vote in a Turkish election but not in an American election” [a June 2018 Republican primary].