Abdullah Gul or Oz Bengur?

Cemil Ozyurt
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The vote of 600 thousand Turks in Germany in the last elections has been a serious determining factor for the race between Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schröder. Had the Turkish voters not have supported Schröder, the outcome could have been different for Merkel, who won the race by a narrow margin.
In Germany, 26 Turkish candidates ran in the elections and 5 of them were elected. The number of Turkish candidates we see in elections in the USA is still not comparable to the number who run in Germany.

Mr. Oz (Osman) Bengür from Samsun, whose grandfather immigrated to the US in 1919, is the most widely recognized Turkish candidate. His name is synonymous with politics and he has experience in governing. He was the special assistant to Joseph Brennan, Governor of Maine, from 1979-1981. He was elected as a delegate from Maine to the Democratic National Committee in 1983.

Bengur has accelerated his pace in order to become a part of the House of Representatives as a Congressman from Maryland’s 3rd district, in the elections in 2006. He is working on securing 10 thousand dollars in support per week up until the election date.

Bengur, who needs to best 4 other Democratic candidates in the primaries, is sure of himself. He says that the other candidates do not have comparable political or public experience.

This is a good opportunity for those that talk about lobbying all the time. For those tired of searching for a Turk-friendly congressman, Oz Bengur is a sure fit. He is not just Turk-friendly, he is a downright Turk. But unfortunately, there are some misgivings about this also. Such as...

For example, I attended two meetings last month that were scheduled for the same day; one for the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul, who was visiting New York for the UN meeting and the other one for Oz Bengur. There is nothing wrong with Turkish people living in the US showing interest in Minister Gül, as he is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. There were more than 80 people that were willing to pay 150 dollars in order to listen to the Minister for 10 minutes and to have a nice lunch.

The same evening, the number of businessmen that attended a fund-raiser organized by Mustafa Merc at Dervish Restaurant for Oz Bengur was only twenty, including the journalists. (The attendees nevertheless proved once again that quality is more important than quantity by making a $10,000 contribution.)

The Turkish people living in the US should focus more on supporting the politicians to whom they will trust the future of their children rather than focusing on getting pictures with Turkish politicians that will decorate the walls in their rooms. They should stop handing out business cards and demanding “Dear Minister, do you remember me?’ and instead should focus more on supporting the candidates that share their same roots.

Bengur also deserves the same attention that politicians who come to the US at least 3 times a year in order to make the same speeches get. Jak Karako, who was a candidate for the second time for the New York City Council, but failed in being elected due to lack of support, is another example.

Tomorrow, when you are looking to get a picture taken with Bengur, it might be too late! Remember the saying, ‘Keep your shop and your shop will keep you.’

(August 2005, 18th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07