Pensylvania Senate candidate accused of violating foreign agent law with work for Turkish Airlines

An advocacy group is urging the Justice Department to investigate Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz for doing work for Turkish Airlines without registering as a foreign agent — but Oz says he just made a couple of videos, the New York Post reports.

The celebrity doctor is featured in promotional videos shown to passengers of the airline, which is 49.12 percent owned by the Turkish government, according to a 2015 FARA filing by public relations firm Golin/Harris.

“Dr. Oz clearly serves as a foreign agent on behalf of the foreign principal Turkish Airlines,” Armenian National Committee of America executive director Aram Hamparian wrote in a letter Tuesday demanding that assistant attorney general Matthew Olsen launch an inquiry.

“These campaigns constituted informational materials disseminated in interstate commerce by the foreign agent on behalf of the foreign principal but did not include the conspicuous statement labeling them accordingly as is required by the statute,” Hamparian wrote.

A former Justice Department official who oversaw enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act told The Post that the charge may have merit.

In 2017, Oz “collaborated with Turkish Airlines on its ‘Fly Good Feel Good’ project, which was designed to provide an even more comfortable and healthy travel experience to its passengers’,” Hamparian wrote. “More recently, Dr. Oz appeared in an advertising campaign for Turkish Airlines including in a four-minute informational video offering a medical seal of approval to the airline’s COVID-19 safety procedures.”

The letter argues that Oz may be eligible for up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hamparian told The Post that the Justice Department must act to protect “our nation’s national security interests,” but a person close to Oz said he served as a celebrity spokesman and nothing more.

“Like many other well-known people, Dr. Oz was in promotional videos for the airline,” Oz campaign communications director Brittany Yanick added in a statement.

“Other spokespeople for Turkish Airlines included Morgan Freeman and Ben Affleck. Like Dr. Oz, they were not required to register under FARA,” she said. 

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