Biden’s Ethnic Engagement Director Has Ties to Pro-Erdogan Group

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Elvir Clempic, for executive director of Turkish Heritage Organization is now Biden's National Ethnic Outreach Director

Elvir Klempic, for executive director of Turkish Heritage Organization is now Biden’s National Ethnic Engagement Director

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The campaign of Joseph Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has appointed Elvir Klempic, the former executive director of the Turkish Heritage Organization (THO), as National Affinity and Ethnic Engagement Director.

Klempic, who immigrated to the United States with his family from Bosnia, settling in Iowa, has been active in Democratic circles for several years now. However, Klempic’s tenure at the THO, which has close ties not only to the Turkish government, but also to the inner circle of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should raise red flags, especially since he is tasked with engaging the various ethnic communities—presumably also the Armenian community—around the U.S. in Biden’s bid for the presidency.

THO was established in 2014 and registered as a 501 c-3 U.S. tax exempt organization, which by law cannot engage in political activity. Leaked emails published by Wikileaks in late 2017 show that the organization was created, with the involvement of Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, who at the time was Turkey’s energy minister (currently finance minister) as a way to “camouflage” Turkey’s lobbying activities in the U.S.

In the emails, the THO’s former president Halil Danismaz details a “roadmap” to “circumvent tax and other impediments in the laws” by hiring journalists who could get access to “American political and bureaucratic circles,” including members of Congress. These journalists would then get paid to write and publish articles in American newspapers and news sites essentially advocating for Erdogan’s agenda and developing opinion in legislative circles.

As the executive director of THO, Klempic advanced the the organization’s agenda by appearing as a polished “American” spokesperson for Erdogan’s priorities on various news interviews and appearances.

Danismaz, who before becoming THO president was a board member of the Turkish American National Steering Committee, was questioned by the FBI along with other Turks operating in the U.S. over their operations in the U.S. and ties to the Turkish government.

He unceremoniously left THO and was replaced by Ali Cinar, who has actively and vocally worked against so-called “Armenian lies.” During an event in 2015, Cinar said “Armenian Genocide allegations are both racist and dishonest.”

Klempic has essentially pivoted from his role at THO to becoming the Biden campaign’s gatekeeper on ethnic issues, including the long-standing expectation by Armenian-Americans that the President of the United States properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and, once and for all, end Turkey’s gag rule on U.S. policy.

As it stands, Biden’s record of reneging on his campaign promises about Armenian-American concerns while he served as Vice-President hasn’t been forgotten. Moreover, his latest statement on the Armenian Genocide, which failed to mention those that masterminded it, hasn’t endeared Armenian-American voters to take a chance on him in the November election.

With the appointment of Klempic, the Biden campaign seems to signal that Armenian votes do not matter as he is fighting to unseat President Trump.

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14 Comments

  1. Talin1915 said:

    Too bad Trump can’t use this information because he himself is awful when it comes to Turkey and Erdogan.

    By the way, the late Larry Rasky of the Anti-Defamation League and whose PR firm once lobbied for Azerbaijan, was for a long time a well-known Biden confidante and fundraiser.

  2. HAGOP said:

    HAHAHA!!!!! ARMENIAN PEEPLE SAY TRUMP IS BAD! THEY SAY TRUMP IS AGAINST ARMENIANS!! NOW LOOK AT BIDEN!!!! SAME SHIT!!!!! NOBODY CARES ABOUT ARMENIAN PEEPLE!!!! OBAMA, HILLARY, SAMANTHA POWERS….ALL IN POWER AT SAME TIME AND DID NOTHING!!!!!! ARMENIA CAN NOT RELY ON ANY PERSON OR GOVERNMENT!!!! ONLY CAN RELY ON ITSELF!!!!!! ARMENIA NEED TO MAKE MONEY AND SPEND ON TECHNOLOGY, MILITARY, MAKE POPULATION INCREASE, MAKE JOBS, STRONG EDUCATION, BUILD ROADS, LAUNCH SATELITES………ARMENIA MUST MAKE STRONG!!!!!

  3. Zohrab Dishakjian said:

    As a matter of fact, Biden has never been close to Armenian Americans. During the celebration of Armenian Genocide, they asked him to say few words, he declined unashamedly……..

    • Perouz Seferian said:

      Zohrab, please do not say “celebration of Armenian Genocide” ever again. Instead, please always say remembrance or commemoration of Armenian Genocide.
      We do not celebrate. We will always gather and remember the murder of our almost 2 million ancestors, the children left without parents, the theft of our land, homes and businesses.

  4. Barséghian Ardachèce said:

    I understand my political naivete in the face of the beautiful words of the candidates at the U.S. Presidential and I am grateful to you to enlighten us through your serious, professional investigations. At least we are dupes, serious, knowingly, but my anger against these state lies are a tradition with all politicians of all countries, see also in France while citizens of Armenian origin have shown their loyalty by blood pours and the toil we see as in the USA crypto representing the Fascist State Turk infiltrate into the inner workings of our countries , importing the voice of an imperial, tyrannical Erdoran, while these individuals are known to the Parties of the State and close their eyes and ears out of pure political interest, in the short term, because these individuals have never shown any trace of service to countries other than to profit from the economy and social. These individuals speak in broad daylight about the undercover policies dictated by their country of origin based on repression, tyranny, permanent genocidary negation against its minorities, the negation of international public law, violating the rights of peoples, interfering in foreign politics by Ottoman expansion will. So there is a nice intellectual, political resistance from our communities but what are the answers of the parties of our adopted countries? These states maintain the best relations with the representatives of these autocratic, bloodthirsty regimes, provided their interests are saved. We pay the costs of these lachetes since 1890 massacre Adana, 1915 genocide, 1920 deals Sevres having the force of law, today followed by the betrayal of the conference of Lausanne 1923 where the Armenian Nation was delivered to the Turkish yatagan, and today these vicious political infiltrations perfectly known of the Democratic Parties, Republicain … US, EU, Russia, NATO …

  5. Paul said:

    Biden is much worse than Trump, imo. It’s a shame how the only two political parties in a country as large as the USA can’t find a decent candidate. Should I vote “None of the above”, or go “Trump 2020″? It doesn’t matter for us, does it?
    However…
    1. The House voted for the Genocide (coincidentally, the president happened to be Republican)
    2. The Senate voted for the Genocide (interestingly, the Republican-controlled Senate voted unanimously vs the House that had a few people voting “no” or “present”, and the president, again, happened to be Republican)
    3. Who is the only president in our post-WW2 history who uttered the G-word for us? True, he took it back, but still, what was his party? Correct, Republican, that was Ronald Reagan.
    So after Obama and Hillary used all of our trust by overpromising to pick-pocket the votes in such a cheap way, I switched camps. Do not “democrat” me anymore, please.

  6. Veronica Sagherian said:

    Thank you Ara and Asbarez for bringing this to our attention. Knowledge is power.

  7. Talin1915 said:

    An effort must be made NOW to tell Biden that we do not accept his Turkish connections.

    Does this mean that we accept Trump’s many Turkish connections? No.

    We oppose ALL such connections by any candidate.

    How do we get in touch with Biden or the DNC?

  8. Hagop said:

    This kind of stuff happens all the time. But I’m not throwing away a chance to get rid of the worse man alive as president- Trump – because of this. Instead, I’m writing to the Biden campaign to ask that they reconsider this decision. You have the power to write to the Biden campaign as well and make your voice heard.

  9. Barkev Kaligian said:

    Ara,, I just read your article about Elvir Klempic. Since he was born in Bosnia,he’s a Turk even if by blood, he may be more Serb or Croat than Turk, if he’s a BosnianMolslem,he’s a Turk At this point, I’m leaving the Democratic Party since they did nothing to get rid of Trump,However, I’ll still votr for Biden, since on the domestic stage, the Democratic
    party is still much better than the Republican. Any good Republican has left the Republican Party. Trump is an sbsolute menace not just to this country but to the world. Sadgelic shoon eh.Just remember that as bad as Biden may be because he’s a jackass. Trump has a love affair with Erdogan, he idolizez him.. Sine I’ve got no use for e-mail, I don’t trust it, let me know if you grt this massage.Also give me your mailing address and you telephone number. Barkev

  10. Alain said:

    Turkey s diplomacy is really interesting. It has courted just about every top leader and messing with over half a dozen neighbors close and far.
    OUR FAMOUS U.S.SENATE THREATENED OUR SO CALLED ALIE TURKEY IF IT PURCHASED RUSSIAN MILITARY HARDWARE THEY WOULD BE PUNISHED.SEVERELY.
    ANY DAY NOW !!!!

  11. Greg said:

    Tell, not ask Biden remember what your father told you,” silence is complicity”. Recognize the Armenian Genocide

  12. mardo anastasian said:

    After 105 years of genocide. we still continue to rely on politicians to recognize the Armenian Genocide. We have to understand that due to the political situation in the world, this will never happen. The objective of the genocide was to eliminate the Armenian nation. It is time to realize that we must build our own future. The must powerful weapon for our survival of the Armenian diaspora is the Armenian school.
    What will be achieved if the Armenian Genocide is recognized by the U.S. government without any Armenians left? A good example to follow is the history of Jewish people. They survived thousands of years without their own country. The reason for that they taught their future generations Jewish identity and devotion to biblical Israel.
    My suggestion is that we have to work together to open Armenian schools. the fastest initial approach is to introduce in Sunday Schools Armenian education (language and history) along with Christian education. Unless we do this, there will be no future for the Diaspora.

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