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Mike Pompeo Raises Fears About Dual Citizen Dr. Oz Serving In U.S. Senate

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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed national security concerns on Friday about Donald Trump-endorsed candidate and TV celebrity Mehmet Oz serving within the U.S. Senate after Oz’s campaign confirmed Wednesday he’d voted within the last Turkish presidential election.

The guts surgeon, widely often called the host of the daytime “Dr. Oz Show,” was born in Ohio to Turkish immigrant parents and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Turkey. He claimed in February that he had never been politically involved in Turkey “in any capability,” and has said he would resign his Turkish citizenship if he wins office.

Nonetheless, Oz’s campaign spokesperson Brittany Yanick confirmed to ABC News on Wednesday that Oz had, in actual fact, voted in Turkey’s 2018 election. She denied that it constituted “political involvement,” and said he had voted for the opposition candidate who lost to President Recep Tayyep Erdogan.

Pompeo, who has endorsed Oz’s GOP primary rival Dave McCormick, said on a conference call on Friday that McCormick hosted with reporters: “We criticize American candidates on a regular basis because they didn’t vote. That is different from that. … he engaged within the Turkish political process. That raises in my mind lots of judgments about his priority.”

“The people of Pennsylvania and the Americans [Oz] can be representing [in the] Senate, voting on necessary national security matters, need to know the scope and depth of his relationship with the Turkish government,” Pompeo said on the decision.

For a civilian, voting abroad’s election would set off a “giant, flashing red light” for security concerns, Kel McClanahan, the chief director of the nonprofit public interest law firm National Security Counselors, told ABC.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Oz, a longtime Latest Jersey resident, had used his in-laws’ address in Pennsylvania to register to vote within the state in 2020, but Oz’s campaign representative insisted he’d moved to Pennsylvania. Politico reports that Oz voted in Latest Jersey as recently as 2020.

Oz has said he’s retained his Turkish citizenship to look after his sick mother. He served within the Turkish military for 60 days within the Nineteen Eighties, owns property in Turkey and won a lucrative endorsement contract with Turkish Airlines, which has close ties to Erdogan, in response to ABC. Turkey’s authoritarian leader has increasingly develop into more closely aligned with Russia and Russian interests.

“Any single certainly one of those could be enough to torpedo a [security] clearance,” McClanahan said.

Oz’s campaign called McCormick’s attacks on Oz “pathetic and xenophobic,” but didn’t mention Pompeo.

If Oz wins the Senate seat and renounces his dual citizenship, he could be following within the footsteps of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who was a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen until formally renouncing his Canadian citizenship in 2014.

Trump is appearing at a Pennsylvania rally for Oz on Friday. The state’s primary is May 17.

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