Dr. Öz increasingly under fire over Turkey ties in Pennsylvania’s Senate race

Dr. Mehmet Öz, a Republican candidate for the United States Senate seat in Pennsylvania in 2022, is being increasingly attacked by his rivals over his connections to his native country of Turkey, with red flags being raised over a possible national security issue.

Criticism of Öz, who would be the U.S.' first Muslim senator if elected, has gained momentum after ​won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, a popular figure for conservative voters, the Associated Press said.

The 61-year-old Turkish-American surgeon, educator, author, and television personality, earlier this year said that he would renounce his Turkish citizenship if elected, noting that his dual citizenship had become "a distraction in this campaign," CNN reported.

Öz was born in the United States, but holds Turkish citizenship and has served in the Turkish military. The popular doctor that is household name in the United States also voted in Turkey’s 2018 election.

Mike Pompeo, Trump’s former secretary of state and CIA director on Friday said that Öz owes an explanation about the “scope and the depth of his relationship with the Turkish government,” AP reported.

Americans should know if Öz is “fit for duty," according to Pompeo, who has endorsed Öz’s rival, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick.

McCormick has accused Öz of unnecessarily holding dual citizenship in Turkey has compared Oz's service in the Turkish military with his own service in the U.S. Army, AP reported.

Rival Carla Sands has suggested Öz has dual loyalties, calling him “Turkey First,” in an apparent reference to Trump’s “America First” governing philosophy, it said.

Meanwhile, Trump on Friday said McCormick was a “candidate of special interests and globalists and the Washington establishment” spending millions of dollars to defeat Öz and “ripping off the United States with bad trade deals and open borders,” AP said.

Öz has gone on record to say that he served in Turkey's military to maintain his dual citizenship and that he has kept his citizenship to retain legal power in Turkey to make health care decisions for his ill mother.

Öz also says he voted in Turkey's 2018 election, against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when he was at the consulate in New York for meetings about his humanitarian work on behalf of Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The Pennsylvania primary is set to take place on May 17.

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