Dr. Oz Says He Will Forego Security Clearances to Keep Dual Turkish Citizenship

Mehmet Oz, the TV celebrity and heart surgeon who is running for the Republican nomination
AP Photo/Marc Levy

Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, told reporters he would forego specific security clearances provided to U.S. Senators in order to maintain his dual citizenship with Turkey.

Oz reportedly said he would choose his Turkish citizenship over receiving certain security clearances. “I can love my country and love my mom,” Oz’s said, whose mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Politics PA reported:

When asked about his dual citizenship with the United States and Turkey, Oz explained that he keeps his Turkish citizenship to care for his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. When queried what he would do if this would disqualify him from security clearances, Oz stated that he would forego them in this situation, noting “I can love my country and love my mom.”

His parents were born in Turkey and under Turkish nationality law, children born to a Turkish mother or a Turkish father are Turkish citizens from birth. Oz served in the Turkish military to maintain dual citizenship.

Although federal law does not prevent dual nationals from serving in Congress, pundits have raised concerns over Oz’s willingness to maintain dual citizenship.

“Oz’s dual citizenship – and his reluctance to renounce Turkish citizenship – will keep the FBI and security managers up at night,” said American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin.

Council of Foreign Relations senior fellow Steve Cook had this to say:

Is he really an agent of the government? There’s not really any evidence of that. But if Oz has business connections that rely on being in the good graces of the government, there are legitimate questions about his views on these issues.

Oz spoke about his desire to maintain Turkish citizenship on the same day reports revealed he is in talks to return to television if his Senate candidacy is unsuccessful. “No one wants to admit defeat, but he isn’t a stupid man. He knows his campaign is on life support. Like any good doctor, he is already looking for alternatives to keep his career alive if he doesn’t win,” a source said.

With the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary scheduled for May 17, Oz has a lot of ground to make up if he wants to win the Republican nomination. A recent poll found Oz trailing Republican candidate David McCormick by nine points.


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