The Atlantic Council on Tuesday published an analysis from a former Turkish economic official plugging Turkey as an attractive place for American companies to relocate—but did not disclose that the author was a foreign government official until December 2019.
The piece, by Necmettin Kaymaz, a Washington, D.C.-based official who was until late last year a senior official at Turkey's Investment Office, argues that Turkey's low-cost labor, among other things, makes it an attractive location for American companies. "Turkey’s positive attributes make it an attractive alternative for multinational companies looking to diversify their supply chains," Kaymaz writes.
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Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan established the Investment Office in 2018 to promote foreign investment in Turkey, and the office characterizes itself as the "official organization for promoting Turkey's investment opportunities to the global business community."
The Atlantic Council identified Kaymaz as an "international investment adviser with over twelve years of experience" rather than as a former Turkish government official who was until seven months ago paid to promote Turkey as a desirable location to do business.
A spokesman for the Atlantic Council said that it would make "an immediate correction to the byline" to note that Kaymaz is a former Turkish government official.
The incident is indicative of the foothold that an array of foreign governments have established in American think tanks. Those governments bankroll think tanks across Washington, D.C., and use them to burnish their reputations by underwriting programming and, in some cases, passing off Turkish propaganda as independent scholarship.
At the Atlantic Council, which is bankrolled by two Turkish conglomerates with close relationships to the Erdogan government, Turkish officials have succeeded in removing from events panelists they perceive as hostile to the Erdogan government, the Washington Free Beacon reported. The organization hosted an event in April featuring Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, whom Atlantic Council president Fred Kempe lauded as "an intellectual force."