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5th Annual TOA Awards to Honor The Year's Best

TURKOFAMERICA Magazine, which has been awarding successful people of the United States in different categories since 2014, honors the year’s successful people in different field from diplomacy to business, academy to entrepreneurship.

5th TOA Outstanding Achievement Awards (Outstanding Achievement Awards, Heritage + Diversity + Legacy + Business) ceremony presented by TOA Consulting and U.S. Chamber of Commerce is held at U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s historic building in Washington DC on November 15, 2019. The award ceremony has showcased the artworks of three artists.

This year’s award winners are among 12 different names such as Ryan Zinke, former United States Secretary of the Interior; Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States; Ümran Beba, Pepsico Inc Chief Global Diversity Engagement & Talent Officer; Murat Özgener, CEO of Oz Arts Nashville, one of Nashville's most popular contemporary art centers; Kemal Erkan, known for his work in the field of electronic medical record and one of the founders of the largest private health network system in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region; Dr. Gökhan Gündoğdu, Senior Advisor to Executive President to Atlantic Council and Chairman Gundogdu Foundation; James Hughes, President and CEO of Unity Bank; businessman İzzet Pinto, founder of Global Agency, which exports the most films and TV series from Turkey to the world; G. Lincoln McCurdy, President of Turkish Coalition of America; Mehmet Mustafaoğlu, Founder and CEO of Los Angeles based  private equity firm, Trans Global Financial Corp and first recipient of Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and businessman Mustafa Tuncer, known for his companies in the natural stone, media and retail sectors in the United States. Özer Güler, Turkish Airlines General Manager of Washington, DC also were awarded with a special thanks award plaque.

“We will continue to expand the categories”
Demet Cabbar, Sevil Altinsoy and Ali Gunertem have also awarded as Friends of TURKOFAMERICA for their contribution and support the magazine since 2002. The awards were determined by the TURKOFAMERICA selection committee and presented to the jury members. Last year’s award ceremony was held at the Harvard Club in New York. Thirty Americans who are Friends of Turkey had been awarded at the ceremony.

TURKOFAMERICA Magazine Co-Founder and Editor in Chief, Cemil Özyurt stated that for the first time this year they would present awards to Turkish-Americans as well as American people and other ethnic groups contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of the United States. Özyurt who pointed out the difficulty of doing such activity at a time when relations between the two countries were very tense, said: “Strained relations between the two countries should not keep us from such activities. Our purpose was to open this traditional award ceremony to different ethnic groups and Americans. This year, besides Turkish-Americans in different fields, we have included successful names that contribute to America. We will continue our way by expanding the categories next year.”

Jimmy Cuneyt Gürkan, TOA Consulting Partner stated that the artworks of Hulis Mavruk, Tony Şeker and Esin Kösoğlu have exhibited before and during the award ceremony, and a portion of the proceeds would be donated to a non-profit institution. Gürkan emphasized that they would hold the award ceremony for the first time this year in a city other than New York, and remarked that they wanted to reach different audiences by spreading the awards ceremonies throughout the United States.

Turkish Airlines is the main sponsor of the award ceremony. United Medical, Natural Source Group, Vintage Food and Sarar also supports the event. About 150 people are expected to attend the award ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. To see event photos click here 

ABOUT TURKOFAMERICA MAGAZINE
TURKOFAMERICA is founded by two college friends from journalism school in Istanbul and they came to United States to pursue their master's degree on June 19th, 2001. The young entrepreneurs started to publish TURKOFAMERICA on August 2002. The magazine is the first Turkish-American nationwide business magazine and its mission is to report news about the Turkish-American business community in the U.S. The magazine's content includes primarily the lives of Turkish people in the U.S. and their social, cultural and economic activities as well as the activities of Americans who are related in any way with Turkey or the Turkish community.

ABOUT TOA CONSULTING
TOA Consulting is a management consulting firm that helps overseas companies to reach their full potential is U.S. TOA helps global companies with business contulting, corporate event organization, trade shows, conferences, summits, corporate travel arrangements for trade delegations, international business matchmaking, B2B networkind events.

 

Ryan Zinke, Former U.S. Interior Secretary receives his award from Kimmy Cunyet Gurkan, TOA Consulting partner. 

 

Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States receives his award from Cemil Ozyurt, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TurkofAmerica Magazine. 

 

Umran Beba, Senior Vice President of Pepsi Co. receives her award from Deputy Ambassador of Turkish Republic to Washington DC. 

 

Izzet Pinto, Founder of Global Agency receives his award from Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. 

 

Janice Bolomey, Director of Sales and Chief Admin Officer, Executive Vice President of Unity Bank. She recieves her awared on behalf of James Hughes, President/CEO of Unity Bank from Lola Zinke. 
 
 
 
 
Mustafa Tuncer, founder of Troy Granite and owner of Forum USA newspaper, recieves his award from Lala Abdurahimova Suleymanov. 
 
 
 
 
Lincoln G. Mc Curdy, President of Turkish Coalition of America recieves his award from Derya Taskin. 
 
 
 
 
Aylin Ozgener of Oz Arts Nashville recieves her award from Tony Seker, Turkish-American artist.
 
 
 
 
Dr. Gokhan Gundogdu, Senior Advisor to Executive President to Atlantic Council and Chairman Gundogdu Foundation recieves his award from Savannah Lane of Turkish Heritage Organization. 
 
 
 
 
Businessman Kemal Erkan, founder and CEO of United Medical of Deleware, recieves his award from Ryan Zinke, former U.S. Interior Secretary. 
 
 
 
 
Businessman Mehmet Mustafaoglu recives his award from Loutte Ragusa of Turkish Coalition of America. 
 
 
 
 
Ozer Guler, Turkish Airlines General Manager of Washington, DC receives his award from Ryan Zinke.
 
 
 
 
Friend of TURKOFAMERICA award reciept Demet Cabbar with Fidan Ozyurt.
 
 
 
 
Friend of TURKOFAMERICA award reciept Sevil Altinsoy with Lola Zinke.
 
 
 
 
Friend of TURKOFAMERICA award reciept Ali Gunertem with Cemil Ozyurt. 

Facebook appoints a Turkish Businesswoman as the new Regional Director for Middle East, Africa and Turkey

A successful Turkish businesswoman Derya Matraş has been appointed as Regional Director of Facebook in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

In this role, she will manage Facebook to serve businesses and communities and to grow the company’s economic and social impact across the region.

 “The fast-growing ME, Africa and Turkey region is an important market for Facebook. Derya’s wealth of experience in emerging markets and her pioneering spirit will help us further drive impact and value in this uniquely diverse region, while maintaining our mission of bringing people together and building communities,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Europe, Middle East Africa Vice President.
 
Commenting on her appointment,Derya Matras said: “I am honored to lead this diverse region for Facebook where our goals of building new experiences that meaningfully improve people’s lives and supporting millions of businesses that rely on our services to grow and create jobs, truly come to life. As a woman leader, I am very proud to be appointed to this region where diversity is of crucial importance, and I am looking forward to continuing to drive our significant economic and social value contribution.”

Who is Derya Matras?

Derya Matras, who has been Country Director of Turkey in Facebook since 2015, is leading the Facebook team working to help brands and agencies operating in Turkey to use Facebook, Instagram and other relevant company products in the best way.

Ms. Matraş had a Bachelor of Engineering from Boğaziçi University, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering and an MBA degree from Columbia Business School. She previously worked in international companies, including McKinsey & Company. Prior to joining Facebook, she was Vice President of Dogan Media Group, the largest media conglomerate and She also worked at McKinsey & Company advising private sector and governments around the world, especially on the digital economy. Ms. Matras is married with two children.

Facebook:

Facebook had 2.41 billion monthly active users around the world, as of last year. It is blocked in North Korea and China. There are over 40,000 employees and company's revenue was US$55 billion dollars in 2018. Facebook user number is currently 34 million in Turkey and  In 2022, the number of monthly active Facebook users is projected to reach 37.72 million individuals. 

State Dept. Official Robert Strayer: “Cyberspace is borderless ... therefore, we must have cooperation and coordination.”

There are big discussions and platforms on 5G, which will have increased amounts of throughput of data up to 100 times what many countries currently have in 4G technology.

When we look at some information, we see horrifying impacts on the cyber world. The hacker attacks every 39 seconds, according to The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. Hackers stole a half-billion personal records last year. There is an expectation of spending $6 trillion globally on cybersecurity by 2021.

The Trump Administration forecasts the U.S. wireless industry plans to invest $275 billion in 5G networks, creating 3 million American jobs and adding $500 billion to the U.S. economy.

Since cybersecurity and policy are a very hot topic, there was a timely briefing featuring Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications Policy, Robert Strayer, at the State Department on January 9, 2020. He shared the highlights of 2019 and looked ahead to cybersecurity in 2020.

He stated that there had been tremendous growth from the Internet and connected digital technologies, and has seen an increase in the number of people having access to previously inaccessible information.

He also indicated that the Internet and being connected add trillions of dollars to the global economy every year.

He talked about how cyberspace has significant challenges, especially since the plan is to connect the next three billion people around the world. Also, he emphasized doing more substantial work in enabling cooperation and collaboration among nations in addressing these cyberspace challenges.

Becoming Top Priority: Cybersecurity and Cyber Policy

The State Department is taking cybersecurity and cyber policy seriously. There has been a lot of educational briefings and interaction with many different global actors in the past few years.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer highlighted that “a country should not disrupt another nation’s critical infrastructure that is providing services to the public.”

He also briefly summarized the cyber progress accomplishments in the last year.

-Established a framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, which comprises developing the rules of the road for how countries should interact with one another in cyberspace.

-Had the United Nations endorse a set of 11 voluntary norms of responsible state behavior. With the leadership of the U.S., 26 other countries are responsible for enforcing state behavior in cyberspace. All endorsed the applicability of international law to cyberspace.

-A nation should not attack another nation’s major infrastructure endorsed by the UN.

-Cyber deterrence strategy: The State Department’s goal is to establish a set of consequences that are swift, costly, and transparent.

-Educate and partner with other countries about the importance and the transformational nature of 5G wireless technologies

Trust is the key to 5G.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary emphasized that there should be trust between vendors of this technology and the telecom operators and the governments where that technology would be deployed.

The European Union is an important partner.

The U.S. is working closely with Europe as they work on security measures for 5G. The U.S. welcomed the European Union’s adoption of a risk assessment last October.The European Union has a security toolbox for 5G now that addresses the security risks that they've already assessed to exist.

Worldwide Threat Assessment and 4 Countries

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer has identified four countries that they see as strategic competitors or adversaries in cyberspace; these are China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Their attacks violate norms of responsible state behavior; for example, the NotPetya attack and Iran’s activity on media platforms seeking to influence the U.S. population.

Also, the Iranian government has blocked the Internet, making it unavailable to the public, so the U.S. has sanctioned the Iranian Communications Minister to send the Iranian government a message.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer said that there is no legitimate reason for disabling the Internet when doing so is an effort to interfere with people’s ability to communicate.

Big Threat from China

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer said that the U.S. had shared its concern about the laws in China and, especially, the sharing of data with governments that are not on the rule of law. He added that there is no appeal to an independent judiciary or a rule of law system that can be checked.There are a lot of concerns about Chinese telecom companies such as Huwaei.

$50 Million of Technical Assistance

Last year, the State Department was able to commit to $50 million of technical assistance in the form of cybersecurity capacity-building and cybersecurity training, as well as regulatory and other training assistance for regulators in countries around the world.

The State Department is also looking to expand to Latin America with at least $10 million pending approval from Congress. The State Department initiated similar support to Indo-Asia last year.

US-NATO Partnership

The U.S. continues to work closely with NATO to secure communications capabilities with the ability to engage in joint operations together and to enact troop mobilization.

According to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, “A serious cyberattack could trigger Article 5, where an attack against one ally is treated as an attack against all.” Stoltenberg wrote this in an article that was published in Prospect’s new cyber resilience supplement last year.

NATO also established a new Cyberspace Operations Centre in Mons, Belgium, in order to increase their military commanders’ cyber-situational awareness.

“With so much on the line, it’s urgent that trustworthy companies build these 21st-century information arteries. Specifically, it’s critical that European countries not give control of their critical infrastructure to Chinese tech giants like Huawei or ZTE” – Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Politico Europe, December 2, 2019.

The White House also has a national cybersecurity strategy that was published in 2018 (https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/National-Cyber-Strategy.pdf).

 

10 Takeaways from President Trump's Action Against Iran

I was at the White House during President Trump’s address to the nation last week after the retaliatory attacks by Iran on bases in Iraq housing U.S. soldiers. President Trump explained the reason why the U.S. military killed Soleimani and also shared the details of the new sanctions against Iran.

Let’s look at the takeaways from the President’s action against Iran.

Iran’s Missile Attacks and No Casualties

President Trump said, “There were no Americans harmed by the Iranian regime missiles attack. We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.” He also explained that no American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces, and an early warning system that has worked very well. President Trump saluted the incredible skill and courage of America’s men and women in uniform.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi made a statement that Iran Administration has sent Iraq an official message that missile attacks “had begun or would begin shortly,” on unspecified U.S. military locations. It was believed that the Iraqi government officials gave a warning to the U.S. on “which bases would be targeted” after Iranian officials passed on the information.

U.S. Troops Staying In Iraq

Despite Iraq's Parliament voted U.S. troops out,United States has no plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. State Department Spokesperson, U.S. sees Iraq as a strategic partner not just on security but security, on financial, economic, and diplomatic partnerships. The U.S. wants to be a Friend to a sovereign, prosperous, and stable Iraq. U.S. troops are located at nine different bases and number 5200 soldiers. They, including contractors and subcontractors, remained in Iraq to help local forces contain ISIS and stop Iran’s influence in the region.

The Iraqi Parliament asked the U.S. for a pullout plan. After Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani, the future of the U.S. presence in the Middle East is not bright.

Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Esper made clear statements that U.S. military presence will continue in Iraq.

Is the U.S. ready to embrace peace with all who seek it?

President Trump called to the people and leaders of Iran: “We want you to have a future and a great future—one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home, and harmony with the nations of the world. The U.S. is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”

It was seen as a positive message to reduce tension. At the same time, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations Kelly Craft sent a letter to the UN Security Council, offering to prepare to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran to prevent further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime. 

Global Actors Urged to Pull Out of a Nuclear Agreement

President Trump made a new proposal and stated that the U.S. is “ready for a new and better” nuclear agreement with Iran. He also blamed President Obama for the 2015 Iran deal, which sought to limit Iran’s capability to establish a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of financial sanctions.

President Trump also said: “As long as I am President of the U.S., Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” He added: “Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. The time has come for the UK, Germany, France, Russia, and China to recognize this reality.”

NATO’s Presence in the Middle East

President Trump asked NATO Secretary-General about giving more contributions in Iraq. He also suggested that NATO establish a NATO-ME (Middle East) Unit in the region. 

A small NATO training division in Iraq suspended its activities during Iran’s missile attack. Secretary-General has also condemned the Iranian missile attacks on the U.S. and the coalition forces in Iraq. NATO called on Iran to refrain from further violence.

The Secretary-General will be meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, Mr. Abdul Karim Hashim Aboualgus, at the NATO Headquarters on January 14th.

The U.S. introduced new sanctions on Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced new sanctions on Iran's metal exports and eight senior Iranian officials at the exclusive White House Press Briefing.

Trump Administration is evident in the continuation of sanctions against Iran. "Today's sanctions are part of our commitment to stop the Iranian regime's global terrorist activities," said Secretary Pompeo.

Unexpected Demonstrations in Iran

Protests and teargas as public anger grow over Ukranian aircraft downing. Iran is facing a new crisis over the Iranian military's shooting down of a commercial airliner with 176 people on board.

Thousands of Iranians chanted during demonstrations against President Rouhani and Ali Khamenei in protest against unemployment, poverty, and the high cost of living in the past months.

Ukranian Plane Crash in Iran

Iranian ballistic missiles shot down the Ukranian plane after Iran launched strikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. First, Iranian officials have rejected allegations that they tried to orchestrate a cover-up; however, Iran has admitted it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, blaming human error and the U.S.

There are also questions as to why Iran let a commercial flight take off during the airstrikes.

Two official statements came from Canada and Ukraine. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “We will not rest until there are justice and accountability,” and Ukraine President called for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

War Powers Resolution-Democrats

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to limit Trump’s military action against Iran without Congressional approval and rebuked the president over his use of military power in the Middle East.

The vote was 224-194, and 8 Democrats voted against the resolution.Senator Tim Kaine proposed a similar resolution that is expected to be discussed this week.

Pompeo and Cavusoglu speak during the tensions.

Secretary Pompeo has spoken with his Turkish counterpart a few times during the about the tensions between the U.S. and Turkey. Turkish officials emphasized the need to work with other countries to solve the problem or de-escalate tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

President Erdogan also shared his concerns about the crisis and highlighted, “Nobody has the right to throw the entire region, especially in Iraq, into a ring of fire for the sake of his or her interests.”

As a result, the United States and Iran crisis has calmed down; however, many things won't be the same as how they were before.

Trump administration will continue pressure on Iran with the military presence in Iraq and Syria as well as economic sanctions. The question is how and till when Iran will resist the significant demand from U.S. and NATO Allies. 

Iran's reputation is getting worse after shooting down the commercial plane, killing 176 innocent people.

There is one reality that Iranian General Soleimani was a terrorist and responsible for killing U.S. troops and innocent people in Syria. Soleimani was reportedly by Turkish and many ethnic media outlets that he was a point person for Iran's backing of Syrian President Assad and helped shape the Syrian military strategies in a terrible civil war that began with pro-democracy protests in 2011.

Although Democrats remain unconvinced, Soleimani threat was imminent, even many Syrian and Turkish people believe that he was a significant threat to the region.

2020 is a presidential election year; however, the foreign policy should be a significant focus for Trump administration this year.

Let's see how the future will look with NATO's further involvement in Iraq.

EUROPE HAS TO DO A BETTER JOB ON FIGHTING AGAINST TERRORISM

Terrorism remains an international problem that directly affects citizens everywhere, however Turkey has been unfairly bearing the brunt of responsibility and criticism and requires combined effort from other countries to help combat this issue.

London Bridge stabbing attack suspect Usman Khan was released last year after a terrorism conviction. He killed several people before being shot dead by officers responding to the attack in the center of the British capital.

European states estimate that as many as 6,000 of their citizens have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS. About a third were killed, while another third remains detained in the region or traveled elsewhere.

There are some 1,200 foreign ISIS/Daesh members being held in Turkish prisons, and nearly 300 were captured during Turkey’s current anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

According to Turkish judicial sources, over 70,000 people have been banned entry to Turkey and over 7,000 linked to terrorist groups or fugitives have been deported.

Europe has not taken severe enough measures to prevent their citizens from joining ISIS and has failed to share useful intel information about these foreign fighters. If an ISIS terrorist comes from London to Turkey and holds a British passport, what do you expect Turkey to do to prevent crossing of the Syrian border other than to send the terrorist back? Europe would rather simply be rid of radicalized people than directly deal with the issue. On top of this, many European countries have accused Turkey of allowing terrorists to enter Syria.

For instance, in the aftermath of the Daesh terror attack in Brussels in 2016, Turkey had alerted Belgian authorities of the threat, but they ignored the intel information. Belgium failed to heed the warning about Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the suicide bombers who was deported from Turkey not just once, but twice, in 2015.

European countries have failed to cooperate with Turkey regarding the foreign fighters. Now, many of them are preparing to revoke the citizenships of ISIS members who came from Europe and were later arrested, implying that Turkey should mind its own business.

Turkey began sending ISIS fighters back to Europe last week, however, some European countries are moving very slowly on this issue. Even President Donald Trump said that the European nations have been a “tremendous disappointment” for refusing to take back captured Islamic State fighters currently being held in Syria, and he added that U.S. taxpayers will not pay to look after other countries’ ISIS fighters.

As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated, “In the fight against ISIL [Daesh], Turkey has made crucial contributions for physically destroying the so-called caliphate. Furthermore: No other ally is hosting so many Syrian refugees, 3.6 million in total. And no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey.”

ISIS has attacked Turkey 14 times and killed over 300 people. So, the question is which country has suffered the most?

Turkish Armed Forces neutralized over 3,000 Daesh terrorists and enabled 320,000 Syrians to return to their homes with the Operation Euphrates Shield launched in August 2016. Turkey is an active member of the Global Coalition Against Daesh and co-chair of the Counter Daesh Coalition Working Group on Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The most recent meeting was held in Ankara on May 7, 2019.

Some European countries are part of the Global Coalition, but only on paper. Many of them have not fought against ISIS in Syria. Furthermore, many European countries have failed to embrace refugees and now create new problems by refusing to take back terrorists who came from their own soil.

This is not a productive way to counter terrorism and foster a stable global community. Today, international cooperation with Turkey is more crucial than ever. EU countries must take responsibility for their own citizens who should be charged with terrorism in their homelands if we want to get any closer to collective peace.

President Trump Vows Sanctions on Iraq

The hundreds of Iraqis attacking the U.S. embassy in Baghdad were not innocent "protesters," They were mainly members of the Iran-backed militias that, not least at the behest of the IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by U.S. strike.

U.S.-Iran tensions have manifested themselves on Iraqi land for at least three years, and the United States and Iran are on heightened alert after a weekend of military action and fiery rhetoric. President Trump finished his Florida visit last night. During a flight from Florida to Washington, DC on Air Force One, President Trump talked about the increasing tensions with Iran. "They're allowed to kill our people, they're allowed to torture and maim our people, they're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we're not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn't work that way," President Trump stated.  

President Trump threatened Iraq with the sanctions and a bill for billions of dollars if the U.S. is forced to withdraw its troops from the nation after the Iraqi Parliament. "If they do ask us to leave if we don't do it on an amicable basis. We will charge them sanctions as they've never seen before ever," President Trump said. Last night, there were strikes in the capital of Iraq, in which three rockets landed inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, US Embassy in Baghdad. Pentagon has announced that additional 3,500 troops are in progress to be sent to the region/U.S. have almost 60,000 troops in the Middle East. United States has 9 Military bases with 5200 US Troops. 

Recent Tweets from President Trump on Iran:

"Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serves as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!"

"They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!"

"The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!"

Secretary Pompeo's Media Appearances and Diplomatic Efforts:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has appeared on many major TV outlets since Saturday. "We have developed a strategy to attempt to convince the Iranian regime to behave like a normal nation. We expect to achieve that goal. We will defend America." Secretary Pompeo said on CNN. 

He was asked about the Iraqi Parliament's vote; Secretary Pompeo said on the CBS program "Face the Nation,": "It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region,

Iranian Cultural Site Conflict

President Trump raised the prospect of targeting Iranian heritage/cultural sites Saturday in a tweet; however, many foreign policy experts objected to his tweet regarding targeting Iranian culture. As an example, Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, said President Trump's threat to destroy Iranian cultural sites would be a war crime under U.N. Security Council resolution 2347.

Regarding President Trump's statement attacking Iranian Cultural sites, Secretary Pompeo said that the United States would "behave lawfully" and "behave inside the system." Also, Presidential Adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested that Iran may be hiding strategic military targets at cultural sites

Secretary Pompeo Speaks Turkish Foreign Minister 

Secretary Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu has discussed the decisive defensive action by President Donald Trump employed in Baghdad to protect American lives. Secretary reiterated the importance of countering the Iranian regime's destabilizing activities.

Secretary Pompeo has called his counterparts of Israel. Germany, Russia, China, Italy, France, UAE, and many other senior leaders globally regarding the U.S. recent operation in Baghdad.

Written Statement from Turkish Foreign Ministry:

 "We strongly reiterate that turning Iraq into a conflict zone will harm peace and stability not only in Iraq but also in the entire region. Turkey has always been against foreign interventions, assassinations, and sectarian conflicts in the region."

European Leaders urge Iran to abide by nuclear pact.

French President, German Chancellor, and U.K. Prime Minister release a joint statement "We specifically call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation, and urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the JCPA. Also, NATO and US-led coalition Suspend Training Missions in Iraq After Soleimani's Killing

What to expect this week?

President Trump continues tweeting and speaking on Iran and Iraq. Additionally, Iran officials continue to criticize and threaten the U.S. regarding Soleimani's death. It is unknown what would be Iran's next step on U.S. however U.S. is ready to hit back harder if necessary. Gasoline is already up by about six cents a gallon in response to the escalation. We might see a negative economic impact shortly, globally. Iran could disrupt shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, which is the world's biggest oil chokepoint. There are about 21 million barrels of oil a day flowed through Strait of Hormuz per year. 

The U.S. administration continues to pursue a robust program of sanctions against Iran and has issued 9 Executive Orders to implement Congressional legislation since 2011. Trump has an option to have more sanctions on Iran.

Cybersecurity is important since one of the Iranian groups hacked the website of the Federal Depository Library Program.

The relationship between the U.S. and Iraqi government is getting worse, so if the Iraq Government approves the resolution of U.S. troops leaving would be a disaster. This would be more an opportunity for Iran and many terrorist groups. Iran also announced its complete departure from the 2015 nuclear deal that would be bad news for the West. 

With the nuclear agreement, the West was controlling Iran at some point. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many Democrats have been critical of Trump's decision to conduct an airstrike in Iraq that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the President's military actions regarding Iran. Senator Tim Kaine introduced a similar resolution. Diplomatic channels are essential to reduce the tension, so many countries have a responsibility to talk to both sides.

NATO LEADERS MEETING IN LONDON AND THE FUTURE OF NATO

NATO Heads of State and Government meeting in London witnessed some groundbreaking declarations. During the meeting, it was announced that North Macedonia would join the organization as its 30th member and for the first time, China's rising power became the subject of a joint declaration which stated that "China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance”. 

"We have been able to change when the world is changing," said Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO, underlining that NATO is the most successful alliance in history. Stoltenberg further stated that the defense expenditures have increased and there is only one platform for North America and Europe to discuss and make decisions.

In the joint declaration, countries have agreed on solidarity and Moscow's withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was also touched upon, underlining that Russia's worrying activities pose a threat to the Euro-Atlantic security.

It was underlined that NATO members have increased the number of initiatives to protect their sovereignty in both the aerial and naval domains and that NATO's defensive and dissuasive powers are continuing to being strengthened with nuclear, conventional and missile defensive capabilities. In addition, the commitment to the 5th article of the Washington Treaty which promises that "an armed attack against one member state is an armed attack against all members" was reiterated 

The Trump-Erdogan Meeting

The latest developments between Turkey and the USA were addressed in this unexpected meeting which took place over the course of NATO Heads of State and Government meeting. While the USA was represented by Pompeo - the Secretary of State- and O'Brien - the National Security Advisor -, Yildirim - former prime minister -, Cavusoglu - Minister of Foreign Affairs -, Albayrak - Minister of Finance -, Akar - Minister of National Defence -, Dr. Altun - Communication Director of the Presidency - and Kalin - Presidential Spokesman - were present to represent Turkey.

During the Trump-Erdogan meeting, which was the second face-to-face meeting of the leaders in a month, NATO's co-operation was discussed once again.

The Merkel-Johnson-Erdogan-Macron Meeting

Following the suggestion of President Erdogan, Boris Johnson - Prime Minister of the UK - hosted a quadruple summit where the before mentioned leaders came together with Emmanuel Macron - President of France - and Angela Merkel - Chancellor of Germany - to discuss Syria. In the joint declaration that was presented at the end of the meeting which lasted over an hour, it was stated that the countries agreed on ceasing the attacks that target the civilians all over Syria, including Idlib. While the second quadruple summit is planned to be held in Turkey in February 2020, and Turkey watches Europe's lack of action with concern, in regards to events that are taking place in Syria. 

Turkey's YPG-PKK Sensitivity

An issue was raised about Turkey's initial refusal to back Baltic defense plan over YPG-PKK matter, and the country's later approval for the before mentioned plan. Yet the Turkish side declared that the previous statements made in regards to the correlation between YPG and PKK by the NATO members are still valid, and that the countries have agreed upon certain issues.

However, the disagreements over YPG-PKK matter between the USA and Turkey continue to exist. While some American military authorities and diplomats acknowledge the correlation between YPK and PKK, YPG is being segregated when it comes to Syria.

The sincere support of NATO members to Turkey's fight against terror is important. Otherwise, the presence of the trust issue between certain members will continue to exist.

Trump's Sensitivity to the NATO Budget

After President Trump had taken office and criticized that the NATO member countries are not fair when it comes to NATO's budget, the budget issue had come to the forefront.

This year, NATO members, who have increased their defense expenditures continuously for the last 5 years, increased their defense expenditures by 4.6% in real terms. The number of countries allocated 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defense expenditures has increased to 9. These countries are Bulgaria (3.25 %), Greece (2.28%), England (2.14%), Estonia (2.14%) , Romania (2.04%), Lithuania (2.03%) , Latvia (2.01%) and Poland (2%).

Additionally, Trump got together with leaders of these 9 countries for a dinner as a mean to thank them.

This year the defense expenditures of NATO members surpass $984 billion. While Turkey's budget is $18 billion, the USA single-handedly contributes 70% of NATO's defense expenditure by spending $685 billion 99 million.

 

The 30th Member North Macedonia 

NATO took its final step to accept its 30th member after having signed the accession protocol with Northern Macedonia in February. Zoran Zaev, the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia took part in the leaders' summit in London and the flag of N. Macedonia was represented at the NATO meetings.

Northern Macedonia, which took part in the NATO meetings, will become the 30th member of NATO once the accession protocol has been approved in the parliaments of all member countries and all official procedures have been completed.

While the area of influence of Russia becomes more restricted with Northern Macedonia, it is expected that NATO will also continue its policy of expansion in 2020.

NATO, S400 and Turkey-Spain Relations

Spanish Prime Minister announced that Spain would maintain its presence in the NATO missile defense mission in Turkey and made a reference to other members. Because Turkey expresses that they are not receiving an adequate amount of patriots from the NATO members against internal and external security threats.

In addition to this, Jens Stoltenberg - Secretary-General of NATO - stated that the "S-400s used by Turkey will never be integrated into the NATO".

 

Dispute over Macron and Trump-Erdogan Solidarity

As was the case before the London summit, both US President Trump and President Erdogan responded to French President Macron's statements that the brain death of NATO had occurred, giving out the message that we would endeavor to make NATO even stronger. Trump referred to the words of Macron as very humiliating and said, "NATO has a great purpose. Nobody needs NATO more than France. These kinds of statements are very dangerous".

2019 NATO Activities

 

Established in 1949, NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Apart from the London Summit, the organization hosted two conferences at foreign ministerial level (with one of these in Washington DC) and three conferences at defense ministerial level.

Established in 1949, NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Apart from the London Summit which was participated by the Heads of State and Government of the member countries, the organization hosted two conferences at foreign ministerial level (with one of these in Washington DC) and three conferences at defense ministerial level.

NATO, along with performing over 100 military operations this year, has declared space as the new theater of operations. It has also been announced that NATO was on new actions regarding cybersecurity.

Following North Macedonia, the work is being done to include Georgia to NATO as a member country. Even though there are difficulties due to Russian annexation over 20% of Georgian land, NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg will be in Tbilisi in March and NATO has a coordination office in Tbilisi since 2010.

NATO had also reached a $ 1 billion agreement with Boeing, allowing AWACS fleet to serve until 2035.

As a summary, the future of NATO is not in despair. With each member is making positive statements on the organization, investments of NATO in new fields, attempts to reach the desired budget and with new members, I presume that this 70-year-old alliance will last many many years.

 

 

 

 

President Trump's Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

By Ali Cinar - President Donald Trump served Thanksgiving dinner to U.S service members deployed to Bagram Airfield Thursday on November 29th in Afghanistan.The White House did not inform President Trump's visit to Public until a few hours before landed at Bagram Airbase.It was also his first visit to to Afghanistan. President Trump joined by United States military leaders and White House staff also met with the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. President Trump announced U.S. and Taliban have been engaged in ongoing peace talks and said he believes the Taliban want a cease-fire.

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Election 2020- What We Know?

By Ali Cinar - The results of 2016 presidential election came as a surprise to nearly everyone who had been following the national and state election polling, which consistently projected Hillary Clinton as defeating Donald Trump. How could the polls have been so wrong about the state of the election? The fact that so many forecasts were off-target was particularly notable given the increasingly wide variety of methodologies being tested and reported via the mainstream media and other channels. Prof. Monica McDermott from Fordham University had a press briefing at the State Department FPC regarding "Elections 101 - Campaigns and Polling".

Andromeda Test News

Andromeda Test News

 

 

 

ANDROMEDA is an American multinational technology company headquartered in New York City, that designs, develops, and computer software, and online services.

Its hardware products include the website, web design, online e-commerce, desktop application, smartphone, the tablet computer, the smartwatch and the digital media player.

Andromeda's consumer software includes the HoloFinger™, SmartMail™, 3D printer, Dirty Laundrys, Smart Shuttle, Fitspor, Online Retail Stores, AmazonSeller and BarMade™ software systems creativity and productivity suites.

Andromeda was founded Bayram Altinisik on Semptember 14, 2013 to develop and sell software.

https://www.andromeda.network/

 

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