President Trump's July 4th Message “We’ve made a lot of progress."

Washington, the capital of the U.S., has witnessed a great number of celebrations on the Fourth of July, or Independence Day. In his speech at the White House, President Donald Trump vowed to defeat the “radical left.” Trump reacted to recent attempts to remove some sculptures in the U.S., describing these as “attempts to destroy the U.S.”

President Trump stated, “I will not let ‘angry mobs’ trying to tear down statues to ‘wipe out’ U.S. history.” President Trump added, “We’ve made a lot of progress. Our strategy is moving along well. The virus goes out in one area and rears back its ugly face in another area. But we have learned a lot. We’ve learned how to put out the flame.”

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, with cases rising again in the country, President Trump claimed that 99% of the coronavirus cases in the U.S. were “completely harmless” without providing any evidence. Again blaming China for the spread of the outbreak, Trump noted that Beijing should be “called to account” for their failure to take control of the outbreak.

President Trump also predicted that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready “way before the end of the year.”

Within the scope of  President Trump’s “Salute to America,” events were held in Washington. There was a fireworks show, which was said to be the biggest in recent years; and a flight performance with warplanes was organized by the  Department of Defense.

It was stated that hundreds of guests, including doctors, nurses, security authorities, military members, and management officials, attended the ceremony. White House Deputy Spokesperson Judd Deere stated that the event was organized in a manner that respected the “enormous courage and spirit” of the American people and those who fight the pandemic.

While the Fourth of July celebrations continued in Washington, protests against police violence and racism were also organized.

Many Independence Day events in the U.S. were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beaches in Florida and California were closed; parades and firework displays were not performed.

Despite the concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Trump did not cancel the celebration at the White House.

Secretary Pompeo: Hagia Sophia should remain a museum

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo made a statement regarding the debate around the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. “We urge the government of Turkey to continue to maintain Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect the faith of traditions and diverse history that contributed to the Republic of Turkey and to ensure it remains accessible to all,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo stated the following in his statement:

“The United States views a change in the status of the Hagia Sophia as diminishing the legacy of this remarkable building and its unsurpassed ability—so rare in the modern world—to serve humanity as a much-needed bridge between those of different faith traditions and cultures. We seek to continue to work with the Government of Turkey on a broad range of issues of mutual interest, including the preservation of religious and cultural sites.”

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hami Aksoy, gave a written answer to the question regarding the statement of the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs about the status of Hagia Sophia.

Stating that “they were surprised” by the remarks of the U.S. Department of State, Aksoy said, “No one has the right to speak in a ‘warning or dictating’ manner about our sovereign rights.”

Would Trump tweet about Hagia Sophia?

Hagia Sophia will not cause a crisis between Turkey and the U.S., but it will come as no surprise if the discussions continue, and President Trump makes a statement regarding internal politics. Yet Trump, who has close relations with religious leaders, especially evangelists, can make a statement about this issue. The topic does not occupy the U.S. media’s agenda much; however, the systematic defamation campaign of anti-Turk groups is continuing.

President Trump signs executive order on police reform

U.S. President Donald Trump held a press conference at the White House to sign a “police reform” order. Reporting that he met with the families of African-American victims of police violence before the press conference, Trump said, “These people lost their loved ones in deadly interactions with police. I want you to know that all Americans mourn by your side. Your loved ones will not have died in vain.  We are one nation. We grieve together, and we heal together.”

Coming out against abolishing or defunding police departments, Trump stated, “Without safety, there is a catastrophe.” Implying that the police keep the streets and people safe, he said, “We must improve accountability, increase transparency, and invest more resources in police training. Reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals.

“Law and order must be further restored nationwide. The federal government is ready, willing, and able to help. Police chokeholds will be banned during arrests; there will be no more looting or arson. The penalty will be very grave for those who get caught. We cannot tolerate these people.”

President Trump also stated that “As part of this new credentialing process, chokeholds will be banned, except if an officer’s life is at risk. Additionally, we’re looking at new advanced and powerful less-lethal weapons to help prevent deadly interactions,” 

Is police reform necessary?

There are 18,000 police departments all across the USA, where approximately 800,000 people work. And the largest one is the New York Police Department (NYPD). The annual budget of NYPD, with a total of 38,000 police officers, is 5.6 billion dollars. Yes, you did not hear it wrong; it is more than the 3-billion-dollar budget of the United Nations. The other day, the governor and mayor of New York made new decisions on police reform. I discussed the police reform and recent events with three valuable police officers who formerly worked at NYPD.

Yalcin Demirkaya: Having worked successfully as an NYPD detective inspector and detective commander for 20 years, Demirkaya thinks that the politicians are the responsible party for the current situation. Stating that there could also be bad eggs in the police department like in any other group, but we could not lay the blame on the whole department, Demirkaya said that the police officer who killed Floyd was a psychopath. Expressing that police associations defend every police officer, Demirkaya emphasized that the bad eggs should be eliminated. Indicating that the mainstream media was inciting protests with biased and faulty information, Demirkaya expressed that defunding the police would not result in any benefit.

Murat Oner: Having served as a soldier in the U.S. Navy for 12 years and worked for 21 years with the NYPD, Oner will receive the badge of honor. He says that the police department should recognize good cops and bad cops. Expressing that there should be racial, linguistic, and religious diversity within police departments, Oner emphasized that budget cuts would not be realistic. He believes that more funds should be allocated, and police officers should be involved in training, transparency, responsibility, and social programs.

Erhan Yildirim: Having served as the Community Affairs Coordinator at the NYPD, Yildirim says that reforms were already made after September 11, and the NYPD has been working closely with the community leaders of the city. Stating that he found the statement of New York City’s First Lady (who said that an “NYPD-free New York City would be like nirvana”) “strange,” Yildirim said that budget cuts would lead to greater vulnerability, as the city is a center for terrorism.

Secretary Pompeo Urges the Members of the Coalition Against Daesh

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke at a ministerial meeting of the Anti-Daesh Coalition, which was held virtually this year due to concerns about the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Starting his speech by congratulating the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who was present at the meeting, for establishing the new Iraqi government, Pompeo said that as a coalition, members would always support Iraq’s fight against DAESH.

“As the U.S, we look forward to deepening our partnership with the people and Government of Iraq through a series of discussions, particularly the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, which will begin later this month,” said Secretary Pompeo.

On the other hand, stating that it had been over a year since Daesh had suffered a major defeat and yet the group has continued to exist in the form of cells, especially in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, Secretary Pompeo added, “Our fight against DAESH continues, and it will be here for the foreseeable future. We cannot rest!”

In addition, suggesting that the United States spends the most in the fight against DAESH,Secretary Pompeo said that the US pledged 100 million for the coalition’s main stabilization program for the areas that were liberated last year.

Secretary Pompeo asked other coalition members to pledge more in the fight against the organization.

“It’s true that the pandemic is putting enormous pressure on all of our budgets, but we urge your nations to pledge toward our goal of more than $700 million for 2020. Those funds will support our work with local partners to pursue DAESH cells and networks in Syria and Iraq.”Secretary Pompeo added.

Emphasizing that the support of the coalition was important for the continuity of secure and humane detention of DAESH members seized in Syria and in Iraq, Secretary Pompeo called on all countries to take their own citizens back and try them through the example of Italy and Germany.

Looting hit a Turkish-owned pharmacy store in the U.S

The protests that were sparked by the death of African American George Floyd at the hand of the Police continue to flare across the USA. The damage in businesses looted by the protesters in the demonstrations that spread to many states is remarkable. The pharmacy store owned by Mehmed Bülend Uğur, the President  of the Turkish American Pharmacists Association (TAEB), got its share from the attacks of the protesters in New Jersey hit by the protests.  Even prescription drugs in the pharmacy were stolen by the protesters who had been looting all over the city.

ALL OF THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WERE STOLEN

Mehmed Bülent Uğur, President of the Turkish-American Pharmacists Association (TAEB),spoke with Ali Cinar from Turk of America  shared all details about the incident in his pharmacy. Ugur said, "Yesterday evening, unfortunately, they broke into our pharmacy in groups of 5 to 10 people within minutes of each other. As you can see in the videos, they scattered when the Police arrived. But they stole the money in the cash register and even the prescription drugs of our patients. They stole the prescription drugs that were supposed to be delivered to the patients today. These individuals are not from Trenton; they have come here from another town. Four of them have been apprehended by the Police."


SOME OF THE LOOTERS WERE APPREHENDED

Ugur, a graduate of the Istanbul University, Faculty of Pharmacy and a pharmacist in the city of Trenton, NJ for the last 15 years stated; "It is very wrong for the Police to kill someone through brutality, but the response in the form of looting is not the right way. Furthermore, they all know about drugs. While some of them took what they could, others knew exactly which drugs they were going for. And they all scattered when the Police arrived. The weird thing is, our alarm did not go off. We have a deafening alarm system. We got a call from our warehouse, and they warned us, "In case of another attack which is expected in the next 48 hours, take necessary measures!"

President Trump: “We have the greatest economy in U.S. History.”

According to the data announced by the U.S. Ministry of Labor, the unemployment rate in the U.S. decreased by 13.3% in May. The decrease of the unemployment rate in May, which was recorded as 14.7% in April, was perceived as an unexpected positive development in the economic recession period caused by the coronavirus pandemic. New unemployment data were released following the surveys, showing that consumer confidence, manufacturing, and service sectors began to stabilize.

At the press conference held in the White House, President Trump evaluated the unemployment number and the agenda. Evaluating the unemployment number as “amazing,” President Trump said, “We had the greatest economy in U.S. history. And then this horrible pandemic hit the world. Tremendous progress is being made on vaccines. I also think we can have some very positive surprises in terms of treatment.”

Reacting to the states that have not started with the normalization yet, President Trump said, “I don’t know why some governors still continue with quarantine. Look at Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, they have reopened, and they are doing a tremendous job.” Claiming that the best figures were achieved in terms of employment of African, Asian, and Latin Americans before the new type of coronavirus pandemic, 

President Trump said, “The unemployment numbers announced today are a document of appreciation for equality in our country.” Stating that the economy was making a quick recovery, looking at the unemployment numbers released today, Trump said, “We were talking about a V-recovery of our economy, but now we can talk about a rocket-oriented recovery.” 

About the steps taken for the African American population, Trump said, “My administration has done more for the Black community than any president.” Pointing out that the violent incidents in George Floyd’s demonstrations were largely suppressed, President Trump said, “We have a great army and National Guard. National Guard was barely used, but they helped the secret service at Washington a lot. The job they did at the White House is unbelievable.” 

President Trump: “Covid-19 is a terrible gift from China!”

Stating that Covid-19 would have been prevented in China where it emerged, President Trump said, “Should we have not stopped flights from China, and we would have lost 2.5 million lives. We closed our economy. So, we’re at 105,000 lives now. Europe also closed its economy. Europe became acutely infected by the virus that came from China.

President Trump added, “China never had a dominant economy. It is not going to happen.” Pointing out that airlines and travel companies have begun to get back their old customers in the U.S.,” 

Pointing out that the world is seeking answers for some questions about China with the threat of sanctions on the issue of Hong Kong, President Trump emphasized that they had seen the damage caused by the foreign dependency of the U.S. supply chain during the pandemic. Trump reported that he also ordered his financial markets working group to address the actions of Chinese companies in U.S. financial markets. 

President Trump said, “The last steps taken by China show that Hong Kong is no longer an autonomous region. China changed its formula of ‘two systems, one country’ to ‘one country, one system.’ So I order my administration to begin eliminating Hong Kong’s political privileges.” Trump added that “The USA will take the necessary steps to impose sanctions on the officials of China and Hong Kong who harm the autonomy of Hong Kong.”

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser unveils large street banner reading 'Black Lives Matter'

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser shared the painting made on 16th Street, which became the center of protests in response to the killing of African American George Floyd while in the custody of the police in Minnesota, on her Twitter account and announced that an intersection near the White House was renamed to Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Each of the 16 bold yellow letters spans the width of the two-lane street, creating a huge visual easily spotted by aerial cameras and virtually anyone within two-three blocks.

Mayor Bowser sent a letter to  President Trump, stating that she ended the “state of emergency” situation and the curfews in the city, and requesting that he withdraw the National Guard soldiers in the city.

Per President Trump's request,Pentagon moved 1,600 active-duty troops to the Washington area as the military is playing a critical role in responding to protests in the nation's capital,Washington,DC .

Protests Continue in New York City

In the U.S. , the peaceful protests that started and spread across the country in response to the police killing of African American George Floyd continue on the twelfth day.Thousands of protesters have come together in various territories in New York yesterday and called for justice for Floyd. The protests that took place in Brooklyn,Bronx,Staten Island and Manhattan in the afternoon were calm in general.

There were few  clashes between the police and the protesters who did not comply with the curfew, which had been in force after 8:00 p.m. for five nights in order to prevent looting and violence in protests in New York.

NYPD Commissioner Shea tweeted :"The widespread criminal activity that we’re witnessing at night has nothing to do with the peaceful protests we’re standing with during the day. This senseless looting is organized by bad-actors using a worthy cause as cover."

Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, alongside his two counterparts had a press briefing on Saturday:NYPD arrested 1,024 people in protest related arrests and 1,164 summonses.This arrest number  did not include curfew violations. Deputy Commissioner Miller said: “It does not appear that groups traveled into New York together and initially arrests of people outside New York made up a high percentage but over time they became a much smaller percentage. 

NYPD Officials also said that 292 officers injured during George Floyd protests in 5 boroughs. NYPD 10th Precinct tweeted and highlighted that "We respect everyone’s First Amendment rights, but there is no reason to bring axes (attached to signs) and knives to peaceful demonstrations."

Mayor De Blasio: "We Do Not Want Armed Forces"

Stating, “When outside armed forces go into communities, no good comes of it in New York,” Mayor of New York City. Bill de Blasio blamed both sides in the protests that involved violent incidents in the city and added, “There are people who participate in these peaceful protests just to do violence. On the other hand, we also witnessed scenes of breach of power by the police that do not match with our values.”

Mayor Blasio also tweeted regarding George Floyd's memorial : " I could see the raw pain and anger in the crowd at George Floyd’s memorial yesterday. I felt it, I heard it. People have seen injustice before our very eyes and can't live with it."

Governor Andrew Cuomo apologized to NYPD

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo apologized to New York Police Department (NYPD) and Mayor Bill de Blasio after his criticism following the violence and looting incidents. NYPD Chief Terence Monahan  was interviewed by "Today" Show and he said "Last night his office called and apologized to me, and I know he called the commissioner directly to apologize,” .  What  Governor Cuomo has said was "The police in New York City were not effective in doing their job last night. They have to do a better job.”

US President Trump: “We think that we will have had a vaccination by the end of the year.”

President Trump held a press conference at the White House on vaccination research.

President Trump pointed to the fact that almost all the states in the country have announced their normalization plans now, thanks to their testing capacities of up to 350,000 per day. Trump said, “Another important pillar of the normalization process of our country is the development of effective treatment and vaccines against the virus. We are looking to get it by the end of the year if we can, maybe before.”

President Trump said that various studies on the vaccine had been initiated as of January 11, the early days of the pandemic, and his government has been doing their best to support such studies.

President Trump Administration Unveils the Warp Speed Project.

Citing that his administration provided $10 billion to fund the research initiatives, President Trump said, “Today, we are starting a new project called Operation Warp Speed in the field of vaccination. In this way, we will make a massive scientific, industrial, and logistical endeavor unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.” He said, “Its objective is to finish developing and then manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as fast as possible.”

President Trump stated that within the scope of this project, the Ministry of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and experts from many institutions and organizations came together. He noted that the army would be used to distribute the vaccine to the country after its development.

'Hats off' to whoever develops vaccine First"

Noting that they had been working in collaboration with other countries to develop a vaccine, Trump said, “We have no ego on that matter. We are working with our allies and sometimes we are working with those who are not our allies.” He commented, “Whoever develops the vaccine, we think it’s great.”

“Vaccine or no vaccine, we are back.”

On the other hand, President Trump said, “And I just want to make something clear. It’s very important. Vaccine or no vaccine, we are back to normal. We are starting a process. And in many cases, they don’t have vaccines, and a virus or the flu comes, and you fight through it. And people sometimes, I guess—we don’t know exactly yet, but it looks like they become immune, or at least for a short while.”

Side Notes:

President Trump's F-35 Card

Stating that the U.S. should not have a commitment to China or other countries at the supply chain point, President Trump said, “We have good relations with President Erdoğan now, but what if it breaks down? What are we supposed to do if they say that ‘we won’t be delivering the F-35 parts?’” he said.

President Trump: “We’ll be making an announcement on the World Health Organization shortly, soon.”

Trump also commented on the quitting of the Head of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevedo, saying, “I am OK with it. The World Trade Organization has been acting very badly for a long time. They treat China as a developing nation. Therefore, China gets a lot of the benefits that the US doesn’t get.”

Trump: I don’t want to talk to Xi right now. We might cut off our whole relationship with China.

Arguing that China is responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak and its becoming a pandemic, Trump said, “I am very disappointed in China. They should have never let this happen. So I made a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me.” Stating that the USA might cut off its relationship with China, Trump said, “There are many things we could do.

We could take many steps. We could cut off the whole relationship. Now, if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship.”

The Economic Situation

There will be an election in November, but Trump is not willing to face this given the existing financial scenario. During the last two months, 36 million people in the US have applied for unemployment benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate in the country reached 14.7% in April. This number is expected to climb in the next few months. This is the highest unemployment level that the US has experienced since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Turkish Americans in the 2020 Elections!

In April, Aycha Sirvanci Sawa achieved a stunning election win to become the City Comptroller of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What's Next for Turkish Americans in the 2020 Election Year?  The next-go-around for Turkish Americans at the ballot box is this July. Two Turkish American lawyers are running in elections in the states of New Jersey and Louisiana. The outcome of these polls could be historically significant for the Turkish American community.

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