Is the Biden Administration ready for a post-Netanyahu?

Journalist Ali Cinar had an interview with Distinguished Experts on the recent developments in Israel. The speaker of the Israeli parliament notified lawmakers today of the opposition’s announcement of a coalition to unseat veteran premier Benjamin Netanyahu. Per Israeli media,the notification will set in motion preparations for a confidence vote in the new government, which will now likely be held on Wednesday or the following Monday.

Dan Arbell, Scholar in Residence, Center for Israel Studies American University

New Government:

It is a historic opportunity, as this new governing coalition (if approved by Knesset) will include for the first time an Islamist Arab party (Ra'am). This can help in bringing down tensions between Arabs and Jews after violence erupted during the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

U.S-Israel Relations:New Era?

After years of tensions between Netanyahu, Obama and Biden, the new govt. can bring to a reset and improved relations with the Biden Administration, airing out differences (over Iran and the Palestinian issue) in private and not in public.

Israeli -Palestine Conflict and Solution

The conflict will be managed but not resolved. Bennett and Lapid agreed to maintain the status quo which means no annexation, limited settlement activity, no negotiations on a two-state solution, continued security coordination and support for economic projects in the West Bank and assisting international humanitarian efforts in Gaza.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Director of the New York City Board of Rabbis

“For many years the state of Israel has had extremely close ties especially under the previous Trump administration. With the new Administration coming in to Israel I still feel that overall net net relations will be strong but perhaps a little shift in American approach on geopolitical matters including more of a supporting role that Washington will play with the Palestinians. “

Dov Zakheim(Senior Advisor at CSIS, Fellow at CAN, Former Pentagon Official)

New Government Efforts and U.S-Israel Relations under Biden Administration

There is definitely a prospect for improving relations with the US. The new Government would not be as nakedly partisan as Netanyahu and his ambassador in Washington, Dermer, were. This will help improve relations with Democrats, who control Congress as well as the Executive Branch. Likewise, the new government will be more cautious about settlement expansion and not be as brazen as the Netanyahu governments were.

The new government is far more acceptable to the majority of Jewish Americans, most of whom also happen to be Democrats. Finally, the new government may oppose a new Iran deal, but will cast its opposition in a far less hysterical way than did Bibi and his minions.

Future of Israel and Palestinians Situation

The new government is so broadly based that movement on the peace process will be difficult. On the other hand, the government depends on Arab Israeli support. That means more resources to improve the lives of ordinary Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Also, the government may not eliminate settlement construction but it will be far more restrained and will probably avoid expelling Arab residents from their homes

Positive Atmosphere in Greece

The Greek and Turkish media reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias was held in a sincere atmosphere and that major problematic issues were discussed.
 
Turkish Foreign Minister  underlined that the Turkey and Greece agreed to 25 items in areas of cooperation to improve bilateral ties and have begun to work on joint action and cooperation on tangible projects such as health and tourism.
 
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the following statement during the press conference "The purpose of today's meeting was to attempt an initial negotiation process and if possible, a gradual normalization of the situation over time."
 
Turk of America asked Dr George N. Tzogopoulos who is Senior Research Fellow at CIFE regarding latest developments between Greece and Turkey
 
"Greece and Turkey are demonstrating a kinetic energy in pushing negotiations forward. The relaunch of exploratory talks, the organization of meetings of defense delegations on confidence building measures and the bilateral and multilateral meetings of foreign ministers Dendias and Cavusoglu show that it is in their mutual interest to talk to each other. 
 
The forthcoming June meeting between PM Mitsotakis and President Erdogan is expected to be the most important  meeting of the two countries’ leaderships for years. I don’t expect breakthroughs because the two countries disagree on many political issues, and they are both aware. But I am hopeful that the meeting between PM Mitsotakis and Erdogan will help Greece and Turkey to find a liturgical way to cooperate on themes such as tourism, COVID-19, trade, investments, the refugee crisis, culture etc. 
 
The implementation of a positive agenda will perhaps restore some trust that was absent in the last years. In the interim, as long as Turkey is in the process of recalibrating its relations with both the USA and the EU , Greece envisages new synergies.
 
 The June NATO Summit to be followed by the EU Council will set the way forward. Beyond the general framework, both countries have to make sure that the 2020 crisis will not be replicated by using new instruments, including NATO deconfliction mechanism"

Wendy Sherman:"Productive Discussion in Ankara"

The Biden administration paid their first high-level visit to Ankara. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman arrived in Ankara. Sherman made a statement to the Turkish media and talked about the Erdogan-Biden meeting expected to be held on June 14th. Sherman said, "I believe this summit is very important in terms of emphasizing the positive aspects. The President will express the concerns, especially Turkey's direction in terms of human rights and democracy. Turkey is a strategic and world-renowned power. We are working very closely. We are working together with Turkey for world order and ensuring that every party abides by the global rules regarding Afghanistan and Libya affairs".

'The purchase of S-400s is causing problems within the NATO alliance.'


The US Deputy Secretary stated, "We have offered alternatives for S-400 sanctions imposed on Turkey. Now it's up to Turkey to decide", and added:
"The purchase of S-400s is causing problems within the NATO alliance. We have offered an alternative. Now, they know well what they must do. I hope we will find a common path. This technical detail is not a big thing; it's not political. Turkey is aware of the situation and knows what actions it must take. We have also discussed how these actions will be taken. This will be Turkey's decision."
 

'The sole purpose of the relations with YPG is to defeat ISIS.'

Sherman said, "The sole purpose of the US-YPG relations is to defeat ISIS."
Explaining the recent Syrian elections and their expectations for the forthcoming term, Sherman said, "Non-genuine elections are not acceptable. We stated that Russians had no intention to participate in the dialogue. This is for democratic elections, but it's for the best interest of Syrian people."

'Business Leaders are seeking predictability for investment.'

Having also talked about economic relations, Sherman explained Washington's view on Turkey. Sherman emphasized human rights and the rule of law and said, "Everybody is talking about a big potential, but businessmen are seeking predictability for cooperation. These are our main areas of concern."
'It's sad to see you withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.'

US Deputy Secretary of State also talked about Washington's view on Ankara: "President's decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention has been quite bad for women's rights. We are very saddened; such incidents create concerns."

In addition to Anitkabir, Wendy Sherman visited Turkey's President's Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey AmCham Board Members, Women, and LGBTQ Associations, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,

"Hutchinson: The future for natural gas and LNG is bright!"

LNG Allies will be organizing a "Virtual Meet-and-Greet Turkey-U.S. LNG Interests" on June 1st. Turk of America Journalist Ali Cinar interviewed  Fred H. Hutchison President & CEO LNG Allies, (The US LNG Association) on the LNG opportunities between U.S. and Turkey
 
What is your expectation for your upcoming Turkey-U.S. LNG conference?

The event that LNG Allies has arranged with the Turkish Embassy in Washington on June 1 will introduce our members to key energy and trade officials within the Embassy and the Turkish Consulate in Houston, to be briefed by officials in Ankara on the Turkish natural gas market, and for our companies to be able to interact with Turkish counterparts. It is part of a “virtual meet and greet” seminars series we have organized over the past year in markets of interest to the U.S. LNG industry given the difficulty of travel due to Covid.

How do U.S. based LNG companies work with Turkish business? 

Turkey is an important market for U.S. LNG exporters. Over the past 12 months (through March 2021), Turkey was the eighth largest market for U.S. LNG exports globally and the third largest in Europe. LNG Allies and our companies have met regularly with Turkish government officials, regulators, and the Turkish energy industry to share our experiences and encourage closer collaboration. These relationships are strong and getting stronger.

What is your organization expectation from Turkish companies/Turkey?

We expect demand for natural gas in Turkey to continue to increase given Turkish economic growth, as well as government efforts to address climate change and diversify sources of energy supply. The flexibility, reliability, and price competitiveness of U.S. LNG has been appreciated by Turkish companies. So, we anticipate Turkey will be a growth market for our exports. We hope to see Turkish companies sign long-term contracts with U.S. LNG suppliers to further strengthen this relationship.

Where do you see the LNG business in five years?

The future for natural gas and LNG is bright. Even in 2020 — when energy demand dropped globally due to the pandemic — demand for LNG grew by two percent to reach 360 million metric tons (MMT). In five years, global LNG demand is expected to rise to around 420 MMT, and the United States will become the top LNG exporting nation. LNG improves energy security and can provide reliable, low-carbon electricity, generating important baseload power when combined with renewables. While most LNG demand growth will be in Asia, we see opportunities in Europe as well, in particular in Turkey.

Turkish Airlines launches flights to the city of Newark, USA

THY launched flights to Newark Liberty International Airport located in the state of New Jersey. THY will fly to Newark four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays until June 13, 2021. Flights will be scheduled every weekday after June 13, 2021.

Newark, the largest city of the State of New Jersey and one of the closest cities to New York City, will be an alternative transportation line for passengers traveling to New York with the flights initiated by Turkish Airlines.

Passengers will buy a round-trip ticket to Newark with prices starting from $655, including all taxes.

Yahya Üstün (THY Press), Abdülkadir Çay (deputy chief human resources officer), Cenk Öcal (THY New York General Manager), and Reyhan Özgür (New York Consul General) participated in the opening ceremony in the terminal and celebrated the new THY destination.

Newark Liberty Airport :

It is located about 24km southwest of Midtown Manhattan and 97 km northeast of Philadelphia, serving both metropolitan areas. Newark Airport was the first major airport in the United States. Newark Airport, along with JFK and LaGuardia Airports, combine to create the largest airport system in the United States, the 2nd largest in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and largest in the world in terms of total flight operations. In 2019, EWR Airport served 46,336,452 passengers. The word “Liberty” wasn’t added to the airport’s name until 2002. It was added to honor the United Airlines Flight 93 that left from Newark on September 11, 2001 and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after it was hijacked by terrorists.During WW II, the airport was shut down for commercial use and was instead operated by the U.S. Army Air Corps for logistics operations.Newark Airport is the 3rd-largest hub for United Airlines, after Chicago O’Hare and Houston-Intercontinental airports and it also works as a hub for FedEx Express and United Airlines.There are 30 different airlines that service Newark Airport’s three terminals.There are over 65 restaurants, shops, and kiosks inside of airport terminals.

Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protesters clash in New York

The verbal dispute between supporters of Palestine and those of Israel soon turned into a fight in New York's Times Square. Several protesters, including policemen, were injured, while many demonstrators were taken into custody.

The pro-Israel group supporting Israel and the pro-Palestine group protesting against Israel's attacks in Gaza and East Jerusalem clashed in New York's Times Square.

Pro-Palestine protesters suddenly got involved in the supporters of Israel's demonstration in Times Square. While there were only a handful of supporters of Palestine at the beginning, hundreds of people rushed to the square with Palestinian flags in minutes.

The extreme safety measures of the New York City Police Department failed to prevent the clash between the two groups. While one side was chanting "Free Israel" and the other side "Free Palestine," the tension escalated in the blink of an eye. Insults turned into physical assaults.

"Takbir, Allahu Akbar," cries echoed in Times Square. Black Americans were, in particular, among the supporters of Palestine in addition to Muslim groups. The Jewish community and Indian groups came to the square to support Israel.

The Israeli flag was burned during the incidents. Many protesters were taken into custody after the New York police warned the two groups in order to ease the tension.

Sniffer dogs were also on duty in the square where the police used pepper gas to end the fight. Bike and mounted police officers alongside undercover police officers and helicopters were used to catch the protesters who started to flee the scene after the initial police response. A number of streets, including the 54th street where the Manhattan Police Station is located, were closed, and extensive security measures were taken. There were many injured in the incidents, at least four of them being police officers.

Incidents ended when the group dispersed after Palestine supporters held a mass prayer in Times Square.

U.S. to attribute more importance to Libya

Over the last weeks, we have seen a significant movement in Libya, although international politics is more focused on Israel-Palestine. The U.S. sent Joey Hood, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State, to Libya, the highest-level official, to visit since 2014. This can be considered a sign that Washington D.C. is more focused on resolving the crisis in Libya. In a high-level statement, Hood denoted that the U.S. aims for a sovereign, stable, and unified Libya, with no foreign interference and capable of combating terrorism. The U.S. Africa Command published a statement regarding the Russian military's existence in Libya.

According to the diplomats from other countries that are involved in the Libya affair, Biden has employed an approach that focused more on Libya since he took office in the White House in January.

It is very important that an agreement is reached on a road map for the elections in December.

The Libyan experts living in Washington D.C. whom I talked to stated that they did not forget Turkey's support; however, they anticipated a crisis between Turkey and Libya as Turkey tends to put all its eggs in one basket. There is a considerable number of people advocating that different powers are acting upon Libya; thus, Turkey should employ broader diplomacy. They also highlighted the great efforts by countries such as Russia, the UAE, and France to get their candidates to be elected.

U.S.-LIBYA RELATIONS :

United States supports an immediate end to Libya’s ongoing conflict through mediation efforts under the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. U.S. is committed to ensuring a stable and prosperous Libya, and in cooperation with the UN and other international partners supports Libya’s democratic transition, including through national elections. U.S. is focused on promoting the ability of Libyans to achieve a unified and inclusive government that can both secure the country and meet the economic and humanitarian needs of the Libyan people.

More Information: https://www.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-libya/

Why does Wendy Sherman, No. 2 at State Department visit important to Turkey?

Wendy Sherman is the first woman to be assigned as the Deputy Secretary of State who was working for Albright Stonebridge before. An avid admirer of NATO, Sherman worked with Presidents Obama and Clinton. She is one of the pioneers of the Iran nuclear deal and an expert on Syria and Israel. Sherman, who knows Turkey very well, will be in Ankara this Friday for preliminaries prior to the bilateral meeting to be held between Biden and Erdogan during the upcoming NATO summit. Sherman and her Turkish counterparts will prioritize the issues to be discussed and solved, bearing in mind that there are numerous problems on the table which remain without a solution. During the meetings, where the latest developments will be discussed, Sherman will also be seeing NGO delegates. As is always emphasized, such discussions are of great value when it comes to restoring cordial dialogue and bilateral trust between the two countries.

In a written statement by the U.S. Department of State, it is noted that Sherman will visit Brussels, Ankara, Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and Honolulu between May 25 and June 4.

It is also stated that Sherman will meet the representative of Belgium, the E.U., and NATO in Brussels and preside over the first U.S.-E.U. dialogue conference regarding China with Stefano Sannino, the Secretary-General of the E.U. External Action Service.

The press release noted: "Deputy Secretary Sherman will underscore the importance of the U.S.-Turkey relationship as we work together with our NATO Ally to confront mutual challenges, and discuss areas of concern."

Who is Wendy Sherman?

Wendy R. Sherman was confirmed by the Senate on April 13, 2021 and sworn in as the 21st and first female Deputy Secretary of State on April 14, 2021.

Prior to assuming this position, Deputy Secretary Sherman was professor of the practice of public leadership and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. She was also a Senior Fellow at the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group.

From 2011 – 2015, Deputy Secretary Sherman served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, where she traveled to 54 countries and led the U.S. negotiating team that reached agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran for which, among other diplomatic accomplishments, she was awarded the National Security Medal by President Barack Obama.

She previously served at the State Department as Counselor under Secretary Madeleine Albright, as Special Advisor to President Clinton and Policy Coordinator on North Korea, and as Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs under Secretary Warren Christopher.

She also previously served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, was Chair of the Board of Directors of Oxfam America, and served on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board and Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism.

Deputy Secretary Sherman attended Smith College, and received a B.A. cum laude from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Social Work, Phi Kappa Phi, from the University of Maryland.

She is married to Bruce Stokes and has a daughter, Sarah, and two grandsons.

Changing Face of Islam in Germany: Turkish Groups No Longer A Majority

People of Turkish origin no longer make up the majority of Muslims in Germany, a major new report found. The survey of Islamic life in Germany, last carried out in 2016, showed migrants from the Middle East putting their stamp on Germany’s population – one in six of the country’s Muslims now have roots in Syria, Iraq or Lebanon. There are now between 5.3 and 5.6 million Muslims living in Germany, from a population of 83.1 million. The study played down fears of a “parallel society” raised by migrant-sceptic politicians. It found that nearly half of Muslims are German citizens, and most have close friends without any migrant background. More than 80 per cent of Muslims in Germany said they were religious, the study found, but their level of integration hardly differed from other migrant groups. 

A Message from Turkish Consul General of Los Angeles:

After President Joe Biden recognized the so-called Armenian genocide, Turk of America started to receive unbelievably disturbing rumors for the last week, such as that some Armenian groups in California created social media profiles calling for exposing the addresses of Turkish people and symbolically executing an Azerbaijani mannequin in the middle of the street.

Turkish Consul General of Los Angeles Can Oğuz, a beloved and hardworking diplomat of the Turkish-American community, sent a message to Turk of America Journalist Ali Cinar:

"The radical sections of the diaspora in Los Angeles, where the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia lives in the world, unfortunately, is very hostile towards Turkey and the Turkish society here.

These radical circles, and in particular, diaspora organizations affiliated with Dashnaksutyun, wield their influence in Los Angeles to forcefully suppress every attempt favoring Turkey. Local politicians also support these groups and even play a provocative role in these matters over petty political goals.

This situation is met with concern in the Turkish American community. Unfortunately, the painful memories of the martyrdom of our three diplomats in the past in Los Angeles and the threats against Turkish society at that time still have their effect.

On the other hand, our citizens, who are one of the successful diaspora communities of Los Angeles and whose number is increasing, are further improving their efforts to prevent initiatives targeting them and to ensure that the Turkish society is evaluated on an equal basis with other diaspora groups.

In this context, our Consulate General provides them with the necessary moral support and shows on every occasion that the Republic of Turkey always stands by its citizens with all the means available."

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