75th UNGA President Bozkır: 83 Heads of state and 55 Prime Ministers expected to attend this year's UNGA

75th UNGA President Bozkır:  83 Heads of state and 55 Prime Ministers expected to attend this year's UNGA

Volkan Bozkır, President of the 75th United Nations General Assembly, whose term of office ends next week, evaluated his one-year term at the press conference. Bozkır said that he carried out his presidency in the most challenging period caused by the pandemic.

He will hand over his duty to Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, elected as the president of the 76th UN General Assembly on September 14; Bozkır also stated that despite all the challenges and the negatives, the General Assembly fulfilled its duties during his term.

Bozkır also expressed that the UN General Assembly discussed various draft resolutions in 101 meetings; 320 resolutions were taken, high-level meetings were held, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's term of office was extended during his term.

"The UN is the only global power standing during the pandemic."

Stating that he continued his duty in the deserted corridors of the UN due to the pandemic and that the meetings were held in a virtual environment for a long time, Bozkır said, "Frankly, I did not like these virtual meetings. It was quite different from the one-on-one and face-to-face meetings we are used to, but it was necessary due to the conditions of the period we went through." Bozkır noted that the UN is the only international organization that could survive despite all the adverse conditions.

"People trust the UN, but they must see reciprocity."

Bozkır stated that when he was in charge and went to the Middle East to see the situation of the refugees on the site and also to the Caribbean due to the hurricane, in all the countries he visited, people applauded when they saw the UN flag. "I respect all the flags of all countries, but the most respected flag in today's world is the UN flag. I have personally seen this on the official visits I have done. People like the UN. The UN has to do so much more for these people."

Stating that the UN should realize the affection and trust of people, Bozkır criticized the global organization for not standing by people enough when necessary. Bozkır said, "The UN steps in after the crises are faced, not before. The UN has the capacity to intervene before crises arise in the world. It needs to demonstrate this capacity. The UN must prevent these crises instead of sending the Peacekeeping Forces."

Answering the question of a journalist regarding what he will do after this, Bozkır stated, "I am still a member of the Turkish parliament. I am appointed to this duty temporarily for a year."

"The UN does not pay a salary to the presidents of the General Assembly."

Bozkır also mentioned the challenges faced by the people elected to the presidency of the UN General Assembly once they arrive in New York City, saying, "You are not getting paid because you are the president of the UN General Assembly. Your rent is not covered. I think the UN should pay a salary. The first problem you face when you are appointed to this position is that you do not have health insurance in your new country of residence. If the people appointed to the position come from a small country, they face challenges because they cannot receive a salary from the UN. Some of the presidents of the General Assembly who find themselves in this situation have to resort to other remedies. I trusted my own country for this duty. I was sure that Turkey would support me both on financial issues and since I did not have health insurance."

Which leaders will come to New York for the 76th UN General Assembly?

It is not yet clear how many world leaders will physically be there and which countries will attend the high-level meetings that took place on a completely virtual basis last year due to the pandemic.

The US called for the country leaders who will attend the high-level meetings of the General Assembly to be held this year to either attend via video conference or to keep the number of delegations at a minimum if they plan to attend physically. It was announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be in New York between September 19 to September 22 in order to attend the 76th UN Security Council.

Bozkır responded to a question regarding this attendance as such: "We wish for an utmost level of attendance of leaders to the General Assembly. The UN General Assembly is the most democratic platform in the world where leaders can express themselves, but there is also the issue of the host country. The US holds the opinion that attendance should be through video conferences. We cannot tell them to come and attend physically in this case. As of now, 83 presidents and 55 prime ministers are planning to come to New York. Twenty-six leaders will join via video call. Twenty-three countries are expected to be represented by their minister of foreign affairs."

Biden 9/11 Message; " Unity is our greatest strength. "

The United States is still questioning and trying to understand the reason behind the terrorist attacks of 9/11, even though it has been 20 years. In particular, the question, "Why have we fought in Afghanistan for 20 years?" and the consequences thereof are being discussed more openly by the American public. While the Biden administration states that the evacuation of 124,000 people from Afghanistan in a short span of time is a great success, the Republican wing expresses that many Americans are still left stranded, saying that the backgrounds of some Afghan refugees who arrived in the US should be seriously investigated.

In the first week of August, the relatives of the victims of 9/11 published a written statement, expressing they did not want to see President Biden at the commemoration ceremonies unless he gave consent to release  of classified information for the 9/11 attacks. Upon this, President Biden made a statement saying, "To uphold my pledge I made during the campaign, I am ordering the repeal of the confidentiality order about the 9/11 attacks and making it public." Thus, a crisis that might have arisen during the commemoration ceremonies was prevented. In fact, the relatives of the 9/11 victims want to know whether the Saudi Arabian government was involved in these attacks. Regarding this, Federal Authorities released first classified document last Saturday and will continue to share more documents  with the public within six months. However, it is likely that the sections that target or might target any country, including Saudi Arabia, will be censored. Therefore, it would be wrong to expect a significant surprise in the confidential documents to be released. As you may remember, President Trump's U.S. Attorney General, William Burr, rejected a similar request and cited factors that could threaten American national security as the reason for the rejection.

I was at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of 9/11 in New York City on Saturday morning, which President Biden and the First Lady attended. The President was visibly pensive as the names of the people who had lost their lives were called one by one.While the relatives of the victims were present at the memorial, other people were not allowed into the area without permission due to security concerns and the pandemic. A total of 2997 people lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, and 41% of those could not be identified. While only one Turkish citizen, Zühtü İbiş, lost his life in the attacks on the World Trade Center, I encountered many people like Turan Ayaz, an engineer working in the World Trade Center, who was able to save his life at the last moment.

I had the chance to interview some witnesses who experienced the 9/11 attacks in New York. I specifically asked them what has changed in the US over the last 20 years and what consequences they have seen. Kahraman Haliscelik,former Vice President of United Nations Correspondent Association, was the first Turkish Journalist to arrive at the scene of  collapsed twin towers on 9/11.What he has told me is that "The 9/11 attacks made the US even more aggressive. Instead of developing policies that would protect itself, the US took steps that would cause global instability. It is necessary to address the root causes of terrorism instead of the outcomes. This will only be possible with the implementation of new global socioeconomic policies by prosperous countries toward poor and developing countries.``. Another good friend of mine,Evgin Heath, survivor of 9/11 said that " In 20 years, the  terrorist attacks within the US and outside threats were prevented and I am glad that the war is over. " When I asked her opinion of the ending America's longest war,  she said  I am glad that the US has ended the war in Afghanistan, but I am sorry for Afghan women. When I see the Afghanistan situation, I again think that we cannot thank Ataturk enough." 

I condemn the 9/11 terrorist attacks once again and remember with respect all the citizens who lost their lives. As someone who was in New York at that time, I still feel the impact of that attack, which caused innocent people from the ages of 2 to 85 to lose their lives. In between classes at the university, my classmates and I were in a state of shock, and we tried to understand what was happening after hearing about the planes colliding into the twin towers. Next, the US entered a war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the following years were especially hard for foreigners living in the US. While I was able to get a job easily after university, for most of my friends, it was challenging to secure a job after 9/11, and they moved back to Turkey. The 9/11 attacks carried the USA into a new world where security and education, and social and economic importance were concerned.

The 20 years history of Sept. 11 goes far beyond military operations and foreign policy. It affected world politics and  world hostilities.I would like to share with you the most striking sentence of the latest statement of President Biden last week regarding the retreat from Afghanistan: “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan, it’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries," Now, instead of conducting military operations, it will be the right step to act in a more coordinated way with allied countries in the international arena and to act wisely against terrorist groups and countries that are a threat to humanity and the world.

Otherwise, if we observe what happened in Afghanistan happening in another Middle-Eastern or African country in the future, unilateral or unwise actions could cause significant harm to that country's youth, women, and future.

The New U.S. After 9/11

Even though it has been 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US continues to commemorate, discuss, and question the sorrowful aftermath of the incident. In particular, the eventful entry and evacuation of the USA from Afghanistan made the American public question if Afghanistan, which caused financial and emotional damage for 20 years, was the wrong target.

I had the chance to interview four significant witnesses who experienced the 9/11 attacks in New York. Their responses to my question of "What has changed in 20 years?" are as follows:

Cuneyt Gurkan, Businessman/Witness of 9/11 

- Following the 9/11 attacks, there were some changes in social life and culture in the US. People started to concentrate more on family life and made more choices regarding their domestic lives.

Even though these preferences are not radical changes that have been adopted by everyone, we can say that peoples' priorities have changed to some extent.

- US politics is not accustomed to radical surprises; it would be wrong to expect that anything that contains major surprises will be shared with the public when the balance of internal and foreign politics in the documents is considered.

- The situation in Afghanistan may affect the US in terms of terrorism. Taking a step back from leading the war, the US can now face terrorism on its own land and on American soil.

Kahraman Haliscelik,Journalist (First Turkish Journalist arrived to the World Trade Centers after the horrific attacks)

- The 9/11 attacks made the US even more aggressive. Instead of developing policies that would protect itself, the US took steps that would cause global instability. Instead of using the power of diplomacy, the US used the diplomacy of power. This brought along the development of the military industry, and, consequently, this growing military industry caused new wars. However, over time, the US realized that this cycle was neither beneficial for international confidence and stability nor served its own interests. The whole world has to keep dealing with the trillions of dollars spent, the countries destroyed, the millions of people killed, and the emergence of global terrorist organizations as a result of the US military's legacy of brute force.

In the end, the trust in the US has decreased. With the economic center of gravity shifting eastward,

- Local actors (such as the Taliban) who took over during the crises will try to meet the expectations of the world for a certain period of time in order to prove themselves. However, in the long run, the Taliban will follow the same firm attitude as before, which will bring along the emergence of new terrorist organizations. The situation in Afghanistan is extremely suitable for this. However, the new terrorist organizations that will emerge in Afghanistan will find space for themselves within the turmoil of the Middle East and will become more assertive in both the Middle East and Africa. The only way for the US to prevent this is to stay true to its traditional alliances, work closely with regional powers, and reinstate diplomacy.

- Terror has always been a global issue. The USA or the EU will never be exempt from a terrorist organization in Africa or the Middle East. It is necessary to address the root causes of terrorism instead of the outcomes. This will only be possible with the implementation of new global socioeconomic policies by prosperous countries toward poor and developing countries.

Elif Ozmenek Carmikli,Journalist

-On 9/11/2001, the most used sentence at the US press was "The US will never be the same!" This was, in a way, a big signal that the world order would change as well. On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we witness that this determination has spread into every area.  Analyzing from the micro to macro level within the US, we can summarize that only 1 out of 3 US citizens has a valid passport. Twenty years ago, only 10% of US citizens had a passport. So, Americans are not people who travel  the world very well. Many Americans formed opinions on 9/11 without any information on the Middle East and Islam.

-President Biden ordered the release of the 9/11 Commission Report.  Part of the freedom of information concerns realising  the important documents of big events in the history of the US to the public. It was Biden's campaign pledge to declassify the FBI files on the investigation of the 9/11 incident. In the news leaked to the media, it is emphasized that some documents reveal that Saudi Arabia had a direct role in the attacks. I have not seen a subject come forward in these documents that would feed the conspiracy theories. Maybe it will soon be clear how the plane to Washington crashed. I do not know how much of a surprise will come out, but the documents to be released will reinforce the ever-deepening security perspective.

-The situation in Afghanistan has dramatically impacted the US in internal and foreign policy and will continue affecting it in different ways; however, I do not think the situation will directly cause an impact on the US in terms of terrorism at this point. Providing that Russia and China win the international power war in Afghanistan, gaining power over the US, the Taliban would always pose a threat against Washington.  The Taliban can also use immigration to put pressure on the region's countries in particular and the West in general. The use and instrumentalization of migration as a weapon is a phenomenon that we encounter more and more. Immigration began to take on the same meaning for the West as terrorism does for many countries in terms of politics, economics, and security. This is a big problem that the Global North would indirectly face behind the truth of Afghanistan.

Evgin Heath, 9/11 Survivor : "We do not want war anymore."

- I was at the building right next to the World Trade Center, and we were impacted. I narrowly escaped death and still experience health problems.

- In 20 years, terrorist attacks within the US and outside threats were prevented. I am glad that the US has ended the war in Afghanistan, but I am sorry for Afghan women. When I see the Afghanistan situation, I again think that we cannot thank Ataturk enough.

- It is excellent that the classified investigation documents will be made public. We want to know who is directly and indirectly responsible.

A New Beginning

By Cemil Ozyurt - The coronavirus outbreak has altered life in the United States in many ways. The differential impact of COVID-19 was felt by low-income, immigrant, and other marginalized groups. As the coronavirus sweeps through the country, Pew Research Center has been surveying Americans to explore its impact on their lives. Job and wage losses due to COVID-19 have hit Hispanic adults the hardest. Most black and Hispanic Americans do not have financial reserves to cover expenses in case of an emergency. The COVID-19 economic downturn has made it harder for some Americans to pay their monthly bills. It was a tough period of time for us as well.

The Future of U.S.-Turkey Relations and Prospects in 2021

By Ali Cinar - For decades, US-Turkey relations have been carried on with a strength that has kept their vital strategic assets intact. The importance of Turkey’s geopolitical and strategic position and what it represents for the security of the West and the Atlantic Alliance has allowed the partnership to remain critically important. Turkey-US relations have passed harsh testing times before, from the Cold War to the Korean War and the Gulf War in 1990-1991. The strategic barrier between the East and the West that Turkey represented for the Atlantic alliance during the Cold War shaped Turkey’s Atlantic-centric foreign policy, formulations, and world view. Turkey has remained, for decades, as the crucial flank actor of the alliance and defended European security as the vital bastion.

How Covid Has Impacted The Real Estate Industry

Deniz Turkbas * - With the new year, comes new hopes and new aspirations. However, with Covid still in the midst, it is hard to tell how our hopes and aspirations will come to fruition. For those whose hopes and aspirations revolve around real estate, some may be happier than others. Covid has affected some positively and some negatively.  Although the tell tale rule seems be holding true, in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Ironically, Covid has changed what we consider a desirable location. When Covid began in March 2020, we all locked ourselves in our homes and we distanced ourselves from friends, family, coworkers and, well, basically everyone. Now, the four walls you lived in became your whole world. Your desirable location became questionable depending on the size of your living quarters. It’s desirable to live in a city where you can go out to eat and frequent Broadway shows. But as the pandemic caused social distancing, New York City restaurants were not allowed to serve people inside. During the summer months, this was not so terrible, as any resilient New Yorker, we all adapted to our new normal. But still many restaurants were unable to survive. We saw iconic restaurants close, such as the 21 Club. Founded in 1930, the 21 Club, known for its jockeys lined up in front, has hosted very president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, aside from George W. Bush, and its secret wine cellar was home to the private collections of celebrities and presidents including Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, and Richard Nixon, according to AMNY. Broadway shows closed. Needless to say, many establishment owners’ hopes and aspirations were hit hard with Covid.

South Florida Turkish Community Mourns Businessman Known for His Leadership and Championing of the Turkish-American dream

By İsmail Mahmut Ercan - This past year has been a difficult one for many families, as budgets have been strained, parents have become part-time teachers, and the emotional exhaustion of the pandemic brought the country to its knees. Worst of all, the sheer amount of death has brought a continuous period of mourning to this country, at a magnitude of which this country has rarely felt. The South Florida Turkish community was not spared of this sentiment either, although the mourning began several months before the pandemic began. In November of 2019, the community lost one of its best as my father, İsmail Hakkı Ercan peacefully passed away, leaving behind a legacy not just known, but felt and experienced in many people’s hearts.

Tony’s Art: Loud, Colorful, and All-Embracing

A talented abstract painter whose vivid and vibrant art exists in three dimensions simultaneously. Tony Şeker is a New York-based multicultural artist who was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1961 while his father was working at a multinational company. Due to the critical and unpleasant situation in his home country, caused by the civil war in 1975, Tony Şeker’s family had to migrate. First, they moved to Europe than settled in Ohio. He studied math in France and had an MBA degree from Rutgers University. He moved to Cliffside Park, NJ in 1977.

Moving from NYC to NJ Creates A High Demand

Julia Dağıstanlı has been selling and renting real estate since 2002. She has done hundreds of sales closings and transactions and had many awards recognition. She has been a salesperson since 2002 and a top producer year after year. Julia has been awarded the prestigious NJAR Circle of Excellence Silver Level since 2005. She was named the Re/Max Metropolitan 2008 Top Producing Agent. She has also been awarded by New Jersey Monthly Magazine the Highest in Overall Satisfaction Five Star Real Estate Award for the last 10 years. Only fewer than 1% of real estate agents in the New Jersey-area received this recognition.

She answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.

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