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American Friends of Turkey Have Been Announced

The event, supported by Turkish Philanthropy Funds and Turkish Airlines, honor a number of special people By Cagatay Okutan The event, supported by Turkish Philanthropy Funds and Turkish Airlines, honor a number of special people

The winners of TOA awards, organized by TURKOFAMERICA, the only Turkish magazine published since 2002 in the US, along with TOA Consulting, have been announced. This year, 39 “American Friends of Turkey” will receive awards in 32 different categories in a ceremony held at Harvard Club on May 30, 2018. In previous years, TURKOFAMERICA , in partnership with TOA Consulting, awarded ''The Most 50 Influential Turkish-Americans'', ''The Most Successful 30 Turkish-American Women,'' and most recently, “40 Turkish-Americans Under 40.’’ This year, “American Friends of Turkey” received their awards.

The event, supported by Turkish Philanthropy Funds and Turkish Airlines, honor a number of special people, including: actress Lindsay Lohan, who is also known for her support for the Syrian refugees in Turkey; Lola Zinke, wife of former American Interior Minister Ryan Zinke; former Congressmen Robert Wexler and Ed Whitfield, who founded the first Turkish-American caucus in the Congress; and James Jeffrey, former US Ambassador to Turkey

Cemil Özyurt, the Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of TURKOFAMERICA Magazine, reflected that friends of Turkey and Turkish people, who extend their unwavering support during a challenging period of time in US-Turkish relations will be always rewarded. Mr. Özyurt also mentioned that a group of 25 people have worked tirelessly to identify award recipients in 32 different categories, including: academia, business, archeology, literature, finance, and technology.

A panel of 18 prominent Turkish-Americans have selected the award recipients among Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, President  of the TAIK; Ali Çınar, President of Turkish Heritage Organization;  Uğur Terzioğlu, President of the American Turkish Business Development Council; Barbaros Tapan, journalist and member of Golden Globe;  Lincoln McCurdy, President of Turkish Coalition of America;  Mehmet Kırdar, President of Turkish Philanthropy Funds; Prof. Haluk Ünal, president of the Turkish-American Scientists and Scholars Association (TASSA); Mustafa Tuncer,  president of  the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MÜSİAD).


  • Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President (Mayor)
  • Victoria Barrett, Director of Desperate Hours (Documentary)
  • Katharine Branning, Author of ‘’Yes I Would Love Another Glass of Tea’’(Literature)
  • Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President for Middle East and Turkey Affairs at the U.S Chamber of Commerce (Professional Life)
  • Raquy Danziger (Turkish Folk Music)
  • Meg Davis (Turkish Folk Music)
  • Mona Diamond, Turkish Republic Honorary Consul General of Atlanta (Honorary Consul)
  • Jeff Engell, Lead Consultant of the Cyberpark Accelerator Program (CAP) in Turkey (Technology)
  • Glen Gilmore, A Forbes Top 20 Social Media Influencer (Social Media)
  • Deborah A Hazell, CEO HSBC Global Asset Management (US), Regional Head, Americas (Finance) 
  • James Jeffrey, Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (International Relations)
  • Patsy Jones, Board member of American Turkish Association-DC (Volunteering at Non-profit organization)
  • Bonnie Joy Kaslan, Former Honorary Consul General of Los Angeles (Honorary Consul)
  • Lawrence Kaye, Partner; Co-Chair, Art Law Group; Co-Chair, Turkish Practice Group (Art Law)
  • Andrew F. Littlejohn, Executive Director, JP Morgan (Banking)
  • Lindsay Lohan, Actress (Entertainment)
  • Prof Heath Lowry (History)
  • Marty Markowitz, Former Borough President of Brooklyn, New York City, (Tourism)
  • Justin A McCarthy (History)
  • Michael McMahon, Richmond County, The Staten Island District Attorney (Elected Official)
  • Dan K. Morhaim, Maryland House of Delegates.  (Elected Official)
  • Dr Demetra George Mustafaoğlu, two-time Grammy List Nominee and opera star (Art&Culture)
  • Shin Joong Oh, M.D., Professor of Neurology, The University of Alabama School of Medicine (Medicine)
  • William J. Parker III, East West Institute (Think-tank)
  • Brian Rose, The James B. Pritchard Professor of Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania, who he served as co-director of the excavations at Troy for 25 years (Archeology)
  • David Saltzman(Defending Turkey in Political Cases)
  • George Schieber, the founder of The Sena Eken Schieber Economics Award grants scholarships to women from Turkey, who are admitted to graduate programs for a Masters or PhD degree in Economics at an accredited school in the United States. (Philanthropy)
  • Annie Young-Scrivner, CEO of Godiva (Professional who works for Turkish Owned Corporate)
  • Soh Young Lee-Segredo, Korean American activist. (Community Leader) 
  • Brenda Shaffer, Global Energy Center (Policy Institute)
  • Ana Sortun, Executive Chef / Co-owner—Oleana, Sofra Bakery & Cafè (Turkish Culinary)
  • James Sparks, President of the American Borate Company (Businessman)
  • Jonathan N Stark, Managing Partner for Overseas Operations and Principal of Perkins Eastman Architects (Real Estate)
  • Robert Wexler (Friend of Turkey in the Congress)
  • Hon. Ed Whitfield (Friend of Turkey in the Congress)
  • Lola Zinke (Society)
  • American Friends of Turkey (AFOT) (Civil Society Organization)



Dr. Mark Meirowitz, Assistant Professor at SUNY Maritime College

Richard H. Berdnik, Sheriff of Passaic County

Cenk Öcal, Turkish Airlines New York General Manager,

James Knowles, President of Roger Smith Hotel


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