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"Politicians from Turkey and the U.S. comment two countries relationship and current problems, foresight future relations... Presidents, Prime  Ministers, Ministers and Members of Parlement  all speak to TURKOFAMERICA, share their experiences and views with our readers. All exclusive interview from Ankara and Washington, D.C...  

 

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Latest Developments of U.S. Potential Sale of F-16s to Turkey

The discussions in Congress after the meeting between the U.S. President, Joe Biden, and Turkish President Erdogan at the NATO Leaders' Summit in Madrid, when President Biden declared, "We must sell F-16s to Turkey," are still ongoing.

Jim Inhofe, a U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee ranking member, stated, "I support ongoing discussions. It's in the best interest of the U.S. and NATO to keep Turkey in the fold and drive a wedge between Turkey and Russia."

Democrat Senator Shaheen, Foreign Affairs Committee Member, said, "Turkey remains a valuable ally and a critical regional security partner for the United States and NATO. I remain committed to maintaining the already robust bilateral security relationship between our two countries. The F16 upgrade package submitted by the Biden administration - like any foreign arms sale - will ultimately have to go through a comprehensive review by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ensure that the deal will benefit our joint security interests. As a member of that committee, I will work with the committee and ask questions of the administration to thoroughly review their request." 

Republican Congressman Chris Smith, a House Foreign Affairs Committee Member, stated that sellingF-16 fighter jets and modernization kits to Turkey is an egregious mistake and would go against CAATSA.

Democrat Congresswoman Titus led members of the Hellenic Caucus in reaction to Biden Administration's statement regarding F-16 Sales to Turkey. Her joint statement with five of her colleagues said thatWhile Turkey's relenting on their opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO is a welcome development, there are still too many outstanding issues to move forward with the sale of F-16s to Erdoğan's government."

While Senator Graham (R-SC), who visited Ankara recently, stated that President Biden supports the delivery of F-16s to Turkey, many other Senate Foreign Affairs Committee members will wait for the Biden administration's facts about the potential sale to Turkey and then will make a decision. 

Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and four delegate members are currently visiting Turkey after a visit to Greece. The U.S. delegation includes House Foreign Affairs Committee Members Ted Deutch, David Cicilline, G.K. Butterfield, and Stacy Plaskett. 

35 House Representatives sent a bipartisan letter to President Biden opposing the proposed Sale of F-16 Fighter Jets to Turkey yesterday.

Biden administration's support for Turkey continues.

While White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "We've been very clear about the F-16. That conversation about the F-16 and Turkey has been around for some time. We talked about this several months ago. So there's nothing new. The president has supported that effort," 

"The United States supports Turkey's modernization of its fighter fleet because that is a contribution to NATO security and therefore American security," said Celeste Wallander, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, on a press call.

Regarding Turkey's demand for F-16s, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Jones, said: at the Foreign Press Center briefing "We support the sale, and President Biden has said that he is willing to work with Congress on this matter."

In September of last year, Turkey requested the purchase of 40 F16 fighter aircraft and nearly 80 F-16 modernization kits for its existing warplanes. 

The U.S. Department of State noted in a letter sent to Congress in March that “The Administration believes that there are nonetheless compelling long-term NATO alliance unity and capability interests, as well as U.S. national security, economic and commercial interests that are supported by appropriate U.S. defense trade ties with Turkey,”

It is not clear when Biden will meet with members of Congress on the F-16 issue; however, a delegation from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey is expected to come to Washington DC to meet with their U.S. counterparts shortly.

The Latest Update on the Biden Administration's China Policy

Journalist Ali Cinar shared the latest developments  on the Biden Administration's China Policy. Biden Administration is getting ready to announce easing in some China tariffs soon.

U.S. President Joe Biden has not announced a formal roadmap for establishing future trade and political relations between the U.S. and China since January 2021. After President Biden's comments supporting Taiwan's defense during his May visit to Japan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Loyd Austin stated that the U.S. has a "One China" policy.

To combat inflation, President Biden asked Gina Raimondo, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to work on removing some of the tariffs implemented during President Trump's Administration.

Similarly, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said some tariffs on China inherited from the Administration of former President Trump served "no strategic purpose" and added that President Biden was reviewing them as a way to bring down inflation. "We all recognize that China engages in a range of unfair trade practices that are important to address, but the tariffs we inherited, some serve no strategic purpose and raise the cost to consumers," she added.

According to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Washington will actively pressure China, the second-largest economy in the world, to alter its business practices. Tai emphasized that the U.S. "will not be indifferent anymore" to the rules of China.

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security Advisor, announced that President Biden and Chinese President Xi would communicate by phone within the next few weeks.

Western allies have become more cautious about China's actions. The G-7 Leader's announcement of a $600 billion Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment to compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative was a solid message to China. In addition, NATO has the first-time addressed challenges that China poses toward NATO's security, interests, and values under the NATO Concept document.

There is a possibility that President Biden may announce this week a rollback of some United States tariffs on Chinese consumer goods -- as well as a new probe into industrial subsidies that could lead to more duties in strategic areas such as technology.

Recently, Secretary of the Treasury Yellen held a virtual meeting with Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China Liu He as part of the Administration's ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication. Both discussed macroeconomic and financial developments in the U.S. and China, the global economic outlook amid rising commodity prices, and food security challenges. 

There is a possibility that President Biden may announce this week a rollback of some United States tariffs on Chinese consumer goods -- as well as a new probe into industrial subsidies that could lead to more duties in strategic areas such as technology.

No Agreement Reached Concerning China in the U.S. Congress

The House of Representatives passed the China Competition Bill in February and the Senate in March. It is predicted that the law will provide American manufacturers with $52 billion to reduce U.S. dependency on Chinese products like semiconductors.

In regulating the new bill, it is predicted that American manufacturers will be provided with a $52 billion fund to reduce dependency on products like semiconductors produced by China. Similarly, a $2 billion fund will be provided to promote the production of equipment like critical electronic devices, defense kits, and automobile parts. Supply chain and research and development exercises will also be supported.

Furthermore, regulations on Taiwan are included in the resolution. The issues of human rights and democracy in China, funding cultural exchange between the U.S. and Taiwan, and acknowledging Taiwan as a strategic component of U.S. policy for the Indo-Pacific region.

While efforts are being made to develop a final resolution that both parties can support, Democrats and Republicans are at odds. Democrats in Congress said last week that they believed nothing was standing in the way of them passing the resolution introduced by Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader of the Senate, and Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, if the Democrats' demands are not met, Republicans will not permit the passage of this resolution through their covert economic agenda.

Industrial groups, including automotive suppliers, have paid close attention to these disputes because they involve funding for developing these semiconductor chips. In a letter to Congress, the CEOs of numerous Fortune 500 companies expressed their support for the law's implementation regarding chip production.

Ali Cinar is a journalist based in Washington, DC. He represents Ciner Media US Group(Haberturk TV and Bloomberg HT). Ali Cinar was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was the youngest Turkish American to receive this award in over 30 years. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Communication at Liberty University

U.S. Senator Shaheen: "Turkey Remains a Valuable Ally"

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member, Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen, spoke to Bloomberg HT journalist Ali Çınar. Senator Shaheen said that as a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, she would look deeper into Turkey's F-16 request.

"We should sell them the F-16 jets and modernize those jets as well. It's not in our interest not to do that, and there's no quid pro quo with that, and it's just that we should sell. But I need congressional approval to be able to do that, and I think we can get that," President Biden said at a news conference after the NATO leaders' summit in Madrid.

President Biden's comments gave the strongest signal of the administration's support for the proposed sale of new F-16s to Turkey.

Senator Shaheen, who makes critical statements about Turkey, spoke to Ciner Media USA Representative Ali Çınar about the new sales of 40 F-16s and nearly 80 F-16 modernization kits for Turkey. Here is Senator Shaheneen's statement:

“Turkey remains a valuable ally and a critical regional security partner for the United States and NATO. I remain committed to maintaining the already robust bilateral security relationship between our two countries. The F16 upgrade package submitted by the Biden administration - like any foreign arms sale - will ultimately have to go through a comprehensive review by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ensure that the deal will benefit our joint security interests. As a member of that committee, I will work with the committee and ask questions of the administration to thoroughly review their request.” - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Members of the House of Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Gus Bilirakis, and Chris Pappas announced their disappointment with the apparent plan to modernize Turkey's F-16s.

Key Republican Senator Lindsay Graham backed the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Upgrading its "aviation capability will benefit Turkey, the U.S., NATO, and regional security," said Lindsey Graham on Wednesday.

While Turkish Parliament Members are preparing to visit Washington D.C. for meetings with their U.S. Counterparts regarding the F-16 request, the U.S. Congress will be closed from August 8 to September 5. In addition, Congressional midterm elections will be held on November 8 for the 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate.

What has come out of the NATO meeting in Madrid?

The Madrid Summit, a crucial summit in NATO history, was held, and the organization carried out significant structural transformations during it.

Negotiations on Finland's and Sweden's participation in NATO, NATO's 'Strategic Concept' that will shed light on the next ten years, the new aid package for Ukraine, strengthening the East Wing of NATO, and NATO–EU relations were at the top of the summit agenda.

In NATO's Strategic Concept document, China was included for the first time, and Russia was included as a direct threat. The document states that the war Russia started in Ukraine severely changed the security environment of NATO and confirms that the main objective of NATO is to ensure collective defense based on a 360-degree approach in the concept prepared within this framework.

The document emphasizes that the three basic duties of the alliance are 'deterrence and defense, crisis prevention and management, and collaborative security,' stating, 'As the backbone of our Article 5 commitment on defending each other, we underline the need for significantly strengthening our deterrence and defense duty.'

The document explains, 'Russia is the most important and direct threat to the safety of the allies. It strives to create impact and direct control areas through force, destruction, and annexation' and notes that Russia uses cyber and hybrid devices as well as traditional methods against NATO allies and partners.

It states, 'NATO does not want conflict, and Russia does not pose any kind of threat. We will continue to give response collaboratively and responsibly against the threats and hostile activities from Russia. However, we seek to maintain open lines of communication with Moscow in order to lessen and manage the risks.'

Referring to the requirement for stability and predictability in the Europe–Atlantic region and between NATO and Russia, the document states, 'Any change in our relations depends on Russia's stopping its aggressive behaviors and completely complying with the international law.'

In the new Strategic Concept document, China was included for the first time, and the following remarks were made: 'China's ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security, and values. While China uses a wide range of political, economic, and military means to increase its global footprint and project power, it remains uncertain about its strategy, intentions, and military background

NATO Gateway Opened to Sweden and Finland

The repercussions of Turkey unblocking and giving the green light to the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland continue to be observed. A triple agreement was signed to resolve the issues that threatened the national security of Turkey. The agreement stated, 'Turkey, Finland, and Sweden express their commitment to the principles and values set forth in the Washington Agreement. One of the essential elements of the alliance is the complete solidarity and collaboration in struggling with all forms and appearances of terrorism that pose a direct threat to international peace and stability in addition to the national security of the member states

With Sweden and Finland keeping their promises to Turkey, the membership of these two countries is expected to be approved by the council of all NATO member countries, including Turkey.

With thanks to Turkey, Sweden, and Finland, the Biden administration has stated that the NATO alliance will expand.

Biden–Erdogan Meeting

In an environment in which ups and downs have been experienced in Turkish–American relations, President Biden and President Erdogan spoke for an hour and ten minutes. In spite of these ups and downs, a message describing the continuation of a constructive relationship and indicating that the meeting had gone well was delivered in the White House's written statement. While President Biden has stated that F-16s should be given to Turkey, President Erdogan has given the message that the bilateral affairs will proceed favorably.

The common and close work of the two NATO countries will be an excellent step for both nations, and it will further strengthen NATO and promote the resolution of the problems in the region.

Thousands March for Gun Reform in New York

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who campaigned on a promise to end gun violence in the city, and State Attorney General Letitia James, who sued the National Rifle Association (NRA), also participated in the rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Adams and James led the activists on the march to the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Mayor of NYC stated, "But here's the real problem that many people face right now: the Far Left and the Far Right. By them shooting at each other, the victims are impacting our entire city. The Far Left is saying it's alright for people who are dangerous to stay on the streets with guns, and the Far Right is saying, let's get as many guns in the hands as possible. Those two entities are causing Americans and New Yorkers to be unsafe.".

Attorney General James said, "Nothing will happen in this country unless young people rise instead of the politicians."

Thousands of people took to the streets in Washington D.C. and other cities to demand stricter gun control laws following recent mass shootings, which left many people dead. The protestors called on Congress to act.

Last week, New York Mayor Eric Adams announced the creation of a gun task force ahead of the traditional summer surge in violence to combat the shootings that began across the city at the onset of the pandemic. Adams stated that the task force will be co-chaired by the founder of the Brooklyn-based anti-violence group "Man Up!" Andre T. Mitchell and Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright.

US Representative to the UN Continues Her Visit to Turkey

Stating that her first stop in Turkey is to meet with the members of the Syrian opposition-led civil defense organization known as the White Helmets, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, 'The White Helmets are helping Syrians in need by putting themselves at risk. The same courage is not needed for the UN Security Council to continue the flow of aid to Syria. It is enough to be determined to do the right thing.'

The UN cross-border mechanism, which ensures that the Cilvegözü border gate, through which international aid enters Syria, remains open, needs to be renewed in July with the UN Security Council decision. However, there is a possibility of facing a veto from Russia and China.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, who emphasized in her previous speeches that the border gate should remain open, also noted on her social media account that she had the opportunity to meet with Syrian refugees within the scope of her Turkey meetings.

'Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Syrian refugees in Turkey, the women and children whose lives have been turned upside down by the horrific conflict that has continued for more than 11 years,' the UN official said on Twitter. 'During these visits, I personally listened to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the urgent needs on the ground.'

Stating that she also listened to stories of hope during her visit, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said, 'I listened to the stories of Turkish and Syrian children who went to school together. These students study space in their lessons. That's why I surprised them with NASA-themed gifts.'

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also stated that in her meetings, she listened to the stories of Syrian refugees who had found a warm home in Turkey and been able to build a better future for their families and establish businesses that benefit their communities. 

The Permanent Representative of the USA to the UN visited the Antakya Science and Youth Center supported by the International Organization for Migration and talked to refugee children who are learning space and robotic coding there. Thomas-Greenfield is expected to continue her contacts today.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the UN Security Council to renew the authority of the mechanism that keeps Cilvegözü's door open for aid, saying that this is a 'moral and humanitarian imperative.' The United Nations reports that shipments from here have delivered aid to more than 4 million people. Russia is signaling that it opposes the renewal of the aid operation, arguing that it violates Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity and that more humanitarian aid should be delivered from within Syria. For the UN Security Council resolution to pass, nine votes in favor and no veto from Russia, China, the USA, France, or the UK are needed.

Pentagon Spokesperson Kirby: "We are very concerned."

Following the Turkish possible military operation in northeastern Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby says: "We are very concerned. We are in contact with SDF forces. This operation will have a negative impact on many issues".

After Turkey announced its 'intention to launch a new military operation in northern Syria', Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby shared Pentagon's concerns with the media members at the Press Briefing.

Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby stated that they are in daily contact with their 'SDF partners', the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terrorist organization and that the Turkish operation in northeast Syria will harm the safety of civilians, humanitarian assistance, and the continuation of operations against ISIS, which could draw the SDF of the region.

Pentagon Spokesperson Kirby, commenting on Turkey as a NATO ally and a valued partner, stated they echoed and supported the concerns of the State Department, though.

Kirby said he knew of no communications between the US Department of Defense and the Turkish Ministry of Defense at the senior level. However, if there has been a diplomatic discussion with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the questions should be referred to the Department of State.

Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby noted he could not confirm the reports about the new ISIS leader, Al-Quraishi, being detained in Turkey and said: "We've been looking at this all day."

TURKEY HINTS AT A MILITARY OPERATION


Chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish National Security Council (MGK) states: "Operations at our southern border are for national security concerns. Operations against terrorist organizations will continue."

United States recognizes PKK as a terrorist organization; however, the US does not recognize YPG-SDG groups as terrorist organizations.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Will Travel to Europe

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to Germany to attend the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting May 19–20. Prior to the meetings that will be held in Bonn, Yellen will visit Warsaw—the capital of Poland—and Brussels—the capital of Belgium—on May 14 and 16, respectively.

The Department of Treasury issued a statement saying that Yellen will inform her counterparts of the priorities of the US regarding its principle of multilateralism and economic recovery. It was also stated that Yellen would discuss the issue of increasing financial pressure by the US and its allies on Russia to end its so-called 'special operation' in Ukraine. 

Secretary Yellen will also discuss the issues of global tax policies and combating the climate crisis, strengthening international health services, and addressing the rising threat of global food insecurity resulting from Russia's war.

The statement from the Department of Treasury also mentioned that Yellen aimed to cooperate with partners and allies in these global matters and expected the same from them.

According to journalist Ali Cinar,Secretary Yellen also briefed the Senate Banking Committee on the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s 2021 report yesterday. Secretary Yellen's highlights:

-Banning abortion would be ‘very damaging’ to U.S. economy

-Supply disruption continues to hit energy markets.

-Russia's Occupation of Ukraine Increased Uncertainty in the Economy.

-Digital assets can pose risks to the financial system

-There is potential for continued volatility and inequality in global growth as countries continue to grapple with the pandemic.

What is the Uniting for Ukraine program of the United States?

President Joe Biden recently announced a program called Uniting for Ukraine, which aims to accelerate the applications of Ukrainians who fled their countries and sought asylum in the United States.

Biden administration officials stated that the new program, which took effect at the top of this week, will complement existing legal pathways available to those fleeing from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.

On April 21, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas stated that "the US Department of Homeland Security will continue to provide relief to the Ukrainian people while supporting our European allies who have shouldered so much as the result of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine."

What is the Uniting for Ukraine program?

The program allows US citizens and legal residents to sponsor Ukrainian refugees under different immigration statuses. The online portal is open to potential sponsors or organizations, and it accepts applications. The portal has received more than 4 thousand sponsorship requests so far, according to CNN.

Who qualifies under the program?

Ukrainians or immediate family members of Ukrainian citizens are eligible for application. Potential applicants must have been residents of Ukraine as of February 11, and they must have a sponsor in the United States.

What are the requirements of the program?

Ukrainians who wish to join the program must pass security checks, including giving fingerprints, going through an FBI name check, and passing through biometric screening, and meet public health requirements such as having the proper vaccinations before entering the United States.

Those approved will be allowed to enter the United States on humanitarian grounds. These people will be allowed to stay in the United States for two years, and they will be able to apply for work permits.

A DHS statement said that "the United States strongly encourages Ukrainians seeking refuge in the United States who do not have and are not eligible for a visa to seek entry via Uniting for Ukraine from Europe. This will be the safest and most efficient way to pursue temporary refuge in the United States."

Who qualifies as a sponsor?

US citizens and other residents who hold lawful status in the United States, foreign nationals who are beneficiaries of Deferred Enforced Departure, Temporary Protected Status, or Deferred Action, among others, can sponsor Ukrainians.

Sponsors must prove that they have the necessary resources to give financial support to the refugees. They also need to pass security and background vetting "in order to protect against exploitation and abuse." Ukrainian applicants will receive authorization only after every condition is met. These conditions include proving that the person or organization intending to sponsor them has the financial means to support them.

Who is not eligible for the program?

Ukrainian citizens already residing in the US are not allowed to participate in the Uniting for Ukraine program.

 More detailshttps://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/uniting-for-ukraine

NYC Mayor Adams Lays Out Gun Violence Plan

The ever-increasing number of gun assaults in New York is threatening the security of the city. Armed violence, which has increased during the pandemic, is driving authorities to take new measures.

Six police officers have died in armed conflicts in New York over the last three weeks. Incidences of armed conflicts in the city have increased by 38 percent compared to the first three weeks of last year. New York's mayor, Eric Adams, who has just taken office, has asked the federal government for help to prevent armed violence in the city.

Mayor Adams, who was chief of police at the New York Police Department (NYPD) for almost 20 years, stated that they would implement a series of measures to stop armed violence in the city, following an incident of armed conflict last week when one police officer died and another was seriously wounded.

Mayor Adams highlighted that five police officers died in armed attacks in January and said they would ask the federal government for help to stop armed violence in the city.

Mayor Adams stated that the police in New York were pulling out all the stops to prevent armed attacks in the city but that they could not prevent weapons from being brought into the city illegally. Following the statement made by Mayor Adams, it was announced that another police officer, who had been seriously wounded, had also died.

"Five times the number of weapons we confiscate are being sent into the city."

Mayor Adams stated that they had captured a large number of weapons brought into the city through their operations in New York. He said,  "The New York Police is doing its job and capturing thousands of weapons on the streets, but, despite this, the number of weapons in the city is not decreasing. We're capturing the weapons, but they're being sent out again. The federal government needs to prevent the trafficking of firearms to New York. If we don't work together and go after the arms dealers who are supplying the big cities in the U.S., such as New York, we will lose this battle. The federal government needs to step in and prevent the weapons from being sent to New York. We have to stop the flow of weapons into the city. We are capturing thousands of weapons on our streets, but five times more weapons arrive for each one we confiscate. This is not acceptable. There aren't any arms manufacturers in New York. We don't manufacture weapons here. The weapons are being shipped to New York from different places across the country. Even if we capture thousands of weapons off the streets, they will still find a way to bring new weapons into New York. Washington needs to help us and take action now to stop the flow of arms into cities such as New York."

 

"Patrols and checks will be increased."

Three weeks after taking office, Mayor Adams also announced his new plan to combat the increasing violence in the city. Adams stated that they would be increasing police patrols in the city and taking new measures to prevent the entry of weapons into the city.

Adams, who likened armed violence to a public health crisis, said, "We don't have any more time to wait; we need to take action. We need to prevent the factors which are feeding this bigger crisis. We will concentrate on the 30 regions where 80 percent of the armed violence in the city takes place. We will conduct more sensitive policing in these regions. More state and federal resources are needed in order to be able to implement this plan. We will cooperate both with the state police and the FBI to prevent the entry of weapons into the city. We will increase searches at the entry points into the city. We will increase spot-checks at coach and train stations, tunnels, and highways. We will work in coordination with the FBI and our other federal partners in order to hunt down arms smugglers. We will also increase the number of civil police officers on duty in the city."

New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced that a second police officer, who had intervened in a domestic violence incident in Harlem last week, had died. Police Commissioner Sewell said, "It is with great sadness that I am announcing the death of Police Officer Wilbert Mora. Wilbert sacrificed his life to protect those of others. He is even giving life to others after his death by donating his organs."

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