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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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Arms Rolled Up to Restore Safety in New York

After being sworn into office, Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York, the largest city in the U.S. with a population of around 9 million, sped up the process to return the city to its former peaceful days.

Having served as the chief of police in New York for years, Adams appointed Keechant Sewell, a black person like him, as the first female New York City Police Commissioner. At today's joint press conference, the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, and Mayor Adams announced that they would do whatever it takes to establish safety and restore the city to its peaceful days.

Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams announced that they would start with the subway for the city's safety. To prevent the crime that has been increasing in the last two years in NYC subways, the first step will be to beef up the police patrols underground and to deploy health professionals to get the homeless living in subways due to the pandemic the city has been grappling with for the last two years into shelters.

Hochul and Adams noted that the most important element of their new strategy to increase the ridership of the NYC subway, which has seen a drop in the last two years due to lack of safety, was to make the riders feel safe again. Mayor Adams said the police presence was crucial for safety, adding, "Since the riders do not see the police officers, they think the subways are unsafe, but they will see the officers from now on." Sewell, the first female Commissioner of the New York Police Department, stated that the new measures would significantly increase the visibility of the police officers in subways. "Our cops will be more visible in subways and talk to the riders. We will talk to the riders, saying 'Good morning!' to them and asking how they are and how their day is going," she added. "We will hear them and reply back."

Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams stated that, instead of the police officers, trained mental health professionals and social workers would take the homeless to the shelters.

New York Mayor Adams said, "The state laws prohibit the police officers from removing the homeless from public transportation by force. We want the New York police to help the homeless. However, the members of the parliament should review the outdated law. There is no separation between the subway system and the streets above."

Mayor Adams, also a victim of police violence, said, "Do not be abusive and unfair to the community. I promise to protect you, as long as you protect the community. But, I will not let abusive police officers hurt their fellow officers."

The current number of passengers in the New York subway is down by 50% compared to the pre-pandemic level. New Yorkers do not find taking the subway safe due to the spiked crime rate in the last two years. In 2021, approximately 500 people were killed in New York. Gangs have gained more control in certain parts of the city. City-wide crimes, including armed assault, extortion, theft, and looting, have increased compared to the previous years. In the last two years, the pandemic and the spike in crime rates have caused many people to move out of New York. New Yorkers are hopeful about the city being safe again with their new mayor, a former police chief, and their first female police commissioner being on duty.

President Biden signs the 2022 defense bill

U.S. President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes defense expenditures for the fiscal year of 2022 and was approved by Congress last month.

The $768.2 billion NDAA -signed into law by Biden- provides $740 billion for the Department of Defense (Pentagon), $27.8 billion for defense-related expenditures in the Department of Energy, and $0.4 billion for other defense-related activities.

The NDAA passed the House of Representatives on December 7, and the Senate approved it on December 15.

What does the bill include about Turkey?


Amendments to investigate and report on the utilization of drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh war and to remove the exception which blocks the aid to Azerbaijan were added to the NDAA.

The word "Turkey '' was mentioned once, and Azerbaijan was mentioned four times in the 2,165 pages long NDAA.

- Page 1089: A United States diplomatic strategy for 19 Syria, including a description of the desired diplomatic objectives for advancing United States national interests in Syria, desired end-goals, and a description of the intended diplomatic and related foreign policy means to achieve such objectives, including engagement with key foreign actors operating in 2 Syria such as Russia and Turkey

- $522 million Counter ISIS program in Syria and Iraq ($177 million support for YPG/PKK in Syria)

"U.S. - Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act" introduced by Menendez and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was also added to the NDAA.

The bill envisions full support for the military modernization of Greece,
approves and accelerates the sales of new U.S. military equipment and fosters cooperation between Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and the U.S.

The bill includes articles that authorize the President of the U.S. to expedite the supply and delivery process of F-35s if Greece decides to buy them from the U.S.

The bill also includes numerous articles about sexual assault in the Army, extremism, and fighting against racism. It also consists of a 2.7 percent increase in basic military pay.

The bill increases the minimum required time for someone who retired from the U.S. Army to become the Secretary of Defense from 7 years to 10 years. The requirement to become secretary-general is similarly increased from 5 years to 7 years.

The bill increases the annual military support to Ukraine from $250 million to $300 million. It also mandates $4 billion in funds for the anti-Russia European Deterrence Initiative and $100 million in military support to Baltic countries.

The bill stipulates that China's military moves in the region should be closely monitored. It requests the continuation of the defense cooperation with Taiwan as necessary and calls to ensure that the Taiwanese Army stays modern.

The bill calls for the formation of the independent Afghanistan War Commission, which will examine the 20-year war waged by the U.S. in Afghanistan following its withdrawal.

Turks in Mexico

We know that there has been an increase in illegal immigration from Mexico to the USA recently. It is also known that since Biden came to power, a total of 2 million people have passed through the southern border of the USA, and most of them have been caught. Are there any Turks trying to cross the Mexican border to reach the USA? We investigated the presence of Turks in Mexico and what they were doing.

We did an exclusive interview with Nurhan Korkut, a successful businessman living in Mexico.

When did you come to Mexico? Can you explain the situation of the Turks in Mexico? What are they doing?

I came to Mexico in 2011. I also bring silver jewelry from Turkey and sell it here and sell products for Turkey (Mexican coffee, Mexican vanilla, durum wheat). When I first came here, the number of Turks here was minimal, probably 40–50 people. When we come to 2021, this number is said to be between 1900 and 2000. However, 90% of the Turks who come here are married to foreign spouses.

The increase in the number in recent years is that Turkish companies have opened large and small factories and new workplaces, Turkish TV series played on TV, Aucun media is located here, and they make programs together with Azteca TV. In addition, as the country hosts international automotive giants, engineers come from  Turks (Volkswagen Audi, Mercedes Nissan, etc.). Turks are represented here very well, compared to the past, especially our Ambassador is very hardworking and successful, as well as the activities of Tika Mexico and the newly opened Yunus Emre Institute. It creates intimacy among the people.

Mexican people love and accept Turks. There is no racism or any exclusion. There is generally more respect, unlike Europe, and the interesting thing is that they see us as the first respected country.

We know that the Mafias in Mexico and their influence are great. Do they still have power?

The states of Sinaloa, Michigan, Tijuana, and Guadalajara in the north of the country are under the influence of growth and stronger cartels, and the Mexican president is keen on fighting them. Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generation (CJNG) was formed by the merger of large cartels and is said to be under the control of the Chapo Guzman family. Chapo Guzman's son was arrested in the past years, but his staff raided the police station and took him back from the state.

What is the immigration situation in Mexico and the situation of the Turks now?

Most of the people entering the country are from the south in the state of Chiapas, and now, thousands of refugees are going north as caravans, which are a problem in all cities. Most of them go north by train, bus, or on foot after passing.

The leading countries are the faquir Latín countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Ecuador. They are all concentrated in the north, mainly in Tijuana and the border states.

The only points through which Turks can enter Mexico are Cancun airport and Mexico city airport. They can arrive through THY and other airline companies, and then they can transfer inland. Visas can be obtained for Turks with a general passport, and the duration is 90 or 180 days. However, airport police can send them back later. For this reason, we are informed that many Turks were deported. However, of course, some Turks make mistakes and are unable to explain why they have to go to a hotel or visit a friend because of language problems. This only started happening in the past year, it never has happened here. In addition, the Turkish community here is in compliance with the law and does not get involved in crimes,

Besides, we see many criminal incidents of Colombians, Cubans, and Venezuelans. Also, we do not have any Turkish people caught or involved in crossing the border. If you come from Turkey and want to cross the border, you have two ways, either by air or by bus. There is no organization formed in this direction, and if you do not speak Spanish and go north, you will encounter many dangers, including being robbed. It is hazardous for you to enter this refugee caravan. In addition, the Turkish cartel and CJNG send support messages to each other in YouTube videos.

What kind of effort are the Turks making to try to enter the US illegally?

There are Turks who try to get in touch with CJNG, namely Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generation, and give between 3000 and 10,000 dollars to try to pass into the US via Tijuana. This is how we hear. The cartel brings you to the transit area, and you enter from there yourself.

Important Government Service Initiatives from President Biden

President Biden signed an executive order  to streamline and modernize various government services that directly affect Americans, such as retirement benefits, passport renewals, and tax returns.Since taking office, President Biden has stressed the government's desire to demonstrate its commitment to citizens. Monday's order is among the most tangible actions he has taken to deliver on that. During the Oval Office signing ceremony, President Biden said the order would enable the federal government to "put people first" and marked several promised benefits, including levying taxes, less cumbersome filing, and technology improvements to speed up security lines at airports.

"I know it sounds like a simple thing," he said. "I think it's pretty important."

In an information sheet published before the signing, the White House detailed numerous other examples of interactions with government "customers" that could be enhanced through greater online access and streamlined application processes.

"Whether it's researching vaccine safety information, requesting retirement benefits, getting health insurance, going through a security checkpoint, or checking the status of a farm loan application, Americans expect Government services to respond to their needs," the fact sheet said. [WE1] "But often people have to navigate a complex web of Government websites, offices and phone numbers to access the services they depend on."

The executive order identifies 36 "customer experiences" that could be improved at 17 federal agencies. The precaution concerns existing bureaucratic goals. Consumers often struggle to visit offices or make phone calls, and they frequently combat government-contracted mail and machinery delays. President Bill Clinton famously pledged to "reinvent government" with an interagency task force in 1993.

The types of high-quality interactions the American people should expect to have with their Government, and that the Executive Order addresses, include:

RETIRING

For the 54.1 million Americans who are over the age of 65, and the nearly 4 million Americans who become eligible for Social Security benefits each year, who manage their retirement and health care benefits:

  • Retirees will be able to claim their benefits online, receiving updates on the status of their application throughout the process.
  • Medicare recipients will receive personalized online tools so they can save money on drugs, manage their health care, access expanded customer support options (including an in-network pharmacy finder tool), and enjoy a streamlined enrollment experience with the Social Security Administration.

FILING AND MANAGING YOUR TAXES

For the 240 million individuals and businesses who file tax returns each year and the 167 million people who call the IRS for help: 

  • Filers will save time by having the option to schedule customer support call-backs.
  • Filers will be provided with new online tools and services to ease the payment of taxes, which may include automatic direct deposit refunds based on prior year tax returns, tax credit eligibility tools, and expanded electronic filing options.

SURVIVING A DISASTER

For the 25 million individuals, families, and small businesses who live through a Federally recognized natural disaster each year:

  • After a disaster, more survivors will be able to focus on helping their families, businesses, and communities because of streamlined assistance processes, rather than having to navigate a complex Government bureaucracy to get the help they need. Disaster survivors will no longer need to navigate multiple assistance forms across multiple agencies to get the help they need, saving time and energy to allow them to focus on their recovery and well-being. Survivors will have access to more flexible mechanisms to provide supporting documentation, such as virtual inspections and submitting photos of disaster damage from a mobile phone.

TRAVELING

 
For the more than 2 million daily passengers who travel through U.S. airports each year:

  • Americans will be able to renew their passports securely online, saving time from having to wait and the effort and cost required to print, go to a post office, and use a paper check. This new online process will be done with safety and security.
  • Passengers will have shorter security and check-in lines at airports due to increased use of technologies, like new security machines and computers with advanced screening features that streamline these processes.
  • Passengers with urgent, time-sensitive questions or concerns will find it easier to connect with and get help from the Transportation Security Administration through additional channels of communication.

FINANCING POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION

 
For the 1 in 6 Americans, or approximately 45 million people, who are managing their student loans:

  • Direct Loan borrowers will need to navigate only a single repayment portal on StudentAid.gov, so that they can apply for, manage, and repay their loans without having to visit multiple websites and manage multiple sets of credentials for different aspects of their student loans.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness candidates, including civil servants and active-duty service members, will be able to apply for the program with less paperwork than currently and without having to fill out forms with information they have already provided to the Federal government previously.
  • Students and borrowers can receive relevant recommendations for other benefits and services they may qualify for, like health care subsidies, broadband support, and food assistance, in order to connect them with support to lower additional economic barriers to post-secondary education completion.

MANAGING VA HEALTH CARE AND BENEFITS

 
For the 200,000 service members who transition to civilian life each year and the more than 18 million Veterans across the United States:

  • Service members and veterans will be able to use Login.gov accounts to access VA.gov and its information about the health care and benefits they've earned, and outdated and duplicate VA.gov sign-in options will be removed across VA websites and mobile apps.
  • Veterans and beneficiaries, and their caregivers or other designated representatives, will be able to access digital services through a single, integrated, and fully inclusive digital platform on VA.gov and a flagship VA mobile application so that VA’s customers don’t have to use separate portals, websites, or mobile applications when managing their health care and benefits online.

REDUCING BARRIERS FOR THOSE EXPERIENCING POVERTY

 
For the tens of millions of Americans who rely on critical safety net programs:

  • Low-income families can more easily enroll in Federal benefits and recertify their income status more easily across programs using direct certification, a process that automatically certifies income-eligible individuals without extra paperwork, instead of managing multiple, complicated processes that waste time and cause frustration.
  • Those navigating across multiple programs can expect a “no-wrong door” approach – interacting with one Federal program can help get them connected with other benefits and streamline enrollment for which they are eligible.

FINANCING YOUR BUSINESS

 
For the more than 30 million small business owners who may seek credit to grow their businesses and the 90% of U.S. farms that are small and family-owned:

  • Small business owners will be able to submit applications knowing that they will receive prompt and consistent service, such as reduced call center wait times, across Small Business Administration programs, including loans, grants, and certifications, because the agency will measure these experiences.
  • Farmers will be able to quickly and easily apply for loans from the Department of Agriculture with the support of digital tools, saving time, reducing unnecessary paperwork, and avoiding unnecessary trips to a county office.

SUPPORTING WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN

 
For women seeking maternal health care and nutrition access in the critical early years of children’s lives:

  • More patients will be able to get more automated access to their electronic prenatal, birth, and postpartum health records (including lab results, genetic tests, ultrasound images, and clinical notes) to improve their experience and support better care coordination.
  • For the women who deliver 43% of all births in the United States each year covered by Medicaid, patients will have access to safer and more equitable care because of strengthened requirements for maternal health quality measurement, including perinatal quality and patient care experience, and measures will be evaluated by race and ethnicity to better identify and address inequities in maternal health care delivery and outcomes.
  • 7 million women and their children, including half of all infants born in the United States who are eligible for benefits through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), will be able to grocery shop online, providing an alternative way to access healthy foods for their families.

MANAGING YOUR HEALTH

 
All Americans should be able to access the vital health services they need at the time that they need them. Under this Executive Order:

  • Patients will have increased ability to use telehealth with their doctors, connecting rural Americans, individuals with disabilities, or individuals seeking the convenience of remote options with the health care they need.

UPDATING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION ONCE

 
For the more than 30 million people who move each year, and approximately 2 million people who change their names each year:

  • Individuals who move their residences can update their addresses one time with the Federal Government and choose which other Federal or State entities they would like that information shared with.
  • Individuals seeking to change their names will be able to do so without having to appear in person at a Social Security Administration office, provide a wet signature, and submit original documents.

ADDITIONAL ACTIONS

  • USA.gov will be redesigned as a centralized and streamlined “digital Federal front door” so the public can get access to all Government benefits, services, and programs in just 1 to 3 clicks, taps, or commands from the USA.gov homepage, without navigating duplicate and outdated Federal websites. That home page will feature a new user experience based on the key life events, moments that matter most, and top tasks that Americans experience throughout their lives when interacting with Government.
  • Tribal communities will be able to expect more streamlined and integrated grants application processes, rather than having to provide information over and over again to the Federal government and navigate across multiple agency websites.
  • The Fish and Wildlife Service will provide more of their service transactions online, including for special use permits for National Wildlife Refuge System locations and several high-volume application forms required for individuals and businesses that import, export, or re-export animals, plant, and their products internationally. These transactions currently can take weeks or even months to process, and can require multiple paper forms to be mailed.

This Executive Order is a continuation of the launch of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) Vision, which prioritizes delivering excellent, equitable, and secure Federal services and customer experience. The PMA recognizes that improving the delivery, efficiency, security, and effectiveness of Government programs will advance equity, enhance people’s everyday interactions with public services, and provide greater opportunities for those who need it the most.


The Government’s primary mission is to serve. By placing people at the center of everything we do, the Government will be able to deliver timely, modern, and secure services to you – the people. We will rebuild trust in our Government, ensure no one is left behind, and inspire others to join us in serving future generations of Americans.

Reference:https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/12/13/executive-order-on-transforming-federal-customer-experience-and-service-delivery-to-rebuild-trust-in-government/

Dr Fauci: Three shots of COVID-19 vaccine is 'optimal care'

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President., stated that three doses of COVID-19 vaccine provide the most optimal protection against the COVOD-19, while data from South Africa on the Omicron variant of the virus indicate that the variant is less dangerous than Delta.

Saying that three doses of COVID-19 vaccine provide the most appropriate protection from the virus,Dr. Fauci noted that the two-dose ambassador RNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna and J&J company's single-dose vaccine continue to be the vaccine doses prescribed by the Biden administration for complete vaccination.

Speaking to ABC television, Dr. Fauci also noted that health officials would continue to evaluate what the definition of "total vaccination" should be. Asked whether the third-dose vaccine should be the new standard, Fauci replied that he thought it provided the most appropriate protection. Dr.Fauci noted that two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech's Moderna and a single J&J vaccine are still required to be officially considered fully vaccinated.He also said that after looking at the data, a third dose is needed to provide optimal protection.

"Covid-19 deaths in the USA have reached 800,000."

Conversely, Reuters news agency reported that the number of deaths from Covid-19 in the USA reached 800,000. It is thought that spending more time indoors due to the cold weather in the country and the Delta variant, which is transmitted faster, have affected the increase in cases. There are also concerns that the Omicron variant will further increase the number of cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, another important source in the follow-up onCovid-19 figures, Covid-19 deaths in the US are still at 797 thousand.

"Looks Less Dangerous Than Omicron Delta"

Meanwhile, Omicron continues to spread rapidly in South Africa, the country where it was first discovered. However, there was no increase in referrals to the hospital. Dr. Unben Pillay states that although she sees dozens of patients every day, she has not yet sent one of them to the hospital.

That's why he and other doctors and experts say Omicron appears to be less dangerous than the Delta variant of COVID-19, even if it spreads faster.Dr.Pillay says patients can beat the virus at home, noting that many recover during the 10–14-day quarantine period. This also includes the elderly with health problems.

COVID-19 in the U.S.:(Reuters)

Total Case: 50,011,080

Total Death Toll;800,153

Total Full Vaccination:202M

 

First Democracy Summit at White House

President Biden will be hosting the virtual Summit for Democracy between December 9-10, but Turkey is not invited.

The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken interviewed Efi Koutsokosta from Euronews while on tour in Sweden's capital Stockholm. When Koutsokosta reminded him that two NATO allies - Turkey and Hungary - will not join the summit, he stated that the Summit for Democracy was about renewing and reinvigorating democracies that are threatened from within or without.

Secretary Blinken emphasized that they were bringing countries together virtually to renew democracy at home and take concrete measures to achieve that goal. He stated that "but [we are] also looking at how we can be more supportive of democracies that are under challenge around the world.

"What we are seeing right now, unfortunately, is something of a democratic recession. There's been backsliding on democracy worldwide, including in Europe, over the last decade. And as a result, one of the profound challenges and conflicts of our time is that between autocracies and democracies, and democracies need to demonstrate that they can deliver and produce real results for their people. That's what this summit is all about."

In response to the question, "Is Turkish-American relations still at an all-time low? Has anything changed?" Secretary Blinken said, "We have a significant relationship with Turkey, and it's a NATO Ally. And it's not a secret that we also have differences, but we're working through those differences. We're also working to deepen cooperation in many areas."

Secretary Blinken reminded that he recently met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Çavuşoğlu and said, "President Biden met with President Erdoğan some weeks ago. We are committed to working through the differences that we have and working to strengthen the alliance that we have as members of NATO."

Details of the Democracy Summit!

The Democracy summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad. 

For the U.S., , the summit will offer an opportunity to listen, learn, and engage with a diverse range of actors whose support and commitment is critical for global democratic renewal. It will also showcase one of democracy’s unique strengths: the ability to acknowledge its imperfections and confront them openly and transparently, so that we may, as the U.S. Constitution puts it, “form a more perfect union.” In advance of the first summit, we are consulting with experts from government, multilateral organizations, philanthropies, civil society, and the private sector to solicit bold, practicable ideas around 3 key themes: 

-Defending against authoritarianism 

-Addressing and fighting corruption 

-Promoting respect for human rights

Participant List:

https://www.state.gov/participant-list-the-summit-for-democracy/

U.S. Warns NATO Allies of Possible Russian Invasion in Ukraine

There is a major Ukraine alert at the capital, Washington, DC. Russia's long-standing amassing of military forces near the Ukraine borders, in addition to Putin's steps to send some of the navy ships to the Black Sea, have increased the USA's concerns about the possibility of Russia invading a large portion of Ukraine. Yes, you didn't hear it wrong: a considerable part, including Odessa. So what is the U.S. doing about this? We found out that European countries within NATO, while warning allies such as Turkey that there is a small-time window to prevent military intervention in Ukraine, are also urging them to work closely with the U.S. in order to develop a package of economic and military measures to dissuade Moscow. American officials believe that It is unclear what Russia is planning to do with the military buildup near Ukraine. However, the buildup is taken seriously, and the U.S. does not assume that it is a bluff, meaning that the Biden administration is growing more convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering military action either to seize a more significant portion of Ukraine or to create enough instability to form a more Pro-Moscow government.

Last month,while the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Valery Zaluzhny about the military mobilization on the Ukrainian border and the possibilities. At the same time, it is good to recall that Avril D. Haines, the Director of National Intelligence, had traveled to Brussels last month in order to brief the NATO ambassadors about the American intelligence and possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Recently, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Lavrov met in Stockholm to discuss the tension in the region. There will be video call  next week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, amid tensions over the conflict in Ukraine.

On the US-Turkey side, the statements suggesting that Ukraine was also discussed during the phone call that the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had with President's Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin are noteworthy.Turkey is ready to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia but Russia already declined Turkey's proposal. We have seen NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg offer his own statements on Russia. Stoltenberg commented on the "large and unusual" concentration of Russian forces on Ukraine's border. "It is urgent that Russia shows transparency about its military buildup, de-escalate and reduce tensions," he stated.

Probabilities in Europe

With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany leaving the world stage, there is less pressure on Ukraine to make concessions. Without a coalition in Germany, there is not much leadership in Berlin. Rising energy prices have made Europe more dependent on cheap Russian gas supplies, especially as winter becomes more challenging and gas reserves in Europe drop further. Fear of losing access to Russian energy could limit Europe's support of tough sanctions. The U.S. wants to create a "common prescription" of actions they would abide by together with Europe, should Russia move against Ukraine with its military. While there are parts of Russia's economy that have not been subjected to sanctions, the United States will need to build support in Europe for new measures to be effective. We can say that there are experts stating that another factor must be taken into account: the West may not be able to take significant steps in new military operations since Russian President Putin knows that during the Obama-Biden Administration, the U.S. and Europe were inadequate during the annexation of Crimea. At the same time, officials say that the NATO countries need to be mindful that the Belarusian crisis and troop buildup on Ukraine's border are occurring at the same time.

Townsend, a former senior Pentagon official who is well-known to Turkey, said, "We have to be ready to be tough. Putin acts quickly.I think he likes distracting and stalling off. He has the chance to play a game. All eyes are on the Belarusian border.Meanwhile, he is putting together what he thinks might be required when going to Ukraine. We don't have to bomb anything. But we have to be clever in how we show our military capacity." 

Michael McCaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, said, "To respond to Russia's provocative measures on Ukraine's borders, yes, Biden should talk to Putin and at the same time send more anti-tank Javelin missiles and get the Turks to send more armed drones to Ukraine. Ukrainians must be allowed to defend themselves."

What Will Turkey Do?

No matter how tense Turkish-American relations are, the possible developments regarding Ukraine may require the two NATO allies to work closely. We know that Turkey openly condemned Russia for the annexation of Crimea. I assume that we will enter a period in which dialogues between American and Turkish military officials will increase. We can state that for more than a year in Washington, DC, there have been both official and civil security experts making statements on Turkey's power over the Black Sea, and the U.S. should work more closely with Turkey. I can say that I expect Turkey to comply with all the decisions made by NATO in order to avoid conflict in case of Russian military action. The question in DC is what NATO and neighboring NATO countries can possibly do about Putin's actions towards dividing Ukraine from multiple sides, whether from the land or the Black Sea.

I hope that mistakes were learned from the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. Ukraine's membership in NATO should be considered as soon as possible. If Ukraine were a NATO member, Russian would not dare plan to invade Ukraine, or we would not be talking about this unexpected development now. Let's not wait to see Russia illegally capture more land from Ukraine or other Eastern European countries. 

It's time that all NATO members unite stronger than ever.

U.S. Returns to U.N. Human Rights Council

The United States  regained a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, which President Trump  abandoned in 2018 because of what it called the body’s hypocrisy and anti-Israel prejudice.

U.N. General Assembly voted on the participation of 18 new members to the 47 member Human Rights Council. The U.S. was one of the countries that needed an absolute majority vote to win a seat on the council. As no country encountered competition within its regional group, there were no barriers to candidates joining the council. The United States received the votes of 168 member countries in the secret ballot held in the 193-member General Assembly, and it will begin its 3-year membership on the 1st of January.

The U.N. Human Rights Council members are selected according to geographical regions within the scope of the principle of equal representation. Members cannot serve in the council for more than two consecutive terms. The General Assembly selected Kazakhstan, Gambia, Benin, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Paraguay, Honduras, Luxembourg, Finland, Montenegro, and Lithuania as new members to the council voting that took place today. Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia, India and Argentina were re-elected to the council. The U.S. was the second country with the lowest votes, after Eritrea, which received 144 votes.

Stating that "the lack of competition in this year's Human Rights Council vote is a mockery of the concept of 'elections','', U.N. Director of Human Rights Monitoring, Louis Charbonneau asserted that "the election to the council of countries with serious human rights violations, such as Cameroon, Eritrea, and the United Arab Emirates, sends a very negative message that U.N. member states are not taking the protection of human rights seriously, which is the council's main mission."

U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated that Washington would primarily focus on "what can be achieved for countries with urgent needs such as Afghanistan, Burma, China, Ethiopia, Syria, and Yemen."

In his statement, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said, "Our goals are clear; to stand with those who defend human rights, to oppose human rights violations."
 

Mazurkevich: Ukraine needs to become a member of NATO.

Turk of America interviewed Ulana Mazurkevich, the President of the Ukrainian Human Rights Committee; President of the Ukrainian Community Committee, Philadelphia. She recently received a medal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Turkish - Ukrainian relations

I am so happy that Ukraine's neighbor Turkey has become a good friend and ally of Ukraine. I remember when Turkey was the first country to recognize the independence of Ukraine, when Ukraine voted on December 1, 1991, to become independent. 

 Turkey's and Ukraine's geography make it essential for them to have a close working relationship. After the invasion and seizure of Crimea by Russia, Turkey responded with strong condemnation of Russia. The human rights abuses that Russia waged and is waging in Crimea were deplorable. The deportation of Crimean Tartars, which is going on in Crimea, was first used by Stalin in changing the nationality of parts of Ukraine; the confiscation of their property, the closing of Ukrainian and Tartar schools, the mass arrests of activists this list of attacks against the Ukrainians and Crimea Tartars is never-ending in today's Crimea, which is under occupation by Russia.

Ukraine Relationship with U.S. and NATO

It is very important for Ukraine to become a member of NATO. Ukraine, in its foreign policy, is a strong ally of the West. Today, Ukraine stands as a bulwark against Russian aggression. It is fighting a hot war in the eastern part of the country. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians died or were wounded in this war with Russia. In this war, Ukraine stands alone. Many countries have voiced their support for Ukraine. I know that Ukraine appreciates this support. But, it does stand alone in defending its sovereignty. If Ukraine was a member of NATO, would Russia invade Crimea and western Ukraine? That is a question that is difficult to answer.

President Zelensky of Ukraine had a good and positive meeting with President Biden on September 1, 2021. In the Ukrainian Diaspora, we were encouraged by the joint statements issued after the meeting. Now it is up to the United States to deliver on its promises and for Ukraine to live up to its commitments.

There are additional things we would like to see from the Biden Administration. We would like the U.S .to revitalize the Strategic Partnership Commission and upgrade to the Charter of Strategic Partnership. We would like Russia to be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, which would be a strong solid blow to their economy. Of course, we would like President Biden to visit Ukraine shortly; a trip like that would send a powerful support for Ukraine.

Crimea is Ukraine

I defiantly think this will happen. Of course, it won't be tomorrow. But it will happen. It is too expensive for Russia to maintain. Once greater sanctions are implemented on Moscow by the United States and the European Union, this will speed up the end result. 

When I think about Turkey and Ukraine, I remember when I first visited Istanbul. The one thing I desperately wanted to see was the grave of Roxolana, the wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Roxolana was a young Ukrainian girl who was captured in a raid by Turks; she became the most powerful woman in the kingdom and advised Suleyman in his military conquests. In my Saturday Ukrainian school, I also remember that we would read stories about the Turks crossing the Black Sea, landing on the shores of Ukraine, raiding villages, and capturing boys and girls who would serve the Sultan. It was said that the young boys who were captured would become the fiercest fighters in the Sultan's army. Probably many in Turkey have Ukrainian DNA in part because of these raids. Ali, who knows, you might have a Ukrainian DNA link.!

Medal from Ukrainian President 

I was very honored and humbled to personally receive a medal (award) from the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, for my human rights work on behalf of Ukraine. It was a wonderful moment in my life, and I will cherish the memory and the beautiful medal. It's a gorgeous metal inlaid with amethyst stones. When we have an in-person Ethnic Council meeting will bring my medal to show.

'Maras' Letter To President Biden From the Senators

'Maras' Letter To President Biden From the Senators

The Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Democratic Party's New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the Democratic Party's Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, the Republican Party's Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and 11 other senators made a statement to condemn Turkey's efforts to reopen the Maras, Famagusta region of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In their letter, senators from both parties have called President Biden to pressure Turkey to stop its "provocative" actions by using bilateral and multilateral channels and explicitly expressing the possible consequences of Turkey's "illegal" activities. The senators noted that Turkey's attempts violate the United Nations Security Council's decisions. Turkey ignores the UN Security Council's and the Council of Europe's recent calls regarding Turkey's retreat from its decision.

In their letter addressed to President Biden, the senators stated: "You rightly shaped the U.S. foreign policy around the principles of human rights and the rule of law. Any attempt by president Erdogan and Turkey to reopen Maras or resettle in the region will constitute a violation of these principles. The United States and the EU must clearly show President Erdogan that it is unacceptable for him to violate United Nations Security Council resolutions and the rule of law".

The senators also stated that Turkey's steps in Maras are hampering progress in the United Nations meetings held in the 5+1 format to bring the parties to the table.

So, what is the position of the U.S. in terms of Turkish-Greek relations? 
 
It is a well-known fact that President Joe Biden supports Greece and shows great interest in the state. Biden calls himself an "Honorary Greek," which was the case even when he was in the Senate before becoming president. It is worth mentioning that the Greek diaspora thanked Biden at the panel held at the Congress in 2008 "for promising to always stand by the Greek-American community and for his long-standing support."

Is President Biden looking for alternatives?

From a military point of view, the U.S. only has a Souda Naval Base on the island of Crete. In the updated deal signed in October 2019, the expansion of the Souda Naval Base, the designation of Stefanovicio, Larissa, and Alexandroupolis bases to the U.S., and the opportunity to utilize every military base in the country with the approval of Greece are requested. Although the U.S. has mentioned an expansion within the scope of NATO operations, Washington's support for Athens in defense and the new military bases suggest a search for an alternative to Turkey.

However, there has been contentment for the last two months due to the defused tensions in Turkish-Greek relations under Biden Administration, and it is constantly expressed.
 
Journalist, Ali Cinar
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