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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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Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu and Secretary Blinken Met in Brussels

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had their first face-to-face meeting of 50-minutes in NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on March 23 and 24. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that "I met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
in Brussels today. I look forward to continuing cooperation with our NATO Ally, Turkey, in the fight against terrorism. I've voiced our support for exploratory talks with Greece and emphasized the importance of democracy and human rights."

The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, "We discussed all dimensions of our bilateral relations with the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a constructive meeting. We had a comprehensive exchange of opinions on the matters of Afghanistan, Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean, Iraq, Libya, and the fight against terrorism."

Minister Çavuşoğlu stated that the procedures for the purchase of the S400s by Turkey had been finalized. There would be no way back on this, but it also emphasized that another bilateral discussion would be held with the US party to resolve the issue. On the other hand, in the statement made by the Office of the US Secretary of State, it was announced that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had had further discussions with Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, concerning Ankara not keeping the Russian S-400 defense system. 
 
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu announced that his colleagues will work on a broader meeting to be held either in Ankara or Washington D.C by taking into account the conditions of the pandemic. Minister Çavuşoğlu said that the Turkish side pointed out that the United States' joint statement was not implemented following the Peace Spring operation in Syria. The rising attacks of the YPG-PKK were reminded one more time to Blinken. Stating they had some subjects in common with the U.S.A, Minister Çavuşoğlu said they dealt with all the aspects of the political solution in Syria and what both sides could do on Iraq and Libya issues in cooperation with NATO.

President Spokesman İbrahim Kalın and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone yesterday, the meeting between President Erdogan and US President Joe Biden has not set yet.

Journalist, Ali Cinar

'Turkey's regional power should be seen'

Turk of America Senior Diplomat Journalist Ali Cinar interviewed  Mark Kimmitt  16th Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Brigadier General (Ret) and Jeffrey Mankoff,Senior Distinguished Fellow at National Defense University.Both experts highlighted the Turkey’s importance in the region and  how the diloague should be rebuilt between U.S. and Turkey

Mark Kimmitt, U.S. Brigadier General(Ret)

What is your thoughts on this article when it comes to US-Europe relationship?

This should be seen as a signal that the US should align itself with its EU partners and improve the relationship with Turkey, particularly within NATO. In many ways, the EU is taking the lead on improving relations and the US will be left on the sidelines if it does not follow the EU lead. The US relationship with Turkey is “to big to fail”.

How Turkey can be distanced from Russia? 

It is Turkey’s choice to pick its allies and friends. There has been cooperation between the US and Turkey for many years, and the US must make the case that restoring the relationship in military, political and economic matters is to the mutual benefits of both countries, and superior to that of the Turkey-Russia relationship. 

Secretary Austin and Turkish Defence Secretary Akar have not spoken yet. What would we expect regarding future of Turkey-U.S. military cooperation?

“I would hope that the first item on the agenda would be the future of the S-400s. Fully respecting the right of Turkey to choose its own defense capabilities, I would expect Secretary Austin, as an old military commander, to attempt to find a “middle ground” on S-400s that would satisfy both sides, as well as NATO

Jeffrey Mankoff - National Defense University (expert in Russia):

-President Joe Biden's trouble with Russia goes back to the 2016 Presidential elections. The recent intel reports on the presidential elections of Russia further angered the Biden administration,

I don't think the Biden administration will impose economic sanctions on Russia. Because Washington had recently imposed personal sanctions on Russia due to the Russian opposition Alexey Navalny,

Russia also has no expectations from the Biden administration. So Putin does not expect a positive agenda to emerge.

It was a tricky question that the journalist told Biden unexpectedly, "Is Putin, a murderer?"

There was a tension last week experienced in talks with Chinese officials in Alaska.

Turkey is not the old Turkey. The West should not see Turkey as a old Turkey like from 20-30 years ago.  do not have 20-30 years. Turkey is getting stronger in the region for sure. Although there are disagreements in Turkish-Russian relations, there seems to be encouraging cooperation.

***Ali Cinar's interviews were published on CNNTurk and Milliyet Newspaper.

Journalist, Ali Cinar

Foreign Policy Priorities for the BIDEN Administration and Repair of Global Alliances

Putting democracy, diplomacy, multilateralism, and restoration of alliances at the center of the foreign policy plan with President Biden, the U.S. is trying to correct the erosion of America's image on international platforms in order to resolve the concerns caused by Trump's "America First" doctrine among its allies and to strengthen the alliances. Emphasizing the phrase "America is back," especially in events closely followed by the international community, such as America's reintegration into the Paris Agreement, which was one of his first actions, President Biden has shown that America will lead global issues that require international responsibility and return to the global leadership race.

During his speech at a university in New York in 2019, Biden said, "To me, foreign policy is domestic policy, and domestic policy is foreign policy. They are deeply connected." He added that U.S. security depends directly on "having the strongest network of partners and alliances working alongside one another." Especially since almost all of the National Security and Foreign Policy team was formed during President Obama's term, President Biden knows very well the mistakes made in the past. Likewise, he is also aware that with the COVID-19 outbreak, different dynamics are now emerging in many regions, including the Middle East. In this regard, while talking about American foreign policy's priorities, Secretary of State Antony Blinken's most recent statement, "We are against military coups, we will promote democracy globally," is a very remarkable one. This is particularly important because, in many countries, including Turkey, the perception that the U.S. would overthrow the government using different methods has taken root. Secretary Blinken also underlined that building lasting peace, even in Afghanistan and the Middle East, is now more important than military power.

For the first time since he took office, Biden had the opportunity to express his expectations of Europe and his views on the agenda he wants to create to strengthen transatlantic relations at the Munich Security Conference with the virtual participation of leaders such as the German Chancellor Merkel, French President Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the NATO Secretary-General, the President of the European Commission, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the President of the Council of Europe. Expressing America's determination to act together with NATO and its allies against global threats, Biden expressed his satisfaction with the investments made in Europe for developing military capacity and sharing the burden in the field of defense.

One of the important headlines at the summit, which was also included in Biden's agenda, was on China. Many actors in the global system have recently considered the relationship between NATO and Europe. Addressing the long-term strategic competition with China, Biden pointed out the struggle between democracies and autocracies in China and Russia, based on the approach that democracy is an important component of foreign policy. The Chinese issue is increasingly coming to the fore as a matter prioritized by the Biden administration in terms of national security. The fact that the largest team in the White House Security Council is the Indo-Pacific team shows that China is considered a threat, and the region is growing in importance for the United States. In this context, it seems that China is the priority for U.S. foreign policy.

Because Blinken had described China's relations with the U.S. as "The biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century" as well, the fact that the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Secretary of State Antony Blinken's first international trip will be to Japan and South Korea shows how much importance they attach to Asia-Pacific. This first trip, which is expected to be a threat, can also be perceived as the message "We won't let them run riot."

Returning to the Munich Security Conference, the general picture that emerged was that the main actors in the international system expressed their expectations from each other now that America was back and tried to determine to what degree their expectations fell in line with each other. We see that Biden has been trying to show that he wants to build on democracy and unification of foreign policy, as he did to domestic policy. Particularly, Biden's call for the Western alliance to act jointly against existing threats and to unite on the basis of common values and democracy can be considered a cross-reference to the disagreements with the Western ally.

It is expected that Biden will make the same statements on every platform where he finds an opportunity to resolve the disagreements with Macron and Merkel and to persuade European leaders to find joint solutions regarding how to compete with China, restructuring and strengthening NATO. Europe's attitude at this point will also be decisive for the future of transatlantic relations. Likewise, an agenda with broader topics such as "strategic autonomy," an independent Europe, a Europe that does not want to be caught in the U.S.–China trade wars awaits us.

Within the scope of the NATO 2030 plan, America's willingness to work in harmony with Europe on the subjects of restructuring and strengthening the alliance, social health policies in the fight against the pandemic, destructive technological developments, China's rise, Russia's threat, climate change, global terrorism, supporting democracies, reshaping global supply chains and especially the approaches of Germany and France, who are among the important actors of the European Union, on these issues, will also be decisive in terms of how these affairs will develop.

We are in a multipolar international system where the balance of power and alliances change in the face of shifting common interests and threats, technology production plays a critical role in shaping states' national security policies, and where we experience a different dimension of globalization. As emphasized at the Munich Security Conference, with COVID-19 in this new era, in which security will be defined in a much broader sense and will shift from a narrow military-focused approach to a much broader approach; social health, food security, and the climate crisis have become issues related to national security, and the importance of global alliances, transatlantic relations, and international solidarity has been increasing. It is becoming increasingly important that all actors agree on the vision that global issues such as the pandemic, the climate crisis, nuclear disarmament, and the refugee crisis are to be solved not through the singular protectionist and nationalistic policies of the states but through the policies they produce thanks to international cooperation, burden-sharing, and solidarity.

In view of all these internationally changing dynamics, in the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance recently announced by the White House administration, we notice statements that point to the fact that the most powerful U.S. military presence will be in the Pacific region and Europe. This document points that many issues, from China and Russia becoming threats to the U.S. to climate change, rising racism, and technological developments, pose a big problem for the United States. In the document, which points out that the U.S. should shape the future of the international system, the importance of alliances is emphasized notably. President Biden's inclination toward re-entering the Paris Agreement, becoming a member of the World Health Organization again, and sending out the message that "America is back" gives us clues that, after all, he will pursue a foreign policy in cooperation with allies. As expected, in the document, it is emphasized that the U.S. attaches great importance to Israel's security in the Middle East, Iran will be dissuaded from threatening other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the fight against terrorism will continue. It is also stated that the deficit in the defense budget will be met, and the government will work in coordination with Congress for the army to use technology at the ultimate level.

This era, in which American foreign policy will be shaped together with the allies and transatlantic relations will come to the forefront, also presents opportunities where new partnerships can be forged against new foes in areas where there are existing difficulties and traditional cooperation. These areas include the fight against ISIS in the Middle East, the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan within the NATO framework (Blinken's letter to Afghan leaders, where Turkey was asked to be a host is important in terms of our relations), the security of the Black Sea against the Russian threat, and the facilitation of negotiations with Iran. In order to benefit from all these opportunities, mutual trust, understanding, and sincerity have to be re-established on a higher level and between the institutions.

However, President Biden has not yet had a phone call to President Erdogan since he took office. Relevant meetings took place only between Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Although President Biden started the second round of phone calls with various presidents across the world, the fact that he has not yet called Turkey led to a series of speculations. First, President Biden has concentrated most heavily on domestic policy and the struggle against the pandemic. Turkey, like many countries, is not among Biden's priorities. However, President Biden is a leader who knows Turkey well, with him having visited Turkey four times during his vice presidency. We also know him as a name who has met President Erdogan many times. Currently, the most important problem of Turkish-American relations is the trust issue. The two NATO allies still don't trust each other. Reservations about YPG-PKK, S400/F35, Syria, and human rights in Turkey could be the first agenda items that come to mind. President Biden's remarks against Turkey during his campaign period are the reasons for tension, as well as Turkey's and Russia's intimacy. However, the multi-dimensional nature of Turkish-American relations should not be forgotten. Even though security is the backbone of the relationship of two countries, joint opportunities for innovative collaborations in the field of trade, education, culture, energy, and technology are also on both their agenda.

From the point of view of the U.S., while Congress members have sent three different letters against Turkey to the White House administration, 86 Congress members, who are Turkish friendship group members, also signed those letters. With each passing day, negative Turkish perception increases in Washington D.C., and anti-Turkish groups' common action plays a role in this matter. The action to be taken here is to overcome the problem of trust and to initiate a clear dialog. The closer relations Turkey will establish with Russia and Iran conflict with the interests of the U.S. and other Western countries. Solving problems within the NATO alliance, and Turkey working closely with the U.S. as it did in the past, will be appropriate.  In this context, establishing close relations with the European Union and developing multi-dimensional relations with the Asia-Pacific region, Turkey will continue to be an important ally of the U.S.

Ali Cinar, Senior Foreign Policy Expert and a 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipient.Cinar is also Senior Diplomatic Correspondent at Turk of America.

Selma Bardakci, Senior Foreign Policy Expert and Atlas Corp. Alumni (State Department is one of the sponsors of Atlas Corp.)

*** This article has published on The Media Line (Reference) 

On 18 Mar 2021 Thu at 01:30 ALI CINAR

U.S. Policy Toward the South Caucasus under Biden Administration

Ali Cinar, the Senior Diplomatic Correspondent at Turk of America, interviewed U.S. Officials(retired) and experts on U.S. Policy towards the Southern Caucasus. The South Caucasus is becoming one of the most dynamic geostrategic regions of the globe, reflecting the long-term interests of the United States.

Michael Repass, U.S.General(Ret.)

-We have a new administration as a result of the presidential election. They are still forming their foreign policy team and working out their direction in national security. 

-I have the following to offer what the US and Turkey can do as allies in the NK region. 

a)First, Turkey is doing the important task of peacekeeping--observing, reporting, and facilitating compliance and violations of agreed-upon principles and practices. I personally think that Turkey should be more involved in that endeavor as a counterpoise to Russia's outsized presence and involvement, but this is a matter of the agreed-upon framework for the ceasefire and other terms that ended the conflict. b)Second, the U.S., Turkey, and Azerbaijan have cooperated and worked on regional issues in important areas, which should continue. I specifically think the three nations could develop an offramp for the peacekeeping operation and return to normalcy on the ground without outside presence and enforcement. The departure of Russian and Turkish peacekeepers from NK should be taken to complete the restoration of Azerbaijan's borders and the status quo ante and by international law. 

c)Third, Turkey and the US should work with regional partners to identify methods and strategies to secure energy pipelines and ensure they can transport Central Asian energy to markets farther to the west. Fourth, Turkey and the U.S. should work to develop public-private partnerships to develop the economy of NK. This will be foundational to reestablishing the region's economy and making life sustainable and livable for the residence regardless of their national allegiances. 

d)Finally, I think there might be some work to be done with humanitarian demining and reduction of the military fortifications in the area, which could help safely restore the land to economic use. Both the U.S. and Turkey could sponsor and facilitate such operations.

Robert Cekuta, U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan(retired) 

-OSCE Minsk Group will play an important role in bringing peace as a tool

-There is a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, but there is no peace yet. The USA can play a leading role in establishing this peace process.

- Russia has a strong military presence in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia

-The gas agreement between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan is also a hope for the west.

Jeanene Mitchell, Washington University

-The Biden administration has some very experienced people working on Caucasus issues

-In my opinion, what is important is that America uses its power to be seen as a fair interlocutor. That means making both sides a little uncomfortable, I think. But I believe this administration will take a balanced approach to move forward under the new status quo to foster peace in the region

-When the Biden campaign issued their statement on the NK conflict, I actually didn't have as much of a problem with it as some people did. I thought he called out both sides, which is necessary because both sides have suffered and both sides have committed injustices against the other. That is a simple fact and has to be accepted to move forward.

-In Karabakh, there are no 100% winners. The big "win" for AZ, though, was getting back the occupied territories and Shusha as well as Lachin compromise

-I think that AZ and AR and the world has to stop seeing this as a zero-sum game where one side has to lose for the other to win

-In NK itself, the fact is that Armenians and Azerbaijanis will have to live together there even when the status is settled

-So winning to me is a status for NK that acknowledges it as AZ territory but gives Armenians cultural rights and a true guarantee of living in safety and peace, and this will take time

-But I believe the US has soft power tools that Russia doesn't to bring economic development and prosperity to the region

-The more development that happens, the more people will be committed to peace's economic benefits, and the less need there will be for the Russian military force. Russia doesn't have a reputation for leaving once it arrives somewhere. I believe that if things are done correctly, military power will be balanced by the kind of power needed for long-term peace in the region.

Efgan Nifti, Director, Caspian Policy Center

 -The new Biden Administration is not yet fully formed, and many critical positions have not yet been appointed on regional issues. Therefore, it is difficult to say what would be Biden Administration approach to S.Caucasus policy 

-However, recent developments in the NK war, political developments in Georgia, and the military coup attempt in Armenia are already settled before the Biden officials are fully seated. 

-Although the Caucasus region is small for the U.S compared to China, Iran, and NATO, it is not difficult to guess that the Biden administration will try to be effective in the Caucasus and other geographies with the motto "America is back". 

- The winner is Azerbaijan in the NK war. Also, - Armenia will benefit from the peace process in the future. 

-U.S. had taken an active role in the negotiations aimed at the Minsk Group's solution for the NK problem. However, the U.S. did not show much political interest during the November 3rd presidential election. , 

-I think that the U.S. will make efforts to establish permanent peace, especially by working with Azerbaijan and Armenia, and will try to play an active role in the post-war rehabilitation process.

-Turkey's role as NATO as a member was significant during the NK war.

-I think that Armenia will be "encouraged" by the U.S. to take steps towards permanent peace with Azerbaijan and integrate it into economic projects.

- Azerbaijan is a significant and strategic country for the U.S, especially in the field of energy and security

-The Biden administration will be in a different approach than the previous administration, but I think that close cooperation will continue on bilateral relations issues. 

President Biden addresses nation, sets May 1 target to have all adults vaccine-eligible

President Joe Biden pledged that all Americans would be eligible to be vaccinated by May 1, and the nation would be on a path to get "closer to normal" by July 4, America's Independence Day.

President Biden chose the first anniversary of the announcement of the Coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic to deliver his first prime-time speech to the public since taking office on January 20. Offering fresh hopes to Americans who has suffered the highest death toll, and have been struggling with massive health and economic crises for the last year, Biden, announced during his speech that his vaccination strategy would gradually relax all the restrictions currently applied to certain age and health groups and make all adult Americans eligible for vaccination.

President Biden announced moves to speed vaccinations, increase the number of vaccination centers and expand the definition of vaccine experts within the scope of his administration's vaccination strategy. In this context, it has been planned to transform 950 social health centers and 20 thousand pharmacies into vaccination centers; giving many healthcare professionals such as dentists, emergency medical technicians, midwives, optometrists, paramedics, physician assistants and medical school students a right to be vaccinators. Biden will also assign 4 thousand more soldiers to help vaccinate and the number of soldiers serving in this capacity will be increased to 6 thousand.

Underlining that nearly 530 thousand Americans lost their lives due to Coronavirus for the past year, President Biden noted that the number of American deaths from Covid-19 was higher than the death toll from World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the September 11 attacks combined. “While it was different for everyone, we all lost something,” Biden said, calling what happened “a collective suffering and sacrifice.”

Saying that supplies of the vaccines will be increased, Biden announced that he will direct states and territories to make all adults eligible for vaccination by May 1 without being subject to any restriction.

 

Current Covid-19 Numbers:

Total Cases:29,400,000

Total Death Toll: 535,000

Vaccine Administered:103 million

New China Task Force In Pentagon

During President Biden' visit to the Department of Defense after taking office, President Joe Biden announced that  he will re-evaluate Pentagon’s China strategy and that a task force has been established within the department for this purpose. Biden noted that the sensitive areas to be reconsidered include intelligence, technology, and the US military presence in the region.

In addition to the China Strategy, Pentagon is making assessments on various issues such as the positioning of troops in the Middle East and its NATO policy.

Under former President Trump's administration, the China policy was one of the Pentagon's top priorities. The Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signaled that this orientation will continue. During his visit to the Pentagon, Biden stated that the Department of Defense  established a task force to work on a China strategy. President Biden declared that cooperation between Departments in the government, bipartisan support at Congress, and strong partnerships are required to resolve China issues.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner was announced as the director of the Task Force. The task force will evaluate various subjects, particularly strategy, operational matters, technology, structuring, locating, and management of military forces, intelligence, US partnerships and alliances, and ministry-level relationships with China.

The 15-member task force established at the Pentagon is expected to present its suggestions and recommendations to the Secretary of Defense within four months. The Department of Defense will discuss these recommendations with Congress and other relevant authorities.

Last week, two US aircraft carriers conducted joint military exercises in the South China Sea, and in return were accused by China of "disrupting peace and stability".

The US accuses China of establishing a military presence in the South China Sea and intimidating its neighbors such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. All of these countries claim sovereignty on the resource-rich waters of the region.

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said that US forces in Syria are focused on the fight against ISIS and that, contrary to former President Donald Trump's policy, have no responsibility to protect oil reserves.

John Kirby noted that US troops were not involved in the regional conflict since a US firm started working with Kurdish people to extract oil in northern Syria last year.

Addressing the relations of 900 US Army members with oil companies, Kirby stated that "they are not authorized to offer support to any private company or its employees operating on oil resources in Syria".

Secretary Blinken: “It’s a new day for America and the world.”

The new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in his first press conference after taking office, has remarked that "the free press is the cornerstone of democracy." Secretary Blinken announced that daily press briefings would resume starting from next week.He added” We'll strengthen this indispensable institution, lead with the power of our example, and put a premium on diplomacy with our allies and partners to meet today's challenges. I’m excited about all that’s ahead.”

In the Q&A section of the press conference, the first phone call between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the demonstrations which took place after Russia's opposition leader Alexey Navalny was taken into custody on his return from Germany, where he was treated after being poisoned, came into question. Secretary  Blinken said: "It is shocking that the Russian government is so scared of just one man."

He added   "We have already expressed our concerns regarding Navalny and the human rights issues in Russia. It is striking to me that the Russian government is so concerned and even scared of just one man. We investigate all the steps taken by Russia that cause concern on our side. Navalny's voice is the voice of many Russian citizens. His voice should be heard and not be silenced. We are worried about Navalny's safety."

Arms sale deal with UAE is temporarily suspended.

The Biden administration has also temporarily suspended some of the arms sale deals initiated during Trump's presidency. These include a $3 billion F-35 sales deal with the United Arab Emirates commenced during Trump's presidency, in return for a normalization agreement with Israel.

Democrats in Congress strongly opposed the sale of weapons to Arab countries in this regard. However, the attempt in the Senate to block the sale of weapons was fruitless.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that "it is a common development for the new management to review any weapons sales to see whether they are compatible with our strategic interests."

China has also come up.

When asked during the conference whether he shared this view, Antony Blinken said, "My assessment will be in this direction. Steps such as the forced retention of men, women, and children in concentration camps and being trained to adhere to Chinese Communist Party ideology, point towards genocide".

The fate of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that if Iran starts to fulfill its obligations under the agreement, the US will also fulfill its obligations, and this will be used as a platform to create a longer-term commitment with the partners of the USA, but that the USA currently is far from this point.

Normalization between Israel and Arab countries

Secretary Blinken reiterated his support for the Abraham Agreements, signed for the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries such as Bahrain and UAE.

"It is a positive development that Israel normalizes its relations with its neighbors," said Blinken.

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken held a phone conversation with the following countries foreign ministers:Mexico,Canada, Japan, South Korea,Germany,India,Iraq,France,Philippines, Australia ,Jordan, UK, Thailand,Italy and Israel

Secretary Blinken has also spoken with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg  and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Joseph Borell

NYC Mayor Blasio:"We won't let the pandemic spread again in the city."

New York is at the top of cities where most deaths due to the Coronavirus have happened and most cases recorded. Besides pandemics, New York also struggled with protests, increasing crime rates, and economic challenges in 2020. Previously referred to as "the city that never sleeps," New York is now almost transformed into a "ghost city." The City of New York faced a severe economic loss in 2020. Over eighty percent of the entertainment and service industries, as well as restaurants, which are the pillars of the city, have been incapacitated. Hundreds of thousands of people who work in the service industry have lost their jobs.


Mayor de Blasio has called upon New Yorkers who are not feeling well, not going to work, work from home if possible, and not using public transportation, like the buses and the subway.
 
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the St. Patrick's Day Parade, which has been traditionally held in Manhattan in March every year since 1762, could be canceled.
He also stated that they plan to take specific measures related to the Broadway shows and that some plays could be canceled. The New York Auto Show, one of the leading exhibitions of the automotive sector, has been canceled.


"We won't let the pandemic spread again in the city."


New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that all passengers arriving in New York from other countries would be required to fill a form once they have landed at the airport and that they would be monitored closely by the authorities.


Mayor de Blasio stated that the same procedures would be implemented against those arriving in the city with their own vehicles, by train, and by bus.,


De Blasio said that documents indicating that they are in quarantine will be mailed with return receipt requested from the 

New York City Police Commissioner's office to the hotels or homes of the people coming to New York from abroad and that their health status is going to be closely monitored by the Department of Health.

 

Biden: "The Incidents are a Result of Trump's Attack on Democracy"

Joe Biden, the US President-Elect, has said that President Trump has provoked the Capitol Building incidents. He described the incident, during which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building, as an "attack on the supremacy of law."
Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, Joe Biden described the incidents of yesterday as "One of the darkest days in U.S. history."

Appearing before the media to announce his Attorney General nomination, the President Elect Biden indicated that the people who stormed the Capitol Building could not be described as protestors. He used the term "domestic terrorist" to describe them.

"If they were black protestors, they would have been treated differently."

After the events that took place yesterday in the congress building, the criticism that the security forces were inadequate during the incident was brought up.
Joe Biden compared the intervention of security forces during George Floyd's protests with the intervention during the events yesterday and said it is clear that there was no equal practice of justice, "If they were black protestors, they would have been treated differently," he added.

Joe Biden said: "For the last four years, we have had a president who demonstrates that he disregards the rule of law, our democracy, the Constitution in everything he does.

President Elect Biden nominates Garland as the Attorney General.

Joe Biden declared that he nominated Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, as the Attorney General. Garland was former Democratic President Barack Obama's Supreme Court candidate, but his nomination was blocked by Republicans.

Following the election results from Georgia, Democrats, who now have the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, have also taken control of the Senate.

Joe Biden said he thinks Garland, whom he nominated as the Attorney General, could rapidly get Senate approval.In the case Garland gets Senate approval, it is said that he will assign a black Judge from Washington District, Ketanji Brown Jackson, as the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals in Garland's place.
 
However, an official statement has not yet been made yet from Biden's transition team regarding this.

Overall Crime in New York City Reaches Record Low in 2020

New York City and its Police Department were buffeted by conflicting forces in 2020, as a historic low in overall index crime was accompanied by significant upticks in homicides, shootings, burglaries and car thefts. In calendar 2020, overall crime was lower than in 2019, dropping to a new benchmark of 95,552 reported incidents – representing 681 fewer victims than last year and 11,668 fewer victims than in 2014, the first year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.

At the same time, the NYPD in 2020 confronted a + 97% (1,531 v. 777) increase in shooting incidents and + 44% increase in the number of murders (462 v. 319) amid the challenges of an ongoing international health pandemic that has strained city residents and the police officers sworn to ensure public safety for everyone. Burglaries increased by 42% (15,463 v. 10,909) and car thefts increased by 67% (9.038 v. 5,422). Through it all, the NYPD has worked to mitigate violence as reflected in a 29% increase (4,253 v. 3,299) in annual gun arrests for 2020 compared with 2019 – including 2,057 gun arrests in the last four months of the year.

Unprecedented events of 2020 presented significant challenges for New York City and its police. From a diminished headcount beginning at the onset of COVID-19 to large-scale protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd in May, the NYPD’s resources were stretched further than at any time in recent memory. Yet the NYPD’s work continued. Investigators focused on concentrated areas of violence and used intelligence-based precision to attain justice for victims. The NYPD made an arrest in 32% of shooting incidents and established probable cause to arrest a suspect in an additional 6% of shooting incidents. On murders, NYPD detectives cleared 54% of homicides that occurred within calendar 2020. The clearance rate for this violent crime reflects the NYPD’s deep commitment to public service and will only continue to improve over time as investigations progress.

More broadly, the NYPD in 2020 continued to engage the people who live, work and serve throughout the city in its ongoing effort to ensure public safety that is fair, responsive and considerate to all New Yorkers. Buoyed by the resiliency of New Yorkers and officers throughout 2020, the NYPD’s undertaking to transform New York City policing to be safer and fairer for all concerned will continue in 2021, building on the fundamental changes and the strengthening of bonds between the police and the community that have developed over the last seven years.

“What New York City and our nation experienced in 2020 will resonate for a long, long time,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “The NYPD recognizes this as a time for asking and answering difficult questions, for reflection and action and for encouraging and serving New Yorkers. This will determine the way forward for all of us. Together, we will ensure the preservation of our collective public safety while also cultivating a culture that upholds the values and dignity of every New Yorker, in every neighborhood.”

* Reference:NYPD Press Release

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