Belgin Aksoy meets with Oprah in New York

Oprah Winfrey, famous American talk show host, started her 3-month tour - titled "Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus" - during which she will be visiting most of the states in the US to talk about the balance between mind,  body, and soul.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama was one of the speakers during the Brooklyn leg of her tour - which took place at Barclay's Center and featured the leaders of the wellness industry and changemaker celebrities among the guests. Belgin Aksoy - the person who introduced the "Global Wellness Day" to the world - drew attention by meeting with Oprah.

Belgin Aksoy, who spoke about the sentimental moments of this meeting, said that "While residing among the audience crowd of 15,000,  I smiled to myself when I heard Oprah talking about the Global Wellness Day, and thought about how strong each one of us is." Last year, Winfrey also supported the Global Wellness Day via the congratulatory video, which she shared through all of her social media accounts. Aksoy also noted that the moment she thanked Oprah in person for her support "will always be one of the most unforgettable moments" of her life.

 Aksoy also invited Oprah Winfrey to Turkey by presenting her a special invitation letter for the 8th anniversary of the Global Wellness Day which will be celebrated on June 13th, at more than 7,000 locations and 150 countries with free-to-participate events.

THY EXECUTIVE ILKER AYCI SPEAKS AT UN

Ilker Ayci was among the keynote speakers of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science event which took place at the UN General Assembly Hall and organized by the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) which is being chaired by Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite - a descendent of the Iraqi royal family and a Faysal I of Iraq.

Following the opening speech of Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, president of the 74th session of UN General Assembly, Ayci first noted that Turkey is one of the pioneer countries when it comes to women's rights, and also stated that as a flag carrier THY is proud of Turkish women's role in the aviation sector since 1930s.

Ayci, reminding that the first [female] combat pilot in the history was Sabiha Gokcen from Turkey, made an emphasis on the fact that women were increasingly participating in active roles since the establishment of THY in 1933.

Ayci also noted that 46% of THY's workforce is comprised of women and that they are working to increase this percentage to create full gender equality. He also said that THY, with their 211 female pilots in the workforce, is one of the airlines in Europe with the highest amount of female pilots.

Ayci made the following remarks in his speech:

"Our steadfast support for women is not only in the business sector. As Turkish Airlines, we believe in gender equality in sports as well and as a company that believes in the power of sports, we support certain athletes, teams, and tournaments worldwide with pleasure."

Ayci said that THY supports gender equality, and also talked about the institution's environmental awareness. Aycı said that as Turkish Airlines, they embrace a versatile approach, from developing alternative fuels to zero-waste projects.

During the two day program, Selin Sevimli - youngest female pilot Turkish Airlines -, Captain Pilot Ahu Nur Turkoglu and engineer Elif Ozsoy also spoke and shared their experiences with the audience.

Among the speakers of the event were diplomats, "Fortune 500" company executives, academics from all over the world, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations.

For the last five years on February 11th as a part of the celebrations of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, RASIT is organizing this 2-day meeting in the UN Headquarters for increasing the women's role in science. These meetings are hosted by Malta and serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas on gender equality.

NSC Advisor O'Brien: "Assad is a very bad actor"

 

Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center hosted U.S. National Security Council Advisor Ambassador Robert O'Brien,Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for a "View from the West Wing" conversation about both national security and the process for managing the National Security Council in our turbulent time.

President of Atlantic Council, Fred Kempe, and Former National Security Advisor Steven Heydemann made opening remarks and CBS News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Face the Nation Moderator Margaret Brennen moderated the program.

"Assad is a very bad actor,Iranians who are up to their ears are terrible actors,the Russians are not helping the situation, and Turks are not helping the situation. Erdogan and Putin, who have an interesting relationship, sometimes they are the best of friends and sometimes they are not. It is really up to them to work that situation out," Ambassador O'Brien said.

Margaret Brennan asked Ambassador O'Brien what the U.S. is doing about the violence in Idlib, Syria. "I do not think we are going to intervene militarily in Idlib to straighten out that bad situation,What are we supposed to do to stop them? We're supposed to be a global policeman and hold up a sign and say stop this Turkey, stop this Russia?" Ambassador O'Brien said.

U.S.-China Relations:

Ambassador Robert O'Brien admitted that the Chinese Government promised purchases under the Phase 1 trade deal will be reduced as a result of the growing health emergency.

"This could have an impact on phase one deal. It's not going to change the phase one deal. It's just we expect that is part of the phase one deal. China will expend more money on U.S. agricultural products. And we'll have to see how that plays out, "Ambassador O'Brien said.

Ambassador O'Brien said:" We've offered American doctors and experts to China to assist with coronavirus, but the offer has not yet been accepted."

He also highlighted that the U.S. would like to see North Korea its Singapore Summit commitments, and they are open for another summit If there's an opportunity to make progress.

Ambassador O'Brien believes that It's time for America to come home, and we wanted to come back under conditions that keep in place protections for our colleagues and our partners in Afghanistan. We want to make sure Afghanistan doesn't become a safe-haven for terrorism again."

Restructuring NSC

In his address, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert reported that the National Security Council was in the final stages of a reorganization that would get it "back to a manageable size. In the last five months of the Trump Administration, White House National Security Council has shrunk from over 175 policy staffers to 115 staffers. He also explained how NSC is working under his leadership.

Regarding the recent Philippines decision ending its military cooperation agreement with the United States, Ambassador O'Brien said that the United States would remain a strong partner in the Philippines. We are there to help the Philippines."

Pictures taken by Ali Cinar,Atlantic Council

US CONDEMNS IDLIB ATTACKS, STAND BY NATO ALLY TURKEY

 

The United States condemns the escalating assaults on Turkish Army Forces and innocent Syrian civilians by the Assad regime, Iran, Hizballah, and Russia.The statement came after leight Turkish soldiers and civilian contractors were killed by Syrian government forces in Northern Syria.

"The U.S. stands by our NATO Ally Turkey in the aftermath of the mortar attack by Assad regime forces on Turkish observation posts. This is a grave escalation. The Assad regime, Russia, Iran, and Hizballah's ruthless actions are preventing the establishment of a ceasefire." Secretary Pompeo said.  

"Turkey has the "full support" of the United States in responding to the Syrian Regime's "unjustified attacks" in Idlib "U.S. ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft addressing the U.N. Security Council.

Last December, the United Nations called on Russia and Assad to cease the massacre and, Russia and China vetoed the European Union countries' proposal for Idlib at the United Nations Security Council. The states that had prepared the plan stated that almost 1 million people had left their homes since the start of the last military operation by Syrian forces and Russian air support, four months ago. Thus, Russia, an ally of Assad, had rejected a U.N. Security Council bill for the 13th time since 2011, when the Syrian war began.

 

"We're very, very worried about this. First of all, the significance of Idlib – that's where we've had chemical weapons attacks in the past. We've got three million-plus refugees that may be pushed across the border. We have the Russians in the U.N. being very difficult on the whole humanitarian border assistance thing of late, with their veto of our efforts to try to get a decent U.N. resolution to keep the border crossings in the northeast open, and we think that the northwest will be next. And we see not just the Russians but the Iranians and Hizballah actively involved in supporting the Syrian offensive." said Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Ambassador James Jeffrey during his press briefing sharing the latest developments in Syria.

 

There is a tremendous U.S. support to Turkey on Idlib crisis. Turkey and the U.S. are on the same page about Idlib. No matter how much the two NATO allies disagree on the issue of the YPG-PKK terrorist elements, they both want Assad removed and the killing of Idlib's civilians to stop. From time to time, President Donald Trump shows his appreciation for Turkey's efforts in the region.

 

President Trump and President Erdogan had a phone call on January 27th to discuss recent developments in Syria, and both leaders agreed that the violence being carried out in Idlib, Syria, must stop.

President Trump: This Is A Celebration

President Trump's made a public speech and celebrated his Senate acquittal on Thursday at the White House. His legal team, cabinet members, and GOP Congressional Leadership and as well as Trump's Family, were present at the historical program.

"We've been going through this now for over three years. It was evil. It was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars. And this should never, ever happen to another President ever. I don't know that other Presidents would have been able to take it. Some people said, no, they wouldn't have. But I can tell you, at a minimum, you have to focus on this because it can get away very quickly. No matter who you have with you, it can get away very quickly. It was a disgrace." he told a full packed East Room crowd.

"This is a day of celebration because we went through hell," President Trump told the crowd, describing his impeachment as "all bullshit" and criticizing many of Democrats who stole the country's time with false allegations. "These people are vicious. Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person."," Trump said during his East Room remarks

President Trump has thanked many people in the crowd, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch Connell. "Mitch, I want to tell you: You did a fantastic job." President Trump said.

Apologizing from his Family:

"I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people. And Ivanka is here, and my -- my sons and my whole family, and that includes Barron. "President Trump said during his East Room remarks. He hugged his daughter Ivanka Trump and invited First Lady Melanie Trump to the podium. 

Quick Highlights:

-President Trump focused the future and indicated that he would win again in 2020. He also believes that Republicans will get the majority in the House.

- President Trump brandished newspapers such as Washington Post and USA Today with banner headlines saying he had been acquitted.

-Television networks carried the lengthy remarks live, but President Trump did not take any questions after his remarks

- President Trump referred to "dirty cops," "leakers," "liars," and "nasty and horrible people," whom he blamed for his impeachment.

-President Trump called Senator Romney, who ran for president in 2012, "a failed presidential candidate," saying, "things can happen when you fail so badly running."

- There were over 100 people at the East Room, White House

On the Celebration day at White House, President Trump says al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qasim al-Rimi was killed in a US counterterrorism operation in Yemen.

President Trump will be traveling to Charlotte to address the North Carolina "Opportunity Now" Summit on Friday. This will be his 4th visit to Charlotte.

(Pictures taken by Ali Cinar-White House)

*TV Interviews after the President's Remarks.

Tagged under

Trump Administration declares Public Health Emergency for the U.S. for 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

 

White House officials held a briefing on Friday stated that the risk to Americans was “low,” and they wanted to keep it that way. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said that President Trump signed an order for the U.S. to deny entry to any foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the past two weeks, aside from the immediate family of U.S. citizens.

White House officials said that they were taking further steps because it was found that coronavirus can spread by people who show no symptoms, making it much harder to contain.

U.S. citizens returning to the United States who have been in China’s Hubei province within 14 days will face a mandatory quarantine. Other Americans returning to the United States from different parts of China will face enhanced screening and a self-quarantine of up to fourteen days. Also, the U.S. would begin funneling all flights from China to the United States through 7 airports, where there would be enhanced screening.

Secretary Azar called the measures “fairly incremental” and “appropriate, preventative steps.” 

Another speaker at the White House Press briefing Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the current situation on the novel coronavirus. “The risk to the American public currently is low. Our goal is to do all we can do to keep it that way. As of today, there are nearly 9,700 cases in China, with more than 200 deaths. Additionally, currently, there are another 23 countries that have confirmed, totally, 132 cases — twelve individuals who were confirmed in six countries who did not travel to China. 

6 Confirmed Cases and 191 people in the U.S. are being investigated for the disease.

“To date, we have confirmed six cases of this novel virus in the United States.I want to emphasize that this is a significant global situation, and it continues to evolve,” said Dr. Redfield.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that the issue now with this is that there's a lot of unknowns. He highlighted that they were not sure if there were asymptomatic infections, which would make it a much broader outbreak than what we're seeing. 

Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun also explained the role of the Department of State in the proceedings of this task force and our contributions. State Department’s first responsibility is to monitor events on the ground in China where they have the presence of U.S. diplomats and to give clear and accurate advice to American citizens and, in particular, American travelers considering visiting or staying in China. The second responsibility that Deputy Secretary of State said that is to assist U.S. citizens in the affected areas as much as possible. Lastly, the core mission of the Department of State is to work closely with our international partners. 

Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli also explained the situation from the custom border perspective.TSA, the security, and the engagement with the airlines are critical. Our chief medical officer in the department is in CWMD, and we were providing medical support at the airports. “ Mr. Cuccunelli said. He also added that FEMA continues to prepare and support HHS preparations themselves.DHS will be implementing a funneling effort at the airports. It will be done under the authority of the Customs and Border Protection, and it will include seven airports. Incoming flights from China will be funneled through seven airports starting by 5.00 pm on Sunday, Eastern Time,. Those airports are JFK, Chicago's O'Hare, in San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Honolulu, and LAX. 

Confirmed Cases increasing day by day 

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in China climbed to more than 11,800 as of Saturday morning,

Limited Travel to China

Many countries airlines announced that they stop flying to China for at least a month. American Airlines, Delta, and United would suspend all remaining service to mainland China after a State Department warning put a damper on demand for flights there.

Big Fear at the Fortune 500 Companies-Negative impact on global trade?

Many American companies announced that they gave an order to restrict restricted their employees’ Chinese business travel. There is a big fear that global trade would be affected negatively.

Dow Jones also fell 600 points on coronavirus fears as the US declares public health emergency,

President’s Presidential Proclamation, using his authority according to Section 212(f) of the Immigration and National Act, temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Details: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Position on Libya and Mediterranean

Everyone more or less predicted the possible outcome of the Libya summit held last week in Berlin. With putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar fleeing without signing the cease-fire agreement in Russia, his insincerity was confirmed once again in the meeting in Berlin that involved 11 countries and lasted four hours since a formal cease-fire could not be agreed upon.

The attitude of the United States concerning the Libyan issue remains unclear. Even if U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was present in Berlin with messages of support for a cease-fire, there remain questions about the United States' stance regarding the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya. In the past, the U.S. Department of State expressed deep concern over the drilling activities of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean last year. Everyone knows the United States is following a policy that is more inclined toward the Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece. Furthermore, it should be remembered that the American energy company, ExxonMobil, won a tender from the Greek Cypriot Administration, who are trying to parcel the Eastern Mediterranean unilaterally. Despite the reactions of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the company started drilling in the south of the island in 2018 and a crisis arose as a result of this.

The murder of U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens in 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, during an attack on the U.S. Consulate is still fresh in the minds of Washington. Indeed, this sad event continues to be a subject of great controversy in domestic politics. The incidents during and after the Benghazi attack resulted in significant changes in the U.S.' policies on Libya.

It would be right to see the U.S.' sharp turn concerning its policy on Libya as a "foreign policy from a safe distance." The U.S. has thus decreased its actions and its existence in Libya via the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) to a level limited to operations against al-Qaida. The position of the U.S., which has been to support the political solution proposed by the Libya Special Representative of the U.N. since 2014, has transformed into a strategy of "wait and see." In short, the U.S. has been following the developments from afar to see who the "winner" will be.

It can be seen that U.S. President Donald Trump has continued with the policy on Libya from the Barack Obama period. The U.S. unexpectedly withdrew its soldiers from Libya on April 7, 2019. During this withdrawal, there was no statement by the U.S. that it would continue its support for Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA). It also did not go unnoticed that the timing of the U.S. troops' withdrawal coincided with the operations directed at Tripoli carried out by Haftar. In the course of these unexpected events, Trump spoke on the telephone with Haftar on April 15, surprising everyone. However, Russia's speedy entry into the Libyan crisis in September 2019 has caused the U.S. to review its Libya policy.

Moscow's attempts to become a determining player in Libyan politics by sending private troops has brought with it the possibility that Russia will have a say on matters like the wave of migration originating from North Africa and the sub-Saharan region and the supply of Libyan oil. Both of these have shaped European politics recently in connection with the matter of Mediterranean energy.

Even though the U.S. attempts to remain on the same side as Russia in Libya, there are some rumors that the U.S.' close allies, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, support Haftar and are indirectly impacting Trump's Libya policy.

The visit to Benghazi by the U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya, Joshua Harris, in October 2019, where he discussed the matter of ending the war in Tripoli with the authorities, and the participation of the U.S. in the Berlin conference at the Department of State level have been perceived as a message that the U.S. will be at the table.

Even though the U.S. is getting ready for a really busy agenda with the upcoming presidential election in 2020, it is expected to voice an opinion on foreign policy matters regarding Libya and thus the struggle in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In that sense, the justified struggle of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and a close relationship with the diplomatic representatives of the U.S., which can relay the factors underlying the events, are important. And they are valuable, too. Indeed, the recent telephone call made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Trump, where they mostly talked about Libya, was conspicuous. In a region where the conflicts of interest are immense, the United Nations should be expected to play a more active role and to support a government that has already been recognized.

Otherwise, the fate of Libya and the other Middle Eastern countries will be one of division and tragedy; and this will go down in history as a tale of skulduggery.

 

5th Annual TOA Awards to Honor The Year's Best

TURKOFAMERICA Magazine, which has been awarding successful people of the United States in different categories since 2014, honors the year’s successful people in different field from diplomacy to business, academy to entrepreneurship.

5th TOA Outstanding Achievement Awards (Outstanding Achievement Awards, Heritage + Diversity + Legacy + Business) ceremony presented by TOA Consulting and U.S. Chamber of Commerce is held at U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s historic building in Washington DC on November 15, 2019. The award ceremony has showcased the artworks of three artists.

This year’s award winners are among 12 different names such as Ryan Zinke, former United States Secretary of the Interior; Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States; Ümran Beba, Pepsico Inc Chief Global Diversity Engagement & Talent Officer; Murat Özgener, CEO of Oz Arts Nashville, one of Nashville's most popular contemporary art centers; Kemal Erkan, known for his work in the field of electronic medical record and one of the founders of the largest private health network system in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region; Dr. Gökhan Gündoğdu, Senior Advisor to Executive President to Atlantic Council and Chairman Gundogdu Foundation; James Hughes, President and CEO of Unity Bank; businessman İzzet Pinto, founder of Global Agency, which exports the most films and TV series from Turkey to the world; G. Lincoln McCurdy, President of Turkish Coalition of America; Mehmet Mustafaoğlu, Founder and CEO of Los Angeles based  private equity firm, Trans Global Financial Corp and first recipient of Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and businessman Mustafa Tuncer, known for his companies in the natural stone, media and retail sectors in the United States. Özer Güler, Turkish Airlines General Manager of Washington, DC also were awarded with a special thanks award plaque.

“We will continue to expand the categories”
Demet Cabbar, Sevil Altinsoy and Ali Gunertem have also awarded as Friends of TURKOFAMERICA for their contribution and support the magazine since 2002. The awards were determined by the TURKOFAMERICA selection committee and presented to the jury members. Last year’s award ceremony was held at the Harvard Club in New York. Thirty Americans who are Friends of Turkey had been awarded at the ceremony.

TURKOFAMERICA Magazine Co-Founder and Editor in Chief, Cemil Özyurt stated that for the first time this year they would present awards to Turkish-Americans as well as American people and other ethnic groups contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of the United States. Özyurt who pointed out the difficulty of doing such activity at a time when relations between the two countries were very tense, said: “Strained relations between the two countries should not keep us from such activities. Our purpose was to open this traditional award ceremony to different ethnic groups and Americans. This year, besides Turkish-Americans in different fields, we have included successful names that contribute to America. We will continue our way by expanding the categories next year.”

Jimmy Cuneyt Gürkan, TOA Consulting Partner stated that the artworks of Hulis Mavruk, Tony Şeker and Esin Kösoğlu have exhibited before and during the award ceremony, and a portion of the proceeds would be donated to a non-profit institution. Gürkan emphasized that they would hold the award ceremony for the first time this year in a city other than New York, and remarked that they wanted to reach different audiences by spreading the awards ceremonies throughout the United States.

Turkish Airlines is the main sponsor of the award ceremony. United Medical, Natural Source Group, Vintage Food and Sarar also supports the event. About 150 people are expected to attend the award ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. To see event photos click here 

ABOUT TURKOFAMERICA MAGAZINE
TURKOFAMERICA is founded by two college friends from journalism school in Istanbul and they came to United States to pursue their master's degree on June 19th, 2001. The young entrepreneurs started to publish TURKOFAMERICA on August 2002. The magazine is the first Turkish-American nationwide business magazine and its mission is to report news about the Turkish-American business community in the U.S. The magazine's content includes primarily the lives of Turkish people in the U.S. and their social, cultural and economic activities as well as the activities of Americans who are related in any way with Turkey or the Turkish community.

ABOUT TOA CONSULTING
TOA Consulting is a management consulting firm that helps overseas companies to reach their full potential is U.S. TOA helps global companies with business contulting, corporate event organization, trade shows, conferences, summits, corporate travel arrangements for trade delegations, international business matchmaking, B2B networkind events.

 

Ryan Zinke, Former U.S. Interior Secretary receives his award from Kimmy Cunyet Gurkan, TOA Consulting partner. 

 

Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States receives his award from Cemil Ozyurt, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TurkofAmerica Magazine. 

 

Umran Beba, Senior Vice President of Pepsi Co. receives her award from Deputy Ambassador of Turkish Republic to Washington DC. 

 

Izzet Pinto, Founder of Global Agency receives his award from Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. 

 

Janice Bolomey, Director of Sales and Chief Admin Officer, Executive Vice President of Unity Bank. She recieves her awared on behalf of James Hughes, President/CEO of Unity Bank from Lola Zinke. 
 
 
 
 
Mustafa Tuncer, founder of Troy Granite and owner of Forum USA newspaper, recieves his award from Lala Abdurahimova Suleymanov. 
 
 
 
 
Lincoln G. Mc Curdy, President of Turkish Coalition of America recieves his award from Derya Taskin. 
 
 
 
 
Aylin Ozgener of Oz Arts Nashville recieves her award from Tony Seker, Turkish-American artist.
 
 
 
 
Dr. Gokhan Gundogdu, Senior Advisor to Executive President to Atlantic Council and Chairman Gundogdu Foundation recieves his award from Savannah Lane of Turkish Heritage Organization. 
 
 
 
 
Businessman Kemal Erkan, founder and CEO of United Medical of Deleware, recieves his award from Ryan Zinke, former U.S. Interior Secretary. 
 
 
 
 
Businessman Mehmet Mustafaoglu recives his award from Loutte Ragusa of Turkish Coalition of America. 
 
 
 
 
Ozer Guler, Turkish Airlines General Manager of Washington, DC receives his award from Ryan Zinke.
 
 
 
 
Friend of TURKOFAMERICA award reciept Demet Cabbar with Fidan Ozyurt.
 
 
 
 
Friend of TURKOFAMERICA award reciept Sevil Altinsoy with Lola Zinke.
 
 
 
 
Friend of TURKOFAMERICA award reciept Ali Gunertem with Cemil Ozyurt. 

Facebook appoints a Turkish Businesswoman as the new Regional Director for Middle East, Africa and Turkey

A successful Turkish businesswoman Derya Matraş has been appointed as Regional Director of Facebook in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

In this role, she will manage Facebook to serve businesses and communities and to grow the company’s economic and social impact across the region.

 “The fast-growing ME, Africa and Turkey region is an important market for Facebook. Derya’s wealth of experience in emerging markets and her pioneering spirit will help us further drive impact and value in this uniquely diverse region, while maintaining our mission of bringing people together and building communities,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Europe, Middle East Africa Vice President.
 
Commenting on her appointment,Derya Matras said: “I am honored to lead this diverse region for Facebook where our goals of building new experiences that meaningfully improve people’s lives and supporting millions of businesses that rely on our services to grow and create jobs, truly come to life. As a woman leader, I am very proud to be appointed to this region where diversity is of crucial importance, and I am looking forward to continuing to drive our significant economic and social value contribution.”

Who is Derya Matras?

Derya Matras, who has been Country Director of Turkey in Facebook since 2015, is leading the Facebook team working to help brands and agencies operating in Turkey to use Facebook, Instagram and other relevant company products in the best way.

Ms. Matraş had a Bachelor of Engineering from Boğaziçi University, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering and an MBA degree from Columbia Business School. She previously worked in international companies, including McKinsey & Company. Prior to joining Facebook, she was Vice President of Dogan Media Group, the largest media conglomerate and She also worked at McKinsey & Company advising private sector and governments around the world, especially on the digital economy. Ms. Matras is married with two children.

Facebook:

Facebook had 2.41 billion monthly active users around the world, as of last year. It is blocked in North Korea and China. There are over 40,000 employees and company's revenue was US$55 billion dollars in 2018. Facebook user number is currently 34 million in Turkey and  In 2022, the number of monthly active Facebook users is projected to reach 37.72 million individuals. 

State Dept. Official Robert Strayer: “Cyberspace is borderless ... therefore, we must have cooperation and coordination.”

There are big discussions and platforms on 5G, which will have increased amounts of throughput of data up to 100 times what many countries currently have in 4G technology.

When we look at some information, we see horrifying impacts on the cyber world. The hacker attacks every 39 seconds, according to The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. Hackers stole a half-billion personal records last year. There is an expectation of spending $6 trillion globally on cybersecurity by 2021.

The Trump Administration forecasts the U.S. wireless industry plans to invest $275 billion in 5G networks, creating 3 million American jobs and adding $500 billion to the U.S. economy.

Since cybersecurity and policy are a very hot topic, there was a timely briefing featuring Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications Policy, Robert Strayer, at the State Department on January 9, 2020. He shared the highlights of 2019 and looked ahead to cybersecurity in 2020.

He stated that there had been tremendous growth from the Internet and connected digital technologies, and has seen an increase in the number of people having access to previously inaccessible information.

He also indicated that the Internet and being connected add trillions of dollars to the global economy every year.

He talked about how cyberspace has significant challenges, especially since the plan is to connect the next three billion people around the world. Also, he emphasized doing more substantial work in enabling cooperation and collaboration among nations in addressing these cyberspace challenges.

Becoming Top Priority: Cybersecurity and Cyber Policy

The State Department is taking cybersecurity and cyber policy seriously. There has been a lot of educational briefings and interaction with many different global actors in the past few years.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer highlighted that “a country should not disrupt another nation’s critical infrastructure that is providing services to the public.”

He also briefly summarized the cyber progress accomplishments in the last year.

-Established a framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, which comprises developing the rules of the road for how countries should interact with one another in cyberspace.

-Had the United Nations endorse a set of 11 voluntary norms of responsible state behavior. With the leadership of the U.S., 26 other countries are responsible for enforcing state behavior in cyberspace. All endorsed the applicability of international law to cyberspace.

-A nation should not attack another nation’s major infrastructure endorsed by the UN.

-Cyber deterrence strategy: The State Department’s goal is to establish a set of consequences that are swift, costly, and transparent.

-Educate and partner with other countries about the importance and the transformational nature of 5G wireless technologies

Trust is the key to 5G.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary emphasized that there should be trust between vendors of this technology and the telecom operators and the governments where that technology would be deployed.

The European Union is an important partner.

The U.S. is working closely with Europe as they work on security measures for 5G. The U.S. welcomed the European Union’s adoption of a risk assessment last October.The European Union has a security toolbox for 5G now that addresses the security risks that they've already assessed to exist.

Worldwide Threat Assessment and 4 Countries

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer has identified four countries that they see as strategic competitors or adversaries in cyberspace; these are China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Their attacks violate norms of responsible state behavior; for example, the NotPetya attack and Iran’s activity on media platforms seeking to influence the U.S. population.

Also, the Iranian government has blocked the Internet, making it unavailable to the public, so the U.S. has sanctioned the Iranian Communications Minister to send the Iranian government a message.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer said that there is no legitimate reason for disabling the Internet when doing so is an effort to interfere with people’s ability to communicate.

Big Threat from China

Deputy Assistant Secretary Strayer said that the U.S. had shared its concern about the laws in China and, especially, the sharing of data with governments that are not on the rule of law. He added that there is no appeal to an independent judiciary or a rule of law system that can be checked.There are a lot of concerns about Chinese telecom companies such as Huwaei.

$50 Million of Technical Assistance

Last year, the State Department was able to commit to $50 million of technical assistance in the form of cybersecurity capacity-building and cybersecurity training, as well as regulatory and other training assistance for regulators in countries around the world.

The State Department is also looking to expand to Latin America with at least $10 million pending approval from Congress. The State Department initiated similar support to Indo-Asia last year.

US-NATO Partnership

The U.S. continues to work closely with NATO to secure communications capabilities with the ability to engage in joint operations together and to enact troop mobilization.

According to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, “A serious cyberattack could trigger Article 5, where an attack against one ally is treated as an attack against all.” Stoltenberg wrote this in an article that was published in Prospect’s new cyber resilience supplement last year.

NATO also established a new Cyberspace Operations Centre in Mons, Belgium, in order to increase their military commanders’ cyber-situational awareness.

“With so much on the line, it’s urgent that trustworthy companies build these 21st-century information arteries. Specifically, it’s critical that European countries not give control of their critical infrastructure to Chinese tech giants like Huawei or ZTE” – Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Politico Europe, December 2, 2019.

The White House also has a national cybersecurity strategy that was published in 2018 (https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/National-Cyber-Strategy.pdf).

 

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