Ali Çelik was voted the "Top Young Soccer Player" in New Jersey

Ali Çelik was voted the top soccer player in the senior boys' category in the state of New Jersey by, a news website. 17-year-old Ali Çelik 

plays for the teams Lyndhurst and Ironbound SC Super Eagles. He has six goals and seven assists in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference National Division in 2022–2023. 

Ali Çelik received training in Clifton Stallions Soccer Academy for five years.

A devoted Fenerbahçe fan, Ali wants to wear the yellow and blue jersey in the future. In the past, young Turkish athlete Ali Can Çelik, living in New Jersey, was ranked among the 'state's top 100 young soccer players.' The state of New Jersey is also known for producing many young soccer players to play for the U.S. National Soccer Team.

Secretary Blinken on Latin America Tour

The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken begins a tour of Latin American countries, including Columbia, Chile, and Peru. U.S. secretary will meet these three countries' recently elected leftist leaders.

Secretary Blinken will reassert the USA's commitments to the region during his Latin America trip.

During his trip, Blinken will also attend a ministerial summit and hold talks on matters like migration, drug trafficking, post-pandemic recovery, climate change, and Venezuela.It is reported that the USA wants to show its southern neighbors with this trip that they remain a policy priority despite other geo-political issues such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine or China's threat to Taiwan.

U.S. considers it important to have a positive relationship with Latin America's newly elected left-wing leaders.

Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of State Brian Nichols states that they do not evaluate countries based on their political images but rather on democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.

Secretary Blinken's other objective with this trip is to solidify America's regional partnership despite China's increasing demands.

Bogota's policy for Venezuela and the war on drugs are expected to be the talking points of Blinken's visit to Colombia, his first stop on this trip.

Blinken will visit Chile following Colombia. Chile's new president, Gabriel Boric, had previously criticized President Joe Biden for excluding Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from the Summit of the Americas.

The last stop for Blinken in Latin America will be Peru. The Minister of Peru's Foreign Affairs states they will discuss the democratic regime, the fight against drug smuggling, and immigration issues.

Why Midsize Firms Are Ramping Up Tech Investments After Clearing the Hybrid Hurdle

Chief operating partner, Barbaros Karaahmet, was quoted in a article discussing how Herrick has embraced investing in firm wide technology, which in turn streamlines productivity. The article highlighted how Herrick was already ahead of the technology adoption curve when the pandemic hit. In 2012, the firm was forced to briefly close its New York office when Hurricane Sandy hit. Barbaros recalled how, "We couldn’t go into the office for a week and a half. That was a pivotal moment to look at having safety nets and fail-safes. That’s when we decided we needed to invest in more technology."

New York Mayor Eric Adams Receives Üsküdar Mayor

Üsküdar Mayor Hilmi Türkmen visited New York Mayor Eric Adams in his office before the Ladies Sultans Exhibition to be held in New York.

 During the visit, Üsküdar Mayor Hilmi Türkmen was accompanied by Turkey's Consul General in New York, Reyhan Özgür.

Üsküdar Mayor Hilmi Türkmen and New York Mayor Eric Adams came together and held a working meeting to continue in Üsküdar. Evaluating the disabled, youth, and environmental issues, the two mayors exchanged ideas for potential collaborations.

New York Mayor Eric Adams, during his mayorship of Brooklyn, made Üsküdar and Brooklyn twin cities and went to Istanbul and visited Üsküdar. Eric Adams, who cares about Turkish-American relations, works closely with the Turkish community in New York and participates in many Turkish-American events.


New York Mayor Adams at the Turkish Philanthropy Ball

New York Mayor Eric Adams gave a speech at the ball organized by the Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF) at the New York Metropolitan Museum.

TPF, which was founded by the philanthropic Turkish businessman Haldun Taşman in the US to provide charitable services to Turkish society, celebrated its 15th anniversary with a gala dinner at the Metropolitan Museum.

Along with Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Hasan Murat Mercan and New York Consul General Reyhan Özgür, the gala was attended by New York Mayor Eric Adams; Chobani founder and successful Turkish businessperson Hamdi Ulukaya; 75 Main owner, Turkish restaurateur, and new TV star Zach Erdem; Gayrimenkul Investors Association (GYODER) US Representative Çağrı Kanver; and Turkish American community members.

Businessman Hamdi Ulukaya, who was deemed worthy of an award by TPF, gave a speech of thanks, while New York Mayor Adams addressed the participants. In his speech, Adams expressed his love for Turkey and Istanbul.

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The Connection Between the Native Americans and the Turks!

When the Turks immigrated to the U.S. has always been a matter of debate. We see that there were migrations from the Ottoman Empire to the U.S. for the first time in the 1860s, either for trade or other reasons. It has been determined that they migrated to the U.S., especially to Michigan and Massachusetts, from Turkish cities such as Bingöl and Tunceli. The reason for this was the job opportunities in Massachusetts's leather, thread, fabric, and shoe factories and the Ford factory in Michigan, where rapid industrialization was happening.

Immigration to the U.S. peaked at the beginning of the 1910s; however, this number decreased strongly toward the end of World War I. With the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, some Turks who had gone to the U.S. came back to Turkey, and the number of those returning to Turkey increased further due to the great economic depression in the U.S.

Even though the history of Turks' migration to the U.S. goes back to the 1900s, esteemed scientists such as Prof.Türker Özdoğan, an academic member of Georgetown University, claim that the Uyghur-originated Turkic groups living in Siberia went to Anatolia as well as the America continent via the Bering Strait in AD 1233. We see that this theory has gained even more seriousness after identifying the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and Y chromosome overlap, which has been proven before. In this article, we discussed whether both the Native Americans and the Melungeons have a connection with the Turks.

Here is what Prof. Özdoğan claims: 

- The Melungeon community, which claims to have a population of close to 2 million in the U.S., is descended from around 10,000 Ottoman Levantines. They were enslaved at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Some of these sailors were used as galley slaves by the Spanish and the English and were later left to fend for themselves in the Americas.

- The Melungeons, trying to hold onto life on the coast of Virginia, retreated to the Appalachian mountains around the state of Tennessee due to the difficulties they experienced from cultural differences with the local community. They then fraternized with the Native American tribes belonging to the Athabascan language group in that region.

- The honorary leader of the Melungeons, Brent Kennedy, who stated that the DNA of the Melungeons and the Anatolian Turks are similar to one another, wrote two books to strengthen the bonds between the two communities when he was still alive and developed close relationships with the Turkish community living in the U.S.

-Brent Kennedy learned about his Turkish origin after taking a DNA test. Kennedy knew he had thalassemia, a genetic disease, and took a DNA test. In the blood samples taken from the nearly 300 Melungeon close friends that he could reach, he found traces of diseases such as sarcoidosis, thalassemia, and Behçet's disease, seen only in Mediterranean peoples and Kennedy, therefore, revealed the bond between his community and Turkey.

- Many scientists are investigating the fact that the Native Americans came to the U.S. from the Central Asian Turkish tribes, mainly from Siberia. Those interested in the arrival of Indians to the U.S. are Scandinavian countries, China, and Turkey. We claim to research when the Central Asian Turkish tribes started arriving in the U.S. One of the most accurate studies is a 700-page book, The Dene and Na-Dene, by Canadian anthropologist Ethel G. Stewart. This researcher asserted that Turks came to the American continent from Central Asia, and their last visit was in 1200 AD. Stewart claims that Uyghur tribes were fleeing Genghis Khan.

-Apart from researching the artistic and cultural similarities between Turks and Native Americans, the etymology matters for this historical research. The most commonly spoken language among Native Americans is the Athabaskan language. We have many words in common with the Native Americans. In particular, Professor Timur Kocaoğlu from Michigan State University has studies indicating that there is a connection between Turkish and Native American languages and that this connection shows itself in terms of grammar, beyond common words. For example, the roots of our essential words, such as air and water, are the same. Our carpet and ceramic motifs are almost identical. Native American religious beliefs are the same as Shamanism.

 -Modern Turks should remember Ataturk's efforts in the language field. Ataturk kept a strong focus on language and spearheaded private research. In particular, there are similarities between the Mayan and Aztec languages and Turkish. Ataturk, Tahsin Mayatepek sent an acting ambassador to Mexico and was instrumental in researching this topic. Later, Tahsin Mayatepek presented Ataturk with a research report and a dictionary on this subject.

Prof. Ozdogan took Native Americans to Turkey three times. He worked with the Turkish World Research Center. Turkey built a hospital for Native Americans in the Navajo region. He has conducted many studies in the educational and cultural fields. Oneida Indians, who earned vast sums of money in many areas, ranging from casino management to trade, showed great interest, especially in products like textiles, plastics, and rugs. However, Prof.Ozdogan felt disappointed when he saw that the commercial, educational, and cultural exchanges between the Indians and Turks are declining. He believes that Turks and Native Indians would work again as soon as possible.

Alihan Karakartal, a voluntary envoy between the Melungeons and Turks in the city of Wise in Virginia, also explained the recent developments in the Melungeon world.

Where did the Melungeon Community's interest in Turks come from, and how did it start?

As you know, the late Brent Kennedy was the one who established the ties between the Melungeon and Turkish peoples. He was a great communicator who devoted a significant portion of his life to identifying his ancestors' geographical, ethnic, and genetic origins. The Melungeons are a genetically complex and richly diverse ethnic group; for this reason, they have experienced polarization—through exposure to researchers who defended differentiating theses—debating among themselves. 

The Melungeons are related to the Turkish people and those with Portuguese, Native American, and Eurasian origins. So, it is a melting pot. Fortunately, the most significant interest in Melungeon research came from Turkey in the '90s. Thanks to Brent Kennedy's good, love, and personal efforts for Turks, excellent relations were established between Melungeons and Turks in those years. Furthermore, Brent's interview with Barış Manço has laid a perfect foundation for a future cultural bridge between the Melungeons and the Turkish people. That was how I contacted him, and I attended the university where he was working. Since I have known Brent Kennedy since 1996, I have had a chance to personally witness many positive developments between the Melungeons and their relatives in Turkey.

Çeşme and the town of Wise became sister cities.

Back then, the diplomatic, touristic, and academic ties Brent established with Turkey were robust. He went back and forth between Turkey and Wise and received lots of attention and love from the people of Turkey. Çeşme and the town of Wise were declared sister cities during those years. A student exchange program was established with Istanbul University, with 4-5 Turkish students visiting each year. If I remember correctly, we also had good ties with Dumlupınar University. One of our teachers, Sami Ferliel, even gave Turkish lessons to Melungeons at the university. The university I graduated from even published an excellent book on the similarities between Ataturk and Thomas Jefferson. Because I was a student at the University of Virginia College at Wise during those years, we had the opportunity to introduce the Turkish culture in this part of the USA as much as we could to the students who come and go every year. Faruk Loğoğlu, the ambassador of Washington then, visited the campus and gave a lovely speech. The student exchange program was an extremely synergetic, rich, and cultural exchange. Until 2008, this allowed many students to graduate from here and go back to Turkey. However, interest in the program slowly died, and the agreement between universities was unfortunately not renewed. Brent's 2005 cerebral hemorrhage was unfortunate in the program's discontinuation.

There had been efforts for tourism as well. Because Brent brought along a massive group of people every time he visited Turkey, there were significant developments in tourism. If Brent hadn't suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2005, I believe we would be experiencing quite a different reality now. Unfortunately, these works, built on substantial bases at the time, were severely interrupted due to the severe health problems Brent experienced. Everything was exposed to a sort of timeout and momentum loss.

What did Brent Kennedy want to achieve?

The Melungeon research that Brent pioneered has the main motto: "We are one people." Their purpose in saying this was to bring together all Americans with Melungeon origins under one umbrella, in a spirit of brotherhood, rather than based on any ethnic origin. This was because severe polarizations emerged over time among the Melungeons, who represented extremely mixed ethnicities. 

So much so that Brent received academic and personal threats for many years from groups that defended differentiating theses regarding the roots of Melungeons. Although his followers loved and supported him, he was the only person among these theses who defended the genetic link with Turkey. Throughout his life, Brent was loyal to the Turkish nation and had a great interest in and love for his studies and himself, but unfortunately, he passed away on September 21, 2020.

How should the connection between the Melungeons and Turks be revived?

Brent Kennedy worked as hard as a locomotive and managed to accelerate the "Melungeon Train" in the nineties, as it slowly began to find its identity many years ago. He was instrumental in bringing this train to Turkey. Unfortunately, this train is now back in the station. I don't exactly know how this train can be re-accelerated without a friend and ally like Brent, who was almost in love with Turks and defended the "Turkish thesis" with great faith. However, I believe revising the touristic and commercial sides of this equation will mutually benefit both communities.

A Success Story in the U.S : Dr. Hande Özdinler

Associate Prof. Hande Özdinler, Head of the ALS Research Center at Northwestern University, has become one of the ten best scientific inventors. In a special interview with Journalist Ali Cinar for Turk of America magazine, Dr. Özdinler stated that she started this work for her brother, whom she lost to a cerebral hemorrhage.

-Can you talk about your academic projects?

Özdinler Laboratory was established at Northwestern University in 2009 as the first laboratory in the world to study upper motor neurons. Since then, we have been investigating why these neurons are present in the brain and why they show degeneration.

We are gradually solving the death mechanisms and trying to develop appropriate treatment methods.

Our first project focuses on developing medication. We have presented our great invention together with Dr. Silverman; this is promising for patients with motor neuron diseases and especially for ALS patients, as it will be able to heal the motor neurons in the brain. NU-9 can stop motor neuron deaths more effectively than any other approved medication, and this ability resolves four different mechanisms simultaneously. Thanks to this study, our first steps have given rise to a significant advancement in cell-based and mechanism-focused medication development. We are now in the process of presenting this to patients. It is a challenging, costly, and elaborate process. We need financial support and are spending much time looking for that support.

Our second project is about finding biomarkers. With this study, we will be able to pave the way for drug inventions; we will find out which patient requires which drug, and ultimately, we will ensure the recovery of more patients.

Our third project concerns gene therapy. In this project, we will provide direct gene therapy to motor neurons that have died in the brain, enabling them to reap the benefits of personalized medicine and develop personalized healing methods.

We are working on these three main issues.

-What are the pros and cons of being a Turkish academic in the USA?

Scientists in other countries receive much support from their homelands. Joint projects, investments, student exchange programs, and many brilliant projects. Unfortunately, Türkiye does not benefit enough from scientists who have been successful abroad. In the US, it does not matter where you are from or which nationality you have. It can be challenging to become a C-Level executive. However, this can be achieved with an external and reliable support system. Sadly, I do not have such support. Türkiye does not support me. In addition, nobody from Türkiye has given me much help yet. We always receive the required financial support for our work from NIH project funds.

I would not say that being a Turkish academic in the US has many advantages; nevertheless, being an academic here has its benefits regardless of nationality. Doing science, thinking freely, and immediately accessing technological innovations are ensured. In this atmosphere, your race does not have any importance, and we are mainly discussing the projects.

-Can you mention the awards you have received?

First, I received the Best Master's Thesis Award from Bogazici University. At that time, we were doing the first gene cloning studies in Türkiye. Before a PCR machine, we were cloning genes; those were exciting days. Staying up all night in the lab, I was even once in the laboratory for a whole week without going outside. This was how I finished my thesis.

When I was doing my Ph.D., I received the FASEB award, a science award for the poster I submitted. As a post-associate professor, I received the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair (HCNR) Award, which was given to two people at Harvard. This was such a difficult one to get, and I became a Harvard Fellow thanks to this; they also provided funds to the lab I was working in for my training.

At Northwestern, I received the NUCATS Translational Innovation and Corner Innovation awards. These prestigious awards are given to individuals who can think outside the box, create new things no one has ever done, and find innovative methods or solutions.

Our goal has never been to receive prizes and awards but to invent. When we receive awards, we just think, "Well, there are people who follow and appreciate our studies."

- What is your advice to young Turkish people?

It's tough to be young in Türkiye these days. They live in a more difficult time than we did. Universities are especially under so much pressure. Boğaziçi University is one of the best examples of this. Conscious, hardworking, productive, brilliant young people should be appreciated and given value. They are the ones who make inventions, ensure development and make the world a better place. Despite all the challenges they are faced with, young people must be resilient and continue to improve themselves. During COVID-19, many good universities moved their classes online and made them publicly accessible. I advise young people to learn and improve continuously. They will eventually see rewards for their efforts, maybe not today, but tomorrow for sure. They should work with a view to the future and invest in themselves.

-What is your goal for the next five years?

I want to see our work pay off in 5 years, and I want to see ALS patients starting to get better. We will finish this fight with ALS, and I would love to celebrate on the day this ends. We should declare that day a holiday for all ALS friends, their children, mothers, and fathers. A festival of the victory of humanity.

And I also would like to open an exhibition for my paintings. I want to sell my images to support students during their studies, and I would like to write, publish books, see the countries I haven't been to and have a fantastic time with my dear friends.

Ramin Asgard: "We are ready to help!"

Journalist Ali Cinar interviewed former high-ranking U.S. Government Official,Founder&Principal of Asgard Law Offices, Ramin Asgard about the Investor visa opportunities and the Turkey-US trade relationship.

 What does your company offer to business leaders? Can you explain the E2 Investor visa process? Is it difficult to get it? What are the requirements?     

What Asgard Law Offices Offers: U.S. investment, business, and entrepreneur immigration advisory services and a range of options, including the E-2 visa, the E-1 visa, the EB-5 green card, as well a range of business, family, and other immigration options for the U.S.  We also provide a range of Citizenship By Investment (CBI) and Residency By Investment (RBI) programs for other countries beyond the U.S., including Turkey.

The E-2 Investor Visa Process: The U.S. E-2 visa is a renewable investor visa available to citizens of select countries – including Turkey – which allows the investor to set up a new or existing business in the U.S.  The E-2 application provides long-term visa status for the applicant, his/her spouse, and children under 21.  It is possible to apply for an E-2 visa from inside the U.S. or apply overseas at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Is the E-2 Difficult to Get?: While the E-2 Investor Visa has very specific requirements, if these requirements are met and the applicant – working with a qualified immigration attorney and business plan preparer – submits a well-documented and complete application, and performs adequately in their visa interview, the odds of approval are quite high.  Historically, the E-2 visa has a roughly 90% approval rate.  Processing time varies, but it is usually possible to complete the E-2 process in about 3 months.

Requirements for an E-2 Visa include:

-The applicant must be a citizen of an E-2 Treaty country;

-The applicant must be willing to invest in a new or existing business in the U.S. and be willing and able to manage and direct that business (not a passive investment);

-The investment must be “substantial”, an amount that varies depending on the type of business ($150,000 is a good baseline);

-The applicant must detail the lawful “Source of Funds” for the investment capital; and

-The applicant must prepare a comprehensive business plan for the new or existing  E-2 business, including financial projections and staffing plans.

Do you see opportunities for Turkish companies to invest and penetrate U.S Market?

Absolutely - 2021 was a record setting for Turkey-U.S. bilateral trade and investment, and 2022 looks like it may be even better, with positive trends across a range of bilateral issues including commercial ties, spurred on by the new Turkey-U.S. Strategic Mechanism and a shifting geopolitical landscape making positive Turkey-U.S. ties more vital than ever.  Turkey’s main exports to the U.S. remain textiles and footwear, machinery and appliances, stone, glass and metals, and transportation equipment.  These are traditional sectors for Turkish exports to the U.S., although some new Turkish niche products and services as well as technology services may be added to the bilateral trade mix.  Next year, 2023, is obviously a vitally important year for Turkey, and could see a major increase in Turkey-US commercial relations.  Not only is 2023 the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, 2023 will also witness Turkey’s Sakarya gas field coming onstream.   Turkey may even become an energy exporter, greatly enhancing its already pivotal role in the regional and global energy security domain in this time of acute shortages and supply disruptions. 

At the small business level, our firm has been proud to assist Turkish investors to enter the U.S. market through the E-2 Treaty Investor visa.  With an investment of $100,000 to $150,000 in a new or existing business, Turkish investors can start their U.S. business in a whole range of sectors while gaining an indefinitely renewable U.S. visa.  Such small businesses have always been a seedbed of entrepreneurship, particularly among immigrant communities.  Many successful Turkish entrepreneurs in the U.S., such as Hamdi Ulukaya (Chobani), began as immigrant entrepreneurs or built their careers thanks to a foundation from their entrepreneurial immigrant parents. 

For any Turkish entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs wishing to pursue their American Dream, our firm will be hosting an informational webinar on July 22nd to share textured insight into the E-2 Investor Visa.  Our webinar will include an immigrant entrepreneur and former U.S. Army veteran who will share his immigrant success story and offer valuable practical tips on setting up and successfully running a small business in America. 

One last note - It is worth adding that the E-1 Treaty Trader visa is also an exciting option for those in Turkey engaged in the import and export of goods and services who would like to operate their trading business in the U.S.  The E-1 visa is available to Turks who wish to set up a trading enterprise between the US, Turkey, and other markets.  For both the E-2 and E-1 visas, we offer business selection support, business plan support, investment support and secure funds transfer, immigration processing support, and visa compliance oversight to allow a trouble-free transition to the entrepreneur’s dream of being her or his own boss.  The good news is that in the U.S., bureaucratic hurdles and time needed to register and run a business are substantially less than in most countries.  In addition, the prestige of being a small business entrepreneur in America is substantial.  In fact, in a 2022 Gallup poll, small business ranked as the Number 1 most trusted institution in the U.S., even surpassing the military.  

 US and Turkey governments have 100 billion dollars trade volume objective. Is it possible? Which industries do you see opportunities or challenges?

Going back a long way to 2001, when I was the Turkey Economic Desk Officer at the Department of State, we were proud to achieve over $5 billion in U.S.-Turkey bilateral trade, and $1 billion in U.S. FDI in Turkey.  So, despite many bilateral challenges since then, the commercial relationship has definitely come a long way.  After hovering around $20 billion for the past decade, 2021 was a record year with trade volume nearing $30 billion.  President Erdogan’s ambitious goal of $100 billion would require the U.S.-Turkey relationship reaching a qualitatively different level.  As discussed earlier, the Strategic Mechanism, if advanced seriously by both countries, could lay the foundation for such a sustained expansion to a more strategic relationship including in the trade sphere.  Ideally, commercial ties would be allowed to flourish, and bilateral issues would be resolved amicably, without the volatility and disruptions to the economic relationship caused by periodic differences in the national security and regional policy sphere.  The UNGA meetings in New York coming up in September would be an ideal opportunity for Presidents Erdogan and Biden to meet and demonstrate their goodwill and mutual commitment to allow U.S.-Turkey bilateral ties to finally move closer to their full potential.

As I noted earlier, Turkey’s enhanced standing in the energy sector offers an opportunity for it to play a pivotal role in the energy industry, perhaps including a far higher level of engagement in the traditional and renewable energy sectors in the U.S. in the future.  In addition, health-and pharmaceuticals trade, especially given the ongoing challenges brought on by the pandemic, also present an opportunity.  Finally, trade in defense material, now on hold due to U.S. sanctions instituted after Turkish acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, offer high potential.  While Turkey still has not activated the S-400s, their presence has held up the sale of U.S. F-16 fighters to Turkey.  Getting by this impasse presents one of the challenges to increased U.S.-defense trade in particular, but also to solidifying the overall bilateral relationship.

About Ramin Asgard

Mr. Asgard is Founder and Managing Attorney at Asgard Law Offices, a U.S. based immigration law and global migration firm. Prior to resuming the practice of law, Mr. Asgard served as Senior Vice President for Global Business Development with First Pathway Partners, a US-based investment and global services firm. Previously, Mr. Asgard was a highly decorated veteran U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State, including tours as POLAD for GEN James Mattis and GEN David Petraeus at U.S. Central Command, Director of the Iran Regional Presence Office – Dubai, Director of the Persian Service at Voice of America, and Economic/Commercial Officer in Kabul.  Mr. Asgard is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association and serves on the Advisory Board of the Turkish Heritage Organization.   Mr. Asgard holds a JD from Tulane University, a Master’s in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA summa cum laude from Temple University. 

Two Foreign Policy Experts explain the meaning of President Biden's the Middle East Trip

Journalist Ali Cinar interviewed Prof.Herbert Reginbogin and Prof.Mark Meirowitz about ongoing President Biden's Israel and Saudi Arabia trip. 

Prof.Herbert Reginbogin, Catholic University of America

What is your expectation from President Biden's visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia? We have not seen a clear road map Middle East policy for the Biden Administration? What are the challenges? What can Biden Admin do in the Middle East?

I expect that the changes in European security by Russia's invasion of Ukraine prompted the meeting in Madrid last month by the U.S. and its NATO allies to demonstrate their unity and resolve to collectively defend NATO's territorial integrity against potential Russian incursion and solidarity for Ukraine, will continue in President Biden's bidding in the Middle East next week for a robust regional security architecture. While trying to sidestep the criticism from meeting with Saudi and Israeli figures considering the killing of journalists Jamal Khashoggi and Shireen Abu Aqleh, he is expected to lay out a more precise roadmap for the Middle East by making severe attempts to highlight strategic shifts to prioritize the playbook of promoting "regional integration" between Israel and its Arab neighbors as well as advocating human rights versus economic interests in his travel to the West Bank while meeting Palestinian leader Abbas.  He is expected to voice strong support for a two-state solution, with equal measures for security, freedom, and opportunity for the Palestinian people, which is an essential precondition for Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords as well as the voices among the progressives in the Democratic Party about the unjust treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government.

Biden will likely pursue an active role in carrying out policies he believes are of a moral obligation/national interest to the U.S. government, overriding personal moral issues/human rights by emphasizing the context of his visit in terms of the long strategical partnership both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have shared and that his meeting is focused on achieving stability and peace in the Middle East by bolstering the regional security framework embraced by the Abraham Accords. In 2020 Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, together with four Arab counties (U.A.E., Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan), achieved a breakthrough in officially recognizing Israel. The impact has been greater integration displayed by increased trade and one-on-one contact among their citizens in developing an ecumenical dialogue of shared religious principles, as in the case of the U.A.E., Israel, and others. Biden is expected to continue using this framework to achieve a more extensive network for peace and security as he seeks assistance from the Saudis and other Gulf oil-producing countries to lower skyrocketing fuel prices to lessen global reliance on Russian energy exports while addressing U.S. arms exports and economic trade agreements to foster more significant security preparation for a conflict with  Iranian if the JCPOA should fail and respectively is alive to deal with the issues it fails to address such as supporting Iranian proxies on the Arabic Peninsula and building conventional missiles to be potentially used against Israel and neighboring Arab countries. 

All these issues will be weathered by the humanitarian needs in the region with halting the war in Yemen and Syria and the question of whether Biden can adequately address these controversial issues to attain a policy victory ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.

How would Turkey and the U.S. work in the Middle East, especially in Syria?

With U.S. President Joe Biden traveling to the Middle East since he took office eighteen months ago, his visit comes in the midst uniting the Middle East by neutralizing the Palestinian, Yemen, and Syrian conflicts in the region. In terms of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. supports the PYG/PYD as their allies against the Syrian government while Turkey perceives them as an offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization. To stabilize a working relationship among all three, the objective should be a humanitarian project to rid northern Syria of any forces intent to attack or destabilize Turkey by protecting civilian population when making a sweep of the area.  The three Turkey, U.S. and the YPG should be on the same page that their foe is the Syrian government, and all effort should be directed for this purpose otherwise there is legitimacy in Turkey’s accusation. According to reports that underground tunnels exist in northern Syria that lead to the border of Turkey and if these reports can be substantiated they should be jointly destroyed and investigated as to who is involved. Biden’s trip to the Middle East means that working relationships about coordinating military and diplomatic resources can be a watershed in rebuilding the image of Turkey both in the region and the U.S. but it will take a leap of trust and goodwill.  This can be managed if both presidents are committed to manage and control the situation personally. 

Prof. Mark Meirowitz,SUNY Maritime College

What is your expectation from President Biden's visit to Israel? 

The purpose of Biden's visit is  to reinforce the United States’ iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity. That is all fine and good. There are not likely to be any breakthroughs because of the recent collapse of Israel's coalition government, which The Economist called the "coalition of contradictions". The caretaker government under Yair Lapid now is very weak leading up the the elections. Biden is not likely to upset the apple cart by making any earth-shaking announcements concerning the Palestinians, with whom he is planning to meet during his trip.  It has already been announced that the US will not reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem (which President Trump had closed), but that the Palestinian Affairs Unit which previously reported to the US Ambassador in Israel will now be reconstituted as the Office of Palestinian Affairs and report directly up to the State Department in Washington. Nothing more should be expected at this time. Biden will be cafreful not to make statements or take actions that might interfere with the fragile Israeli political situation. 
Do you think that there would be a peace between Israel and Palestine during Biden admin? What would be best way to move forward?

The way forward will be paved by the Abraham Accords, with lip service to the issue of a peace settlement with the Palestinian Authority and the usual references to a "two-State solution". For Israel and the other participants in the Abraham Accords, the major and existential issue is the threat from Iran, not the Palestinian issue. Given the chaos in Israeli politics which is not likely to subside any time soon, and the continuing threat that Iran will go nuclear, there is virtually zero chance of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority during the Biden administration. 
-Israeli elections.What would be your thoughts on the upcoming election?Having frequent elections in Israel good or bad?Why? 

Five elections in just four years' time is very problematic and is indicative of extreme instability. Israel is completely polarized. The recent coalition government which included an Arab party as coalition member has fallen and now there is a good chance than Netanyahu will be able to pull together the nationalist and right-wing parties to form a new coalition, but whether that coalition be able to achieve a majority and form a new government is unknown and uncertain. Israel is on a seesaw between opposite and incompatible political poles and there is no way in sight to bring these political players together in any form of compromise. 

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