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Muhtar Kent, A Living Business Legend for Turkish Americans Melih Abdulhayoğlu: Robin Hood of Internet Security Mustafa K. Abadan: One of the Most Influential Living Turkish Architects

Good Men Never Die: Burhan Doğançay Zekİ Uygur Kaya Tuncer

Dr. Oz: “Obesity More Dangerous for Americans than Economic Crisis”


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Cemil Özyurt

Get Together People, Hurry Up


In the United States, the Turkish population is approximately 350,000- 400,000 and the people have spread across the country. In the New York and New Jersey area, it is easy to find Turkish-American organizations and they can get together often, but this is very hard to accomplish in Florida, California or Illinois.


The numbers of Turkish-Americans could be less than those of the Korean, Chinese, Italian or Irish communities, but Americans of Turkish origin can be found in every economic sector and they are getting stronger. It is not like in Europe, where most people of Turkish descent have blue-collar jobs.

EDITOR Patricia Russo

Compared with the Armenians, Greeks and Jews living in the USA, the achievements of the American Turks are clearly visible. Now, Turkish immigrants are successfully taking part in the political, economic, cultural and sports life of their new countries and have no problems adopting a new citizenship. To have a stronger community in the United States, successful names, especially in business, people should get together under one organization. It would be a kind of business club, or just like Turkey’s TUSIAD (Turkish Industry and Business Association), a version of that in America. There are approximately 250 Turkish-American organizations in the US and most of them are having financial problems. Even when they have a good project, they struggle to find funding. Even for small businesses, we do not have credit unions as many different ethnic communities do. Giving financial help to Turkish-American organizations is very crucial and I believe we have enough business people to help these institutions across the country. The only problem is that they do not know each other and they don’t even know how to give back to their communities. Some of them live in suburban areas or very far away from Turkish-American enclaves, some of them lack trust in their countrymen due to having had bad experiences before, and some of them just do not want to be involved with anything Turkish-related. To get wealthy people together is not a problem; however, what will keep their motivation high? Who will lead and how will it work? I believe that people can only be united for a big project, ideal or cause. Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca Cola, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union are very important opportunities not to be missed for Turkish Americans. We had similar opportunity over the past 50 years with the late Ahmet Ertegün and Arif Mardin, but we did miss them. With these people’s help, Turkish-Americans could be represented in any field successfully, but first we need to prepare a road map and show them how we can do it together. TURKOFAMERICA RECEIVED EXCELLENCE IN MEDIA AWARD The 32nd Annual Turkish American National Convention took place April 12-14, 2012. At the event, TurkofAmerica Magazine was given an award by America’s best- established national Turkish-American organizations -- the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA), and Turkish American Community Centers (TACC) for its contribution to the Turkish-American community over the last 10 years. Cemil Özyurt, Editor-in-Chief of TurkofAmerica, received the ‘Excellence in Media’ award from Namık Tan, Turkish Ambassador to the United States, at reception at Embassy Residence.


ART DIRECTOR Mehmet Akif Atasoy

CONTRIBUTORS Demet Cabbar, Burcu Gündoğan, Melda Akansel, Halim Özyurt ADVISING COMMITTEE Ali Günertem, Egemen Bağış, Ekmel Anda, Ferhan Geylan, G. Lincoln McCurdy, Günay Evinch, Hakkı Akbulak, Melih Abdulhayoğlu, Mehmet Çelebi, Osman (Oz) Bengür, Uğur Terzioğlu MAIN OFFICE TURKOFAMERICA, LLC. One Bridge Plaza N. Suite 275 Fort Lee, NJ 07024 Tel: +1 (201) 849 4445 info@ Follow on @turkofamerica REPRESENTATIVES IN THE U.S. CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles) Barbaros Tapan-btapan@ turkofamerica. com Tel: +1 (213) 924 8027 MASSACHUSETTS Mustafa Aykaç Tel: +1 (857) 205 8318 NEW YORK (Rochester) Ersoy Tel: +1 (707) 394 5349 EUROPE Yasin Yağcı Tel: +31 (624) 66 92 23 TURKEY GENERAL COORDINATOR Nuri Ö MARKETING & SALES SUBSCRIPTION & DISTRIBUTION TOA Basın Yayın Tic.Ltd.Şti. Büyükdere Caddesi Yapı Kredi Plaza C Blok No:40/41 Kat 17 Levent / İstanbul Tel:+ 90 212 282 37 11 Tel : +90 (212) 317 47 85

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“DR ZEKI UYGUR “, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED IN OUR HEARTS If Dr. Zeki Uygur had been someone who gave importance to money, he would have been a millionaire, but money was not a priority for him. Until his death he lived in a rented apartment in Connecticut.


SPECIAL INTERVIEW DR MEHMET OZ Mehmet Cengiz Öz, also known as Dr. Oz, is a Turkish-American cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and television personality. Oz first appeared on the The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004, and later on Larry King Live and other TV programs


MUHTAR KENT, A LIVING LEGEND FOR TURKISH AMERICANS Golden Turk Awards jurors selected Muhtar Kent for juror’s special award. Muhtar Kent is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company.












GOOD MEN NEVER DIE Kaya Tuncer, 74, passed away on January 7, 2012 at his Pacific Palisades home after a two-and-a-half-year struggle with stomach cancer and its complications.


ROBIN HOOD OF INTERNET SECURITY Comodo is the only company producing anti- virus and SSL (secure socket layers) security certificate in the world. .


ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL LIVING TURKISH ARCHITECTS New York City’s skyscrapers offer a spectacular view to the city viewers. Even if you walk down the Manhattan streets every day, you cannot help yourself but admire buildings laddering high into the sky.


A DEDICATED LIFE TO TURKISH-AMERICAN RELATIONS G. Lincoln McCurdy has over 30 years of leadership and management experience in both U.S. government service and the private sector. He has extensive experience in dealing with bi-national boards.


THE KING CONSOLIDATOR OF TOURISM INDUSTRY Picasso Travel was established over 30 years ago by Turkish entrepreneur Huseyin Ozyurtcu and his late wife Esin.


FATHER OF WALL ART No other artist has explored urban walls as thoroughly and with the same passion Dogancay has.


THE YOUNG TURKS: THE LARGEST NEWS SHOW ON INTERNET Cenk Uygur is host of The Young Turks on Current TV as well as the host and co-founder of The Young Turks online which is the largest news show on the Internet.


THE TRUE GUIDE FOR AMERICAN EDUCATION SYSTEM Mezun Group’s first project was, which later gave its name to the Group. Mezun started the company in April of 1999.


BARBAROS KARAAHMET JOINS HERRICK A familiar name to the Turkish- American community in New York City in the field of trade and international corporate law, Barbaros Karaahmet has transferred to Herrick, Feinstein LLP.


ASTRUM’S GOAL IS TO HAVE $1B IN ASSET Astrum focuses on providing a conservative investment profile with the best risk adjusted returns they can offer.


VAKIFBANK: “WE WANT TO SUPPORT TURKISH ENTREPRENEURS” The bank has grown eight-fold from 2002 to 2012. The number of employees has reached over 13,500 and now they aim to open 250 more branches and establish a place in top 4 banks in Turkey by 2015.


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The winners of the Golden Turk Awards competition, organized by TurkofAmerica to reward successful Turks who are living in the United States, were announced in 18 different categories. A total of 138 candidates from 22 different states participated in the competition and 26 jurors were engaged to select the most successful Turkish Americans.



he jurors rewarded Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, Dr. Mehmet Öz, the famous heart doctor, and Güler Köknar, Director of the Turkish Cultural Foundation, with the jury’s special award. The Golden Turk Awards’ Organizing Committee also rewarded the late Dr. Zeki Uygur and Mezun Group for their contributions to the Turkish-American community. The competition among Turks living in the U.S. was the first such competition on a national basis. Individuals and institutions from approximately 22 different states applied to take part in the competition. HOW WERE THE CANDIDATES SELECTED? The Golden Turk Awards Applications Committee started to receive the first applications in March 2010 and they accepted over 400 applications. The committee of 13 people examined whether the candidates fit the criteria of the competition and they reviewed each applicant individually. The Committee, which screened candidates under 10 different criteria, determined on 138 candidates to present to the jury. These 138 candidates were introduced to the public for online voting. The candidate with the most votes in the survey was


entitled to +1 vote according to rules of the contest and they were presented to the jury with this advantage. After online voting was completed, the jury individually evaluated the finalists. The jurors consisted of 26 persons and the names of the jurors included respected businessmen in Turkey and the United States, professional managers, academicians, politicians and community leaders determined in their respective fields. WHO WERE THE JURORS? The jurors consisted of seven professionals, six academics, six civil society leaders, five businessmen and two authors. Top executives of institutions such as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce (TACCI), the Turkish American Business Forum (TABF) and the Istanbul-based Turkish-American Business Association (TABA-AmCham) were jurors of the Golden Turk Awards competition. The largest number of candidates, 15, were nominated for ‘The Most Successful Academician” category, with 10 candidates for ‘’The Most Successful Company’’, ‘’The Most Successful Young Turk’’ and ‘’The Most Successful Artist’’ categories.

CATEGORIES AND WINNERS 1- The Most Successful Businesswoman YILDIZ BLACKSTONE, President at BEluxury 2- The Most Successful Businessman HÜSEYİN ÖZYURTÇU, Chairman of Board of Picasso Travel 3- The Most Successful Professional MUSTAFA ABADAN, Partner of SOM 4- The Most Successful Entrepreneur MELIH ABDULHAYOĞLU, President & CEO of Comodo 5- The Most Successful Academician GÖKHAN HOTAMIŞLIGİL, J.S. Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism Chair, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases 6- The Most Successful Turkish American Activist ERGUN KIRLIKOVALI, President of ATAA 7- The Most Successful Turkish American Community Leader YAVUZ ATILA 8- The Most Supportive American LINCOLN MCCURDY, President of TCA 9- The Most Successful Artist BURHAN DOĞANÇAY 10- The Most Successful Musician OMAR FARUK TEKBILEK 11- International Golden Turk FAHİR ATAKOĞLU, Pianist and composer. 12- Young Turk CENK UYGUR, TV and radio talk show host. 13- The Most Successful Non-profit Organization AMERICAN TURKISH ASSOCIATION OF DC 14- The Most Successful Company MAVI JEANS 15- Brand of the Year SARAR 16- The Most Successful Local Business Partner FORD & KOC 17- The Most Social Responsible Company TULUMBA 18- The Most Successful Start-up BIDBOX Jury Special Awards: MUHTAR KENT, CEO of COCA COLA, DR. MEHMET ÖZ, GÜLER KÖKNAR, Director of TCF. The Golden Turk Awards Community Support Awards: MEZUN GROUP, DR ZEKİ UYGUR

“The Most Successful Musician’’, ‘’The Most Successful Entrepreneurs’’ and ‘’The Most Successful Non-Governmental Organization’’ categories had nine finalists while ‘’The Most Socially Responsible Company’’ and ‘’The Most Successful Community Leader’’ categories had only four finalists. Candidates could apply as individuals and institutions in a maximum of two categories. The most challenging election occurred in the businessman, musician and scholar categories. The Board of Directors of the Golden Turk Awards was made up of Cemil Özyurt, Editor and Co-Founder of TurkofAmerica, Ömer Güneş, Founder and General Manager of TurkofAmerica, Mesut Darendeli, CEO of Rhxo Technology, and Ekmel Anda, CEO of Unique Settings of New York. 43 PEOPLE WORKED 1.5 YEARS FOR THE COMPETITION A total of 43 people, among them the 13 members of the Golden Turk Awards Committee, the 26 jurors, and the four organizing committee members spent 1.5 years on this competition. Over 100,000 visitors visited the website for reviewing the candidates in a one-month period. 18,000 individuals participated in the online voting. THE GOLDEN TURK AWARDS COMMITTEE • Ali Günertem, member of TURKOFAMERICA Magazine Advising Committee • Ali Cinar, President of Federation of Turkish American Associations • Ariel Sagiz, Private Wealth Consultant • Ayşe Önal Zamboğlu, Former TURKOFAMERICA California Representative • Cüneyt Gürkan, President of Bibi & Mimi Inc. • Demet Cabbar, President of American Turkish Association in Washington, D.C. • Ertan Turhan, Professional (İstanbul, Turkey) • Göknur Akçadağ, Assistant Prof. at Yıldız Technical University • Mustafa Aykaç, TURKOFAMERICA Boston Representative • Ozan Bacak, CPA • Şahap Gizlen, Financial Controller and Management Strategist at Einstein Gastronomiegruppe. • Ural Yeşil, Co-Founder of Forum Newspaper, Executive of Anatolian Agency

JURORS Ali Günertem Member of TURKOFAMERICA Magazine Advising Committee, (Washington, D.C.) Burçak Akduman Business Consultant, TURKOFAMERICA Media Group Adviser (Istanbul) Cano Özgener Founder of CAO Cigars, (Nashville, TN) Ertan Turhan Professional (İstanbul) Faruk Şen, Prof. President of TAVAK (İstanbul) Günay Evinç Former President of American Turkish Associations Assemble (Washington, D.C.) Günseli Özen Ocakoğlu Editor – in – Chief of Marketing Türkiye Magazine (İstanbul) Hüseyin Ünver President of Unver & Unver LLC (New York City, NY) Jennifer Eaton Gökmen Co-creator, Tales from the Expat Harem (İstanbul) John J. Driscoll Lawyer, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP (New York City, NY) Mahmut Topal Turkish American Chamber of Commerce & Industry VP (New York, NY) Mehmet Ali Özkan President of Ajans Press Media Monitoring A.S. (İstanbul) Mona Diamond Honorary Consul General of Georgia (Atlanta, GA) Mehmet Çelebi Turkish American community leader (Chicago, IL) Murat Tarımcılar, Prof. Department of Decision Sciences , The GWU (Washington, D.C.) Osman Bengür Banker, Owner of PJPA LLC, the first Turkish American candidate for Congress (Baltimore, MD) Oya Bain Activist, Independent Civic & Social Organization Professional (Washington, D.C. ) Ozan Düzalan Businessmen, President of Opal Gıda (İzmir) Patricia Russo Author, educator, copyeditor of TURKOFAMERICA Magazine (Guthenberg, NJ) Serdar Erener President of Alamet-i Farika Advertising Agency (İstanbul) Türker Özdoğan, Prof. Professor of Ceramics, MFA George Washington Uni. (Washington, D.C.) Uğur Terzioğlu Former Chairman of Turkish American Business Association (İstanbul) Yener Erozan, MD – Pathologist, John Hopkins University, (Baltimore, MD)


Dr ZekI Uygur, You WIll Always Be Remembered In Our Hearts If Dr. Zeki Uygur had been someone who gave importance to money, he would have been a millionaire, but money was not a priority for him. Until his death he lived in a rented apartment in Connecticut. He commuted by train from his home in Connecticut to his Manhattan office up to the age of 86.


y Cemil Özyurt - Since the first day I came to the United States, I heard the name of Dr. Zeki Uygur in different environments. He succeeded in touching the lives of many people. Dr. Uygur treated thousands of orphans, people who were alone, and the poor free of charge. He not only treated the people for free, but he also gave allowances to them if they needed money. When he heard that any Turkish person needed treatment in any hospital in the New York metropolitan area, he traveled miles on trains to help them, met with their physicians, referred the patients to other services. Sometimes he even paid their hospital bills. When his patients did not have money, he would say, ‘’No problem, you can pay later.’’ When his secretary angrily asked him, ‘’Dr. Uygur, you do not receive any money from patients. How will we pay our rent?’’ he replied, ‘’Don’t worry, we can find a way.’’ He was a father, an uncle or a big brother for many people who asked for help and Dr. Uygur, who passed away on March 8th, 2012, was a true legend to the Turks living in New York. We had heard so many nice stories about him that we decided to cover his story for TurkofAmerica in 2009. Our reporter had an appointment and went to his office but she returned empty-handed. ‘’Come, I’ll treat you to some tea. I’ll tell you my story and you listen, but do not write. I don’t want to be on the cover because people will think I am advertising,’’ Dr. Uygur said to our reporter. Even when there were some people who offered money to be on the cover of that issue, I was impressed more with his humble and modest attitude. He did not give us permission to write up his story, but we decided to do it for the magazine cover anyway. First we contacted the Young Turks group, which has met on a regular basis for over 40 years. We talked to his oldest friends in the U.S., Mehmet Güven and Emirhan Buzlucalı, Attorney Cahit Akbulut who shared his office with Dr. Uygur, and Kenan Ordu, a young member of the group. The Young Turks is the oldest Turkish-American group, which has succeeded in getting together continuously for over 40 years. About 40 people meet once a month in New York’s different Turkish restaurants and they read poetry, chat and share memories of their homesickness. When TurkofAmeria interviewed Mehmet Guven, one of Dr. Uygur’s oldest friends, he said something that best described Dr Uygur: “Let’s say a Turkish person works at a gas station and has an accident at very


Dr. Zeki Uygur (Courtesy of of Ali Baba Restaurant)

far away part of Long Island. When Dr. Uygur learns that the person has trouble in a hospital, he doesn’t say anything to anyone and gets a train or taxi. He doesn’t even ask anyone for a ride. He reaches the hospital. If there is anything he can do to help, he helps, talks with patient’s doctors. Sometimes he puts some allowance in the patients’ pocket. He was the most unique person I have ever met.” When we finished the feature story about him for TurkofAmerica, the headline was ‘Living Treasure for Turkish-American Community’. We were sure he would be upset about it and we were afraid of his reaction. After quite a time, I explained how important featuring his story for future generations was. He was calm and did not say anything. Dr. Zeki Uygur was an important treasure for the Turkish-American community and his story must be told to future generations. Generally this kind of person is seen in Hollywood dramas/movies such as Dr. Jack in Lost, an American television series that originally aired on ABC. We were lucky, however. We were able to meet Dr. Uygur as a living character. If Dr. Zeki Uygur had been someone who gave importance to money, he would have been a millionaire, but money was not a priority for him. Until his death he lived in a rented apartment in Connecticut. He commuted by train from his home in Connecticut to his Manhattan office up to the age of 86. He had an ordinary life. I saw many sobbing people at his funeral ceremony on March 10, in front of Ali Baba Restaurant, the place on 2nd Avenue and 46th Street; he spent most of his leisure time in New York. A person would cry so sincerely for his mother or his father. So he was able to touch many people’s lives in a deep way.. Dr. Uygur had the same interest and sensitivity for all people, from Serpico, a well known and legendary undercover police officer shot by his friends in the NYPD in the 1970’s, to an illegal immigrant who jumped from a ship to enter to the U.S. We have a lot to learn from Dr. Uygur’s sensitivity. His legacy should not be forgotten and his story should be told to future generations. This is important because it will show what capacity a person has to help his countrymen. When his friends said, “OK. You don’t ask for money from your patients but they are taking advantage of your good intentions,” his response was always the same: “You look at the result. The man healed.” Yes, Dr. Uygur, those people healed and they still pray for you. I hope we will have more doctors like you we can pray for.


Dr Oz: ObesIty More

Dangerous for AmerIcans

than EconomIc CrIsIs He is a two-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning host, authored seven New York Times Best Sellers, was named Forbes’ #3 most influential celebrity (2010-11), and has been honored as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (2008). Dr. Oz is also the eighth Turk to grace the cover of Time magazine.


ollowing the path of his father, Dr. Mustafa Oz, Mehmet received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University (1982) and obtained a joint MD and MBA (1986) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School. His Dr Oz Show, which debuted on September 14, 2009, has transmitted more than 500 episodes. He shakes the nation with his shows. A while ago, he also transformed the nation, with a reality show that focuses on transforming America through physical fitness, nutrition and time management. The contest began September 26, 2011 and ended May 23, 2012 and over one million people took part in it, to lose weight to win 1 million dollars. Taking some time from his busy schedule, Dr Oz talked to Cemil Özyurt, Editor-in-Chief of TurkofAmerica at his Rockefeller office in New York.


Which is the more serious problem for Americans, the economic crisis or obesity? I think is obesity more dangerous for Americans. The reason is because the economic crisis will pass or be absorbed by other issues, but obesity is mortgaging the future of the country. There is no way for us to build affordable health care, which is the major drag on businesses competing overseas. This is the number one health issue in our country. The number one health issue that drives at least a third of health expenses is obesity. A sedentary life style, processed foods, weight gain that leads to high cholesterol, high blood sugar, it leads to hypertension and it’s something that we know to be reversible by losing the weight. Unlike jobs which are hard to make, losing weight, it something you control. In the other things individually, if you control your own body, you can control the world outside of it. So it’s that connection that’s driving a lot of the desire to change.

By Cemil Özyurt - Dr Mehmet Oz is a cardiologist, author, TV host, one of our most influential celebrities, and a true guide for Americans to have healthier life. He is a twotime Daytime Emmy Award-winning host, authored seven New York Times Best Sellers, was named Forbes’ #3 most influential celebrity (2010-11), and has been honored as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (2008). Dr. Oz is also the eighth Turk to grace the cover of Time magazine.


When I watch your program, I can easily understand what you are trying to explain even if it’s a very complicated health problem. What is your secret? This is from my mother because she taught me how to listen to people. She taught me how give information to people with the right energy. I have to able to give you bad news and have you still respect me. That’s what being a doctor is all about, and too often I find that we are giving people news that they want to hear, not news that they need to hear. And if we can get better at giving people news they need to hear, making it accessible, making it uplifting, and playful, these are very important tips to allowing people to be the change agents. The show lives there. The show seeks to visit you in your home. Give you information that maybe you didn’t think to know, or maybe you thought you knew already, but do it in a playful, fun, uplifting way but still change you. So they have been entertained and learned at the same time. Yes it’s like Edu-tainment. Do you think doctors’ terminology is very complicated for people? The better you understand the problem, the more you clearly you can explain it. When you talk to a world class person who really understands their field, they can make it very simple. Whether it’s computers, or rockets, or medicine, it’s same story. So we use big words because it helps us talk to each other in medicine, but we should be smart enough to use other words, that are English words, to help you. It’s like a priest telling you how to pray using a foreign language. It is not going to work. It shouldn’t work. It’s not your fault. The audience should not feel badly that they don’t understand the words. There is a word, iatrogenic, which means that we don’t know why it’s happening. We should just say we don’t understand why it’s happening. That would be just as effective. What do you think about having Turkish heritage? I feel we are so blessed with our Turkish heritage. Being able to see the East and the West. Living in the place they meet – the confluence of paradigms is Turkey. It allows us to effortlessly -- we shouldn’t underestimate how important this is. I can see very complex problems and find solutions. So I can connect the dots others can’t connect because I’ve grown up in a culture where we could see and respect different philosophies, bring them together, we’ll find better solutions. So I think as Turks we have an opportunity and obligation. Especially if we leave Turkey, to bring that wisdom to other countries you go to and go out and see back to the country Turkey. That’s why this magazine exists because there is a value coming from the heritage. The pride that we should all have, having been blessed with that background, it should infuse everything we do here.


You have lived in the greatest wealthy nations in the world but when you have traveled and you have seen different cultures, countries, and poor people. How do the differences between two worlds affect you and your career? I struggle a lot with how you provide health in a country where there’s not a lot of wealth. But yet if you look at America, we have lots of wealth but we don’t have health. You cannot be a healthy country unless you understand how you do it in your our home. You cannot be a wealthy country if you are not a healthy country. So ironically some times poor countries have a better quality of life because they are healthier in their homes. I don’t think you have to be rich to be healthy. Often times it hurts you to be rich. You start to take short cuts. The ability to actually get up and lift a bucket of water and carry it to the top of the hill keeps you healthy. For example, when I go to Southern Turkey, I see people who don’t have a lot of wealth but they are blessed by sun, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish. Foods that are naturally healthy for them. They have vision, purpose. A big message here is if your heart has a reason to keep beating it will. They have to have a purpose. That all comes from simplicity. The big lesson I am focused on these days is silence. I think the world has gotten so noisy. Between our cell phones, instant messaging, websites, television. It has become so busy. You don’t have five minutes of silence you need every day to put things in perspective. That would be a recommendation I make to the readers. Try to find those five minutes. You can go to the bathroom to be quiet. You can meditate. Free your brain to not think at all. You will than get wisdom. Which naturally the brain is trying to work out anyway. Are you planning to write a new book? I am pretty busy. I still operate on Thursdays. The show is a fulltime commitment. I am writing a lot for the website. has 40 million pages view a month now. So I think my time is better spent crafting on content work on the web. How many hours do you sleep every day? This is important. I sleep seven and half hours every night. Doesn’t it matter how busy you are? No. I set my alarm for 10.00pm at night. I get in bed every night at 10.00pm. A good friend of mine called me on Tuesday. It was 09.50pm. He said, “I just want to talk to you a few minutes.” I said “No.” He said, “Just for a couple minutes, it’s 9.50.” I said, “No. I am going to bed. You never talk less than10 minutes anyway and you’ll say things that’ll keep me awake.” You have to be assertive.

Photo: Bahri Karaaslan

Dr Oz with Cemil Ozyurt, Editor-in-Chief of TurkofAmerica.

First Lady Michelle Obama is back on Oz’s stage along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and they have a big announcement that will change the health of our nation’s kids!

First Lady Michelle Obama Appears on‚ The Dr. Oz Show‚ In Support of her Let Move! Initiative NEW YORK (PRNewswire) Michelle Obama, whose advocacy for fitness and nutrition have been a cornerstone of her work as First Lady, appears on the nationally syndicated The Dr. Oz Show on the third anniversary of her monumental “Let’s Move!” campaign. Joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the First Lady discusses how physical activity affects children’s health and academic achievement. The episode aired on Thursday, February 28, to coincide with a major announcement about bringing physical activity back to schools, to be made by Mrs. Obama and Secretary Duncan.

TV host or writing a book? I like being a TV host even more than writing. I like talking to people, seeing people. I like having a team around me helping make me these toys I get to use, models, animations. I like to use all that. You’re on TV every day. You have passed 440 episodes already. Are you ever afraid of repeating yourself? As many people as there are in the world, there are that many stories. So much of what we talk about is based on how you’re interpreting it. So I can do weight loss 100 different ways. I can do the biology of blubber, the science of weight loss, I can do the emotions of weight loss, I can do people who don’t know better, they can’t lose weight, I can do the strife within a family causing weight issues, I can talk about hormone replacement therapy, HCG injections, gastric bypass surgery, I can go with 50 different ideas. They all work because they are all different ways of fueling same elephant. That’s reality. And the show – and this is important. This is not a health show, it’s a show about life. I’m looking at it through the lenses of a doctor, but the show is about life itself. If you are comedian, actress, or doctor you can talk about life. You just have

“Mrs. Obama’s advocacy for physical activity in schools is an investment in our future and will give our children longer, healthier lives,” said host Mehmet Oz, MD. “The First Lady’s sense of urgency on this topic goes hand-in-glove with the conversation we have with our audience every day. I’m humbled and honored that Mrs. Obama and the Secretary of Education will appear on our show to continue this national conversation with our viewers.” The two-time Emmy Awardwinning nationally syndicated The Dr. Oz Show first hosted Michelle Obama as a guest in September 2012.

very different ways of coming to the issues. You have more gravitas on some things. You have to deliver to people what they want from you. People don’t want their doctor to be a comedian, they only want him to be accessible. What are your suggestions to Turkish students who pursue their career in the U.S. as doctor? I have a lot of students; doctors from Turkey come to the hospital to visit me. I always say them, do what is your passion is about. Don’t do it for the money. If you’re passionate about it you will be the best at it and you will make money. If you do it for money and you do not love it you will not be good at it and you will not make money. After Ahmet Ertegun passed away, the Turkish-American community needs a role model to lead us. Muhtar Kent said he was too busy and he couldn’t do it. What do you say? Ahmet Ertegun was my patient. We were very close friends. I would love to help play that role. I think for sure Muhtar Kent, in the business community, which is big part of your readership, is the ideal. I love him.



Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca Cola

Muhtar Kent, A LIvIng Legend for TurkIsh-AmerIcans Golden Turk Awards jurors selected Muhtar Kent for the juror’s special award. Muhtar Kent is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company.


uhtar Kent is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. Kent joined The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta in 1978 and has held a variety of marketing and operations roles throughout his career. In 1985, he was appointed General Manager of Coca-Cola Turkey and Central Asia. From 1989 to 1995, he served as President of the Company’s East Central Europe Division and Senior Vice President of Coca-Cola International, with responsibility for 23 countries. Between 1995 and 1998, Mr. Kent served as Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil Limited - Europe, covering bottling operations in 12 countries. From 1999 until his return to The Coca-Cola Company in May 2005, he served as President and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group, a large publicly held beverage company which was also the majority shareholder of Coca-Cola Icecek, A.S., currently the sixth largest bottler in the Coca-Cola system. Kent was President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company’s North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group from 2005 until early 2006, where he was responsible for the operations across


a broad and diverse geographic region that included China, Japan and Russia. He served as President of Coca-Cola International from February 2006, responsible for operations outside of North America, until his appointment in December 2006 as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, overseeing all operations of the business. Kent became Chief Executive Officer of the Company on July 1, 2008, and Chairman of the Board of Directors on April 23, 2009. Kent holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Hull University, England, and a Master of Science degree in Administrative Sciences from CASS business school at City University in London. He also holds an honorary doctorate in Law from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and an honorary doctorate in Economics from the University of Hull. Kent is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association, co-chair of The Consumer Goods Forum, a member of the Business Roundtable, and a member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors. He was former the Chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council and Chairman of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.


A True Supporter of TurkIsh AmerIcan CommunIty and HerItage The Turkish Cultural Foundation was established in 2000 with the mission to support the preservation and promotion of Turkish culture and heritage worldwide.


uler Köknar is a graduate of the German High School in Istanbul (1985) and the Istanbul University School of Law (1989). She entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey as a career diplomat in 1989 and worked in various capacities until 1994, including as Vice Consul at the Turkish Consulate General in Houston. Leaving the Foreign Service, from 1994 to 2002, Köknar worked as Executive Director of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) in Washington, DC. In 2004, Köknar became Executive Director of the Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF). She also works as Vice President of the Turkish Coalition of America, an organization she helped to establish in 2007. Köknar is married and has a daughter. Over the span of her professional life at Turkish American organizations, Mrs. Köknar has worked to enhance the sense of common mission and the spirit of cooperation in the Turkish American community. Under the visionary leadership and generous support of Drs.Yalçın and Serpil Ayaslı, the founders of TCF, Mrs. Köknar has helped grown TCF grow into the premier Turkish American cultural organization. TCF underwrites and organizes major cultural and art programs related to Turkish culture and art, including festivals, exhibitions, workshops and lectures. Over the years, TCF has also grown into the largest private grant-maker for projects related to Turkish culture. TCF grants have helped launch and grow many cultural programs organized by local Turkish American organizations, such as Turkish cultural and film festivals, exhibitions and lectures, promoting Turkey and the Turkish American heritage to America. TCF’s Turkish American Community Schools Grant has helped establish or expand over a dozen weekend schools by Turkish American local organizations. Partnering with the World Affairs Councils of America in 2007, the TCF nationwide educational program has reached thousands of American teachers through workshops on Turkey and has taken 348 teachers on the TCF Teacher Study Tours to Turkey. TCF has also introduced over 200 influential Americans from different walks of life to Turkey through the TCF Cultural Tours program. Established as a foreign foundation branch in Turkey in 2005, TCF’s Turkey based programs and grants are contributing to the preservation of Turkey’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. In addition to providing research fellowships on Turkish culture and art to scholars in Turkey and worldwide, TCF recently established the Culinary Arts Institute – YESAM and the Natural Dyes Research and Development Laboratory – DATU in Istanbul to research, preserve and promote Turkey’s culinary and textile heritage.


Güler Köknar, Executive Director of the Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF).


Good Men Never DIe The chain of events leading up to Tuncer’s greatest achievement’ development of one of the world’s leading industrial parks’ reads like a classic American immigrant success story.


aya Tuncer, 74, passed away on January 7, 2012 at his Pacific Palisades home after a two-and-a-half-year struggle with stomach cancer and its complications. A resident in Pacific Palisades, CA since 1969, Tuncer was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and mega-builder. He oversaw numerous large construction projects and business ventures throughout the world. The chain of events leading up to Tuncer’s greatest achievement’ development of one of the world’s leading industrial parks’ reads like a classic American immigrant success story. Tuncer was born in 1937 in Trabzon, Turkey. His father was a high school teacher of Turkish literature. His mother worked as a seamstress so that they could afford to send him to a Frenchlanguage boarding school in Istanbul. At the age of 19, the bold and determined young Turk immigrated to the U.S. to pursue his dream of becoming a builder. Tuncer arrived in California in 1957 with only $80 in his pocket and set out to complete his higher education. He worked various jobs, including washing dishes, to put himself through college and send money back to his family in Turkey. He first studied at Santa Ana College, and then obtained a degree in civil engineering from UC Berkeley in 1962. While living at International House at Berkeley, Tuncer met his future wife of 48 years, Mary. Kaya and Mary were married a year and a half later, first living in Santa Ana, then in married-student housing at USC, where Tuncer received an MBA in international business in 1967. Just before they were expecting their first child, Kaya and Mary moved to Pacific Palisades and bought their first house on Bollinger Drive. Tuncer had a 50-year career with major construction, architectural, engineering and real estate development companies, eventually starting his own company. In the 1960s and early ‘70s, Tuncer worked at the Los Angeles-based


Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall (DMJM) and Gruen Associates. In the early 1970s, just before their second daughter was born, Kaya and Mary built a new home for themselves on Lucero Drive, off Paseo Miramar. As a construction executive for Bechtel Corporation in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Tuncer played a major role in the development of the Saudi Arabian Industrial City of Jubail and the James Bay hydroelectric complex in Canada. He moved the whole family to Montreal for one year, then Saudi Arabia for six years, eventually returning to their home in the Palisades. Tuncer eventually left Bechtel to start his own ventures. Shortly thereafter, the Turkish government offered him the opportunity to develop and operate the Aegean Free Zone in Izmir, Turkey. Tuncer launched the project in 1990 on 550 acres of vacant land. Today, the Aegean Free Zone is Turkey’s leading industrial park, employing 20,000 people, with a trade volume of $5 billion in 2011. “If the Aegean Free Zone is testimony to Tuncer’s most remarkable contribution as a builder, then the establishment of Space Camp Turkey can be considered his biggest gift to youth of the world,’” remarked Scott Woodham, director of international marketing for Space Camp Turkey.‘Tuncer’s vision to shape future leaders through space science education has resulted in over 100,000 participants from nearly 55 countries,’ Woodham added. Tuncer had many other interests. He was an antique-car aficionado, creating an antique-car museum at the Aegean Free Zone with 21 cars, including many brought from the U.S. He loved boats and often spent weekends or vacations boating in the Aegean. He enjoyed music, especially classical and Turkish music. Eight years ago, Tuncer bought a vacation home in Lake Tahoe, where he enjoyed spending time with his family. He is survived by his wife, Mary; daughters Deniz (husband Derek Cressman) of Sacramento and Ayshe (Mike Anderson) of Santa Cruz; and two grandchildren, Sylvie and Peri. Both daughters graduated from Palisades High. (Source:

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The RobIn Hood of Internet SecurIty O Comodo is the only company producing anti-virus and SSL (secure socket layers) security certificates in the world. . The company is growing by fifty percent every year and employs over 1000 people in its offices in six countries.


ne of the most important problems today is Internet and computer security. Both the security of personal information and the security of computers are at risk in many ways. Melih Abdulhayoglu, a businessman from Antakya, has one of the world’s largest Internet security companies in an industry of significant importance. Abdulhayoglu is the founder and owner of Comodo. The company is growing by fifty percent every year and employs over 1000 people in its offices in six countries. Comodo is the world’s second largest digital SSL certificate program provider. Abdulhayoglu started in the industry by renting computer games in a small office in England. In the antivirus market, companies such as Norton, Panda, McAfee, TrendMicro, and Kaspersky are competing with each other. Abdulhayoglu offers anti- virus software to Internet users free of charge. Abdulhayoglu talks about his start in the field, his competitors, his firm, and plans for Comodo’s recently opened office in Turkey.

Comodo has just opened R&D center in Middle East Technical University (METU) Techno-Park Melih Abdulhayoğlu with his Comodo team.

in Ankara and employs 15 engineers.

To talk about your career and life story, how did you decide to get training abroad and establish an Internet security company? I was born in Antakya in 1968. I completed my primary, secondary education and high school in Antakya. I was not so successful at school; I failed two years of secondary level education and high school. I always wanted to be an electronics engineer and I was addicted to electronics. I made my first electronic circuit when I was 9. I went to England for graduate education and I realized my dream at the University of Bradford. There was nothing like game renting in computers in the 1990s. Renting games became possible due to the device that I developed. I opened a small office just for game renting in England. My business life started this way; however, I didn’t want to stay there a game renter. I was more interested in the field of Internet security. I established Comodo in June in 1998. There was a building allocated for the textile department at the University of Bradford where I studied. However, the building was put up for sale as textile production stopped in the

country, so I bought it. We started to work in a part of the building as Comodo. That was the beginning of how Comodo was founded in England. Comodo is the first company offering a “virus-free guarantee” in the anti- virus market in the USA. Furthermore, in comparison with your competitors, you offer your software to the users free of charge. Could you explain how Comodo is different from the competition in this respect? Comodo’s aim is to create a secure medium on the Internet. We started out with the phrase of “Creating Trust Online.” Comodo is the only company producing anti-virus and SSL (secure socket layers) security certificates in the world. It is different from its competitors in this respect. Our competitors operate either in the field of anti-virus or SSL only. However, we are active in both. In a word, we are competing against the SSL producers such as VeriSign and some antivirus companies such as Norton. It is certified through the tests carried out by independent organizations in the field of anti-virus that Comodo offers provides 100%


Melih Abdulhayoğlu with his family.

protection against viruses. For example, according to the test of Norton’s anti-virus program of Internet Security 2010 and Comodo Internet Security Premium Free 5.0 anti-virus program, Norton’s product offers 90% protection while Comodo provides 100% protection. We are not only a good Internet security programmer but also we provide a better protection against new virus and malware programs. Comodo is on the top 10-list in the anti-virus market; we ensure the security of many prestigious companies and organizations in America. As of late, we have entered into application agreements for thousands of certificates in order to ensure that the web pages of 120 universities and colleges around the USA are more secure. We have started to issue SSL certificates. We have surpassed VeriSign in the North American market. We are growing by 50% per year in the user field. Did you have any special reason for choosing the name Comodo? While choosing a name for the company, we were inspired by the name of one of the thousands of Indonesian islands, the Island of Komodo. The island takes its name from the komodo, which is the world’s largest living lizard. The komodo hunts strategically. It first poisons its prey and then waits for it to die. We at Comodo believe in the importance of a patient strategy as the way to reach the target. Thus, we chose the name of our company to be Comodo, with a “C,” for this reason. Do you have offices in countries other than the USA? We took Comodo to the state of New Jersey in the USA from England in 2004. We have more than 1,000 employees around world. We have opened offices in England, India, Ukraine, Romania, China, Japan and finally the office in Turkey. More than half of our employees are engineers; the rest work in the sales and marketing department. We are going to offer all Comodo products to Turkish customers with 20 employees in our office in Turkey that opened recently. Additionally, Comodo’s product, the PC doctor Geek Buddy, will be offered for the first time to the market by our office here with a Turkish language option. What are Comodo’s goals and strategies? Our strategy is to make the Internet a secure medium. It is not fair to sell a computer to people for $400 and demand $300 for the computer’s security. It is something like selling a car for $3,000 and expecting one to spend $1,500 to fill it up. Our goal is to make Comodo number one in the field of global Internet security. We have the potential and the power.


Comodo, based in the USA, is among the world’s top 10 companies in the field of Internet security. The company has entered the Turkish market. What would you like to say about the market in Turkey? The Turkish market is very important for us. The number of Internet users reaches up to 35 million and there is a dynamic young population. Our purpose in coming to Turkey is not only to market our products and transfer our sales profit to America. After evaluating the essential performance in two years, we want to start production in Turkey and develop our new products in Turkey with the help of our engineers. We consider Turkey a market, not only as a place to sell a product. We wish to create an environment giving young Turkish engineers an opportunity in Turkey’s market, as Comodo is a Turkish company and produces the technology. I believe that two young entrepreneurial friends putting their signatures on good jobs in the publishing industry for about 10 years and knowing the market well will take a critical role while we are progressing to achieve our aims in Turkey’s market. What are the inadequacies and to-dos that you have realized in Turkey in terms of the IT sector? Actually, I have not closely followed the development of Turkey’s IT sector; however, I gladly see that the governmental support has increased for Turkey’s IT sector. The speed of the technology companies in offering new technology to users and people’s curiosity about technology is really remarkable. The rate of the application of the tablet computer for 15 million school-age children, the opening of a new Technopark by the Istanbul Commercial Office in Istanbul, the steps taken toward the establishment of the Silicon Valley of Turkey constitute a promising progression for the future. I believe that the challenges will decrease due to the developing cooperation among Turkey’s universities, private sector and government. Turkey’s Comodo Has Become the Favorite Anti-virus Brand Comodo has become the favorite among anti-virus brands. According to research on the site of, which follows and analyzes the comments of over 180 million opinions from more than 33 million social media users, the most hated anti-virus brand is McAfee at 89%. The rate of positive comments for Comodo has reached up to 96%; 1,806 people have given an opinion about Comodo’s products and 1,737 of them have made positive comments. (Source: Turkey Magazine, Dudu Kutuk)

The Finest Genuine Turkish Cuisine in New York City

Ali Baba’s Menu-Grand Bazaar’s worth of Turkey’s culinary riches “The highlight at this midtown stalwart are the divine yogurtlu kebabs, juicy lamb served with a tangy tomato, garlic and yogurt sauce.” Time Out New York Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine 212 East 34th Street New York, NY 10016 Tel: (212) 683-9206

Ali Baba’s Terrace 862 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 888-8622


One of the Most InfluentIal

LIvIng TurkIsh ArchItects

Mustafa K. Abadan joined SOM New York in 1983 and became a design partner in 1996. He has worked both in the New York and London offices, and practices architecture worldwide.


Congratulations to all 2012 GOLDEN TURK recipients

by TURK OF AMERICA “You should use cables whIch wIll not cause fIre, namednotMost Successful Professional the fIre-resIstant ones.” Mustafa K. Abadan,ABADAN’S FAIASIGNATURE has been DESIGNS N Is proud to announce that SOM Partner ew York City’s skyscrapers offer a spectacular view to the city viewers. Even if you walk down the Manhattan streets every day, you cannot help but admire buildings laddering SKIDMORE, high OWINGS & MERRILL LLPa skyscraper in NYC means into the sky. Building leaving a permanent impression on the city’s architecture. One of those impressions belongs to Architect Mustafa Kemal Abadan. Along with co-designer Architect David Childs, he is one of the two chief architects of the 55-story twin towers that belong to AOL Time Warner Center rising high in the sky at Columbus Circle. The 210 meter tall structures cost approximately 1.8 billion U.S. dollars. Besides world famous CNN, America Online, and Time Warner, these twin towers also house the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel with 260 guest rooms, 225 luxurious residences, ballrooms, restaurants, and shops. Furthermore, a jazz club in this building to be named after Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.

• John Jay College of Criminal Justice - Expansion Project (New York, New York) • Lotte World II (Seoul, South Korea) • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center (New York, New York) • UBS Warburg Center (Stamford, Connecticut) • JP Morgan’s Abrill Center and Birmann 29 (Sao Paulo, Brazil) • The Inpar Development (Sao Paulo, Brazil) • Rio Office Park (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) • Birmann 24 (Santiago, Chile) • Tzu Chi Cultural Campus (Hualien, Taiwan) • Aztec West Business Park, Canary Wharf, Chase Manhattan Bank (London, England) • New office buildings for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (Cairo, Egypt) • American Business Center (Berlin, Germany) • The Philippine American Life Insurance Building, the World Centre and Petron Mega Plaza (Manila, Philippines) • Harlem USA Mall and Business Center (Harlem, New York) • The Milstein Hospital Building. (New York) • Kings County Hospital Center. (Brooklyn, New York) • Various projects for St. Luke’s / Roosevelt Hospital. (New York) • Various projects for Lenox Hill Hospital. (New York) • Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York) • Tokyo Midtown (Tokyo, Japan) • AIG Tower (Hong Kong, China)

SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL LLP A PARTNER OF A WORLD GIANT Abadan is currently a partner of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) Company, one of the top three architect firms in the world by its trade volume. He has been with the company for 29 years. We will not be able to fit SOM’s entire project list on this page, but the following are some of the major designs of this firm that was established in 1936: the highest structure in the U.S. - Chicago’s Sears Tower and John Hancock Tower; the pioneer in office design architecture - NYC’s Lever House; U.S. Air Force Academy; Euro Disney, Paris, and Bank of America Center in San Francisco. Hilton Istanbul is also one of SOM’s architectural products. To date, the SOM architecture team has received over 1000 design awards and brought to fruition over 10,000 projects in 40 countries. PROJECTS IN SIX CONTINENTS Abadan was born in 1958 in Ankara to an academician couple, Yavuz & Nermin Abadan. Part of his education was in Germany but he received a high school diploma from Istanbul Robert College. Both of his undergraduate and graduate degrees were from Cornell University. Mr. Abadan is not just an architect with projects in the U.S.; he placed his signature on major designs in all the continents of the world with the exception of Antarctica. The Islamic Cultural Center, the first mosque to be built in New York by contributions of all Islamic UN member countries, is also an Abadan design. With the responsibility of a project that represents the entire Islamic universe, Mr. Abadan stated, “I based the design on all Islamic countries, not just on an architectural features of one country.”

THE OTHER NOMINEES • Aydin Senkut – Founder and President of Felicis Ventures, Angel Investor • Leon Abudaram – Chief Technology Officer of Citi Capital • Nur Ercan Magden – General Manager of The Marmara Manhattan


The Most Successful Businesswoman: Yildiz Blackstone

Yıldız’s PassIon Is to Develop Talents

Yıldız Blackstone’s passion is to develop talents to their full potential and have their products available for to the sophisticated, design and value conscious customers.


ıldız Yuksek Blackstone was born in Alsancak, outside of Izmir, and graduated from Izmir’s Dokuz Eylul University. Blackstone grew up surrounded by fashion. She began her career in retail working with her parents who own 30+ retail stores and a franchise of the upscale Beymen Department Store in Izmir, Turkey. She had always dreamed of living in America, and this dream came true when she went to the US, after graduating from university, to do master’s work. She received her Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology. After graduating, she began to look for a job, but when she couldn’t find anything like what she had hoped for, she made plans to return to Turkey, where she would work with her family, who represented the famous Italian brand Benetton in Izmir. So, Blackstone packed up, sold her things, and even bought a plane ticket. But on the day her plane was meant to take off, she received a call from the Leslie Fey company, where she had earlier sent her resume. At the meeting, Blackstone said, “I have a flight to catch today, can you let me know your decision within the next two hours?” She got the job, and postponed her return to Turkey. The decision not to use her return ticket was the moment that “Luca Luca”’s star began to shine. In 1992, Yıldız joined Luca Orlandi, founding designer of LUCA LUCA, to launch the brand with the debut of a high-end ready-to-wear line and the opening of its first boutique on Madison Avenue. Under her leadership, LUCA LUCA became one of the most well respected women’s luxury fashion houses. May 2008, Luca Orlandi, the founder and designer of Luca Luca, sold the business to a boutique investment firm, the Equitium Group. Yıldız Blackstone was CEO & President of the company. In 2011, she started BEluxury, a full service consulting firm specialized in clothing, accessories and lifestyle clients. Her passion is to develop talents to their full potential and have their products available for to the sophisticated, design and value conscious customers. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

THE OTHER NOMINEES Yasemin Koyunoglu K., Co-chair of Fort Lee Federal Savings Bank Hulya Koc - President & CEO at ChildCare Careers Nurten Ural, Founder of Ural Interiors, Inc. Huma Alpaytac Gruaz, Alpaytac Marketing


Yıldız Yüksek Blackstone


A DedIcated LIfe to TurkIsh-AmerIcan RelatIons G. Lincoln McCurdy has over 30 years of leadership and management experience in both U.S. government service and the private sector.


he Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) is an educational charitable organization based in Washington, DC, with Lincoln McCurdy serving as its president. TCA’s primary objective is to educate the general public and other interested parties. In carrying out its mission, McCurdy works closely with other Turkish American organizations in the US in educating their members on the US political system whereas in Washington, DC, TCA maintains a dialogue with the leadership of the Congressional Turkish Caucus about educating Members of the US Congress on issues that are important to Turkish Americans. TCA, for example, has provided a grant to the Congressional Study Group on Turkey to organize seminars about US-Turkish issues and visits to Turkey for congressional members. G. Lincoln McCurdy has over 30 years of leadership and management experience in both U.S. government service and the private sector. He has extensive experience in dealing with bi-national boards; working with senior officials of the governments and military of the United States and Turkey; leading trade/investment missions and U.S. congressional delegations to Turkey; co-sponsoring activities with the State and Commerce Departments, Environmental Protection Agency, Smithsonian Institute and National Public Radio; and fundraising. He served as the senior advisor to the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York in 2005 and 2006. McCurdy was the president and chief executive officer, 1998 - 2004, and executive director, 1989 – 1998, of the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington, the leading business association in the United States devoted to the promotion of U.S.-Turkish commercial, defense and cultural relations. He received ATC’s Distinguished Career Award in 2005. Before joining ATC, McCurdy served in the American Consulate General in Istanbul as the Consul for Commercial Affairs, 1980 – 1984. In this capacity, he received the Department of State’s Meritorious Honor Award for “re-establishing American pre-eminence in the Istanbul International Business Community.” After government service, he consulted in Istanbul for five years for the Bank of Boston and several Turkish companies. In the late 1970s, he worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, organizing trade shows in Brazil. G. Lincoln McCurdy received his B.A. at Hanover College in Indiana and holds a M.A. in International Management from The George Washington University. He is also a graduate of the Foreign Service Institute’s Turkish Language and Culture Program. In May 2001, Mr. McCurdy received Hanover College’s Alumni Achievement Award. McCurdy is a board director for the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT). He is an advocate for smart growth and played a key role in beautifying I-66 in Arlington, Virginia, in the 1970s. He is married with two daughters and enjoys yoga, gardening, biking and travel.


Lincoln McCurdy, President of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA)

THE OTHER NOMINEES • Virginia Foxx, Congresswoman, Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans • Bonnie Kaslan, Honorary Consul General • Ed Withfield, Congressman, Co-Chair Turkish Caucus in the Congress • Lydia Borland, CONSULTANT • David Saltzman, Attorney

BarBaros BarBaros

Karaahmet Karaahmet JJ oo i niSnaSS c aoSu n cSo e lu n S e l

Barbaros Barbaros Karaahmet, Karaahmet, a prominent a prominent Turkish-American Turkish-American attorney based inattorney base New NewYork, York, has has joined joined the firm, thebringing firm, bringing with him a dynamic with him and well-established a dynamic and well practice. practice. Mr. Mr. Karaahmet Karaahmet has significant has significant experience in experience advising domestic in advising and dome international international clients clients on U.S-Turkey on U.S-Turkey business ventures business and will ventures work withand his will work w Herrick Herrick colleagues colleagues to provide to provide a full range a full of counsel range and ofassistance counselonand mergers assistance o and andacquisitions, acquisitions, real real estate, estate, tax, private tax, equity, private corporate equity, and project corporate finance,and projec and andall all types types of of cross-border cross-border litigationlitigation and transactions. and transactions.

The Theaddition addition of of Mr. Mr. Karaahmet, Karaahmet, who will be who dividing will his betime dividing betweenhis Newtime betwe York Yorkand and Istanbul-Ankara, Istanbul-Ankara, enhances enhances the firm’s Turkish the firm’s and emerging Turkish market and emergin practices. practices. With With the the fastest fastest growinggrowing economy ineconomy the world, Turkey in the presents world, Turkey considerable considerable opportunities opportunities for U.S. for companies U.S. companies seeking to invest seeking in Turkey, to asinvest in well wellas as Turkish Turkish companies companies that want that to enter want theto U.S. enter market. the U.S. market.

contact: about Herrick

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about Herrick



Mr. Mr.Karaahmet, Karaahmet, together together with Herrick withSenior Herrick Partner Senior Larry Kaye, Partner who has Larry Kaye, wh represented represented the the Turkish Turkish Government Government and Turkishand business Turkish interests business for interest many many years, years, will will leadlead Herrick’s Herrick’s efforts inefforts expanding inthe expanding firm’s footprint the in firm’s the footp international international legal legal arena. arena.

Direct Direct

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212-592-1570 212-592-1570

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The Good ConsolIdator of TourIsm Industry

zon, Do¤ubeyazit, Van and Kars, she was able to see more places in Turkey than most of her classmates.

“Turks are very kind and students at Bo¤aziçi were extremely open-minded,” she said. “A strong element of my study abroad experience in Turkey was cultural exchange.”

Picasso Travel was established over 30 years ago by Turkish entrepreneur

AS VISIBLE FOREIGNERSand his late wife Esin. It has grown into one of the nation’s DIFFICULTIES Hüseyin Özyurtcu Even though many American students of color were able to enjoy the largest consolidators. Özyurtcu sold Picasso Travel to German Aerticket in rich culture, food, and history unique to Turkey, they also experien2009. The total revenue was about 200 million dollars with sales ced many difficulties and company’s differences. of 400 tickets. African-American student Aquiera Halsey, who studied during thousand the fall at Koç University, said she did not like being stared at and had difficulties making friends with Turkish students. “I stuck out. ... I was established over 30 years bywith Turkish was seen to myicasso peers Travel as a commodity. People would pick ago fights entrepreneur Hüseyin Özyurtcu and his late wife Esin. It me just because I was an outsider.” has grown into one of the nation’s largest consolidators. afford it, especially when the scholarship decision is not until later,” Özyurtcu sod Picasso Travel to German Aerticket in 2009. Morgan Hinton, another African-American student who studied at The company’s total revenue was about 200 million dollars with said former exchange student and TCA scholarship recipient Cesar Bahçeflehir University duringtickets. the fall, felt that the most difficult thing Sandoval, a Nicaraguan-American. sales of 400 thousand for her adapting to the structures male-dominance 30was years of excellence, partnering of with travel agenciesthat andshe giving respect to the airlines earned themMuslim the nickname felt were present within a predominantly society. of “The Good To strengthen the relationship with these groups, the TCA initially Consolidator”. “I realized that traditionally Muslim women are expected to be partnered with the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Travel provides discounted travel the travel Corporation, or UNCFSP, to bring professors and administrators from chastePicasso and moral individuals," she said. "For this services and othertoreasons, agency community. Acting as a wholesale distributor for airlines, it’s no surprise that the men in Turkey felt more inclined to approach educational institutions serving different American racial and ethnic hotels and tour operators, they provide travel agents with the ability foreigners. I found that everywhere I went I was viewed as a sexual minority groups to Istanbul for 11 days in 2009. They met with a numto purchase travel services for their customers at deeply discounted object. ... I feared for my safety at times." ber of universities in Turkey and had the chance to learn about prices. Picasso Travel’s Headquarters is located in Los Angeles with 6 Turkish culture. KNOWLEDGE, EDUCATION BETWEEN CULTURES PROMOTING branch offices (New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Ft. Lauderdale) in strategic gateways throughout the country. African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Native Americans are Nicholas Bassey, director of UNCFSP’s Institute for International Hüseyin Özyurtçu, Founder of Picasso When ranked according to their turnover, Picasso Travel is one of Traveland (Photo: Turhan) largely underrepresented among the students who choose to the Public Policy, helped to plan the trip to Turkey hasErtan since been first five tourism agencies in the programs. U.S. Picasso Travel, this whose able to financially support students studying abroad in Turkey participate in educational study abroad To remedy headquarters is in Los Angeles, opened its first branch in New York lack of opportunity and representation, the Turkish Coalition of through the fellowship program he directs. in 1990. Picasso, doing business on the 14th floor of the Empire - Nevin Sanlı, (President & CEO of Sanli, Pastore & Hill – Astrum) America, or TCA, established a scholarship program in 2008 to State Building, is directly affiliated with 72 airlines. When compared - Alican Tosyalı, President of Benchmark encourage college students from these groups to study for a “Institutional relationships, study abroad programs, scholar and to its competitors, it is ranked as one of the top 10 companies. - Rahmi Soyugenç, President of International Revolving Doors summer, semester or year in Turkey and lessen their financial burden. cultural events will foster curiosity and intercultural connections,” he While its competition is seeking ways to downsize, they have - Varol Ablak, President of Vocelli Pizza partnered with AERTiCKET in Germany to expand further with said. “Short-term programs are a great and relatively inexpensive - Dr. Engin Arık, President and CEO of Lumunit consolidation; and they invested in apply technology “The worldwide number-one factor is money. It is have a scary thing to to a to option, but longer-term exchange programs will result in deeper better serve their customers every study-abroad program not knowing if day. you are going to be able to relationships.”



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Burhan Doğançay The Most Successful Artist

Father of Wall Art InspIred by Urban Walls, DIes at 83 No other artist has explored urban walls as thoroughly and with the same passion Doğançay has. His persistent occupation with and translation of urban walls into art is what earned him a reputation as “father of wall art”.

Burhan Doğancay



urhan Dogancay, a Turkish-born artist considered one of his country’s first internationally recognized abstract painters, died on January 16th, 2013 in Istanbul. He was 83. The cause was cancer, his wife, Angela, said. Dogancay, who divided his time between homes in Istanbul and New York, was the first contemporary Turkish artist to have his work included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In a country commonly defined as the cultural international date line between the Middle East and the West, Dogancay was best known for his artwork on the subject of walls. Old urban walls covered in graffiti and posters interested him most. The more cluttered, weathered and layered by generations of human announcements, the better. He traveled for years collecting wall images from more than 500 cities to make the paintings and collages he presented at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris in 1982 in a one-man exhibition titled “Walls That Whisper, Shout and Sing.” “The walls I am drawn to have been worked on by nature and by human beings, so that they provide a mirror of their respective neighborhoods,” he once said in an interview. “They are speaking walls.” He added: “Wall messages are constantly changing, new ones replacing old ones, old ones covered up or distorted by the elements. The whole human experience has been reflected on walls, beginning with cave drawings.” Dogancay produced some 4,000 paintings, many of them abstract collages in three dimensions like “Ribbon Mania,” a 1982 piece acquired by the Met in 2011. His work has been exhibited in more than 70 museums, including the British Museum, the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Levent Calikoglu, the chief curator of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, said that Dogancay’s art drew from the many cultural traditions — European, Middle Eastern, American, ancient and modern — that intersect in contemporary Turkey. In Dogancay’s work, he said, New York subway walls and the walls of the most remote Turkish village speak to a common humanity. Born on Sept. 11, 1929, in Istanbul, Burhan Cahit Dogancay was the first of three children of Adil and Hediye Dogancay, both members of Western-educated middle-class families. His father, an army officer and noted watercolorist, was his first art instructor. Despite Westernizing influences in Turkey and the establishment of a democratic, secular government in 1923 after centuries of Ottoman rule, the country’s art remained fairly untouched by modernism during Dogancay’s childhood. Museums, which were state run, displayed mainly traditional or representational art. Dogancay told interviewers that he did not see his first Impressionist or Expressionist painting, or a Picasso, until 1950, when he graduated from the University of Ankara and left for Paris. He went there to study economics at the University of Paris; but from 1950 to 1955, when he received his doctorate, he took art courses and

began painting in his spare time. He was director of the Turkish republic’s tourism office in New York in 1962 when he decided to become an artist full time. Within two years he had his first show in Manhattan. His wall motif was inspired by the streets of New York, he said. “At first I was primarily interested in the decayed, deteriorated surface of walls,” he wrote in a 2009 book of his work. But in the kaleidoscope of posters and graffiti competing to be seen on the walls of the city, above and below ground, he began to recognize a kind of archaeological depth, he said. It revealed “the testimonials of human beings expressing and communicating” their history. In the 1980s, his interest in walls led Dogancay to photograph skyscrapers under construction in Midtown Manhattan. Friendships he developed with ironworkers made it possible for him to photograph their restoration work on the Brooklyn Bridge. His pictures, many of which required climbing the bridge’s cables to dizzying heights, were published in his 1999 book, “Bridge of Dreams: The Rebirth of the Brooklyn Bridge.” In addition to his wife, Dogancay is survived by two sisters, Ayten and Tulin. In an interview last year with the online journal Artlifemagazine, Dogancay was asked how urban walls had changed since the 1960s and ’70s, when many of the posters and leaflets festooning them carried messages of political protest. “Walls are clean now, because there is social media and computers,” he said, adding, “The youth are not as angry as they were.” – (By Paul Vitello, Published: January 20, 2013\New York Times)

OTHER NOMINEES • Bingul Sevimli, Ebru artist • Ibrahim Yazici - Founders of Turkish American Art Society of NY, first professional theater group in NY • Ugur Ugural – Writer, player. • Ayse Birgul Atay, Founder of Turkish Theater Club in Philadelphia. • Metin Bereketli, Painter • Ertug Tufekcioglu, Director • Hakki Subentekin, is an award winning filmmaker and producer • Alev Necile Dinc, Artist, painter, designer and poet • Meta Akkus, Director • Asha Ozbey, Art director • Sinem Banna, San Francisco-based artist shows conceptual works: sculptures, objects and installations.



KORAY YILMAZ, President of, first Turkish ethnic online market for Americans and Turkish.

KIng of EthnIc Market Celebrates Its 10th AnnIversarY was founded in 2003 with a focus on delivering high quality Turkish products to consumers worldwide.


hen was first launched nine years ago, the founder of the site stated that his goal was to “help consumers and Turkish goods find each other.” Within this nine-year period the portal has sold over 1 million products and has reached 150,000 customers. It quickly became a market leader in ethnic marketing e-commerce, recognized for its superior customer service and quick deliveries of almost any Turkish product imaginable. “Thirty percent of our customer base comes from Turks living in the US,” states Koray Yılmaz, President of He goes on to add, “What we do is actually quite crazy. It’s exhausting to deal with this many details.” Yılmaz indicates that has always kept a keen focus on future potential. “Hence, in addition to providing unparalleled customer service, has always maintained an active role as an enabler of Turkish social events in the U.S. We have accomplished this mainly through donations, but also as media sponsor or contributor. This dedication to promoting our rich and unique culture, either through e-commerce or through event sponsorship, was eventually what triggered the nomination and winning of the ‘Social Responsibility’ award in the first Golden Turks competition. We thank the jury for recognizing this effort. We will continue to work hard in this area while providing the best possible service to consumers worldwide,” Yilmaz says.


There are also famous names among Tulumba’s customers. The Republican Party’s 2008 presidential candidate John McCain and real estate mogul Donald Trump’s wife Melania Knauss Trump are among such names. Sixty-five percent of customers who find do so from search engines. Fifteen percent live in New York and California. Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and Illinois round out the states with the most customers. Of all buyers, 25 percent have only bought once. TURKISH DELIGHT AND TURKISH COFFEE The most popular goods on are Turkish delight and Turkish coffee. Of 68,000 goods offered on the site, 48,000 are books and the customers are divided evenly between Americans and Turks. welcomes all Turkish and non-Turkish businesses to try its gift packages for any gift giving occasion. Call at 1 866 885 8622.

THE OTHER NOMINEES • Bonbon Magazine • Comodo • Turkish American TV


The HopIng Name to Cure DIabetes Dr. Hotamişligil has been recognized with many fellowships and awards from the markey, pew, and sandler foundations, the american diabetes association, the national institutes of health and the J.S. Simmons Endowment at Harvard University.


ökhan Hotamışlıgil, the J.S. Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism and chair of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Hotamışlıgil received his medical degree from Ankara University in Turkey in 1986 and his PhD from Harvard University in 1994. Dr. Hotamışlıgil’s research efforts focus on the genetic basis of common and complex diseases, particularly obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. His research examines the molecular mechanisms of nutrient sensing and response pathways as they relate to physiological metabolic homeostasis. He is an internationally recognized leader with many seminal contributions including the discoveries leading to the field of “immunometabolism”, discovery of novel lipid hormones and their biological functions, and endoplasmic reticulum as a key organelle regulating whole body metabolism. These studies have led to many drug discovery and development programs in academia and industry, several currently approaching human testing. He has been recognized with many fellowships and awards from the Markey, Pew, and Sandler Foundations, the American Diabetes Association, the National Institutes of Health and the J.S. Simmons Endowment at Harvard University. He’s an elected permanent member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) and the recipient of the 2004 Science Award from TÜBITAK. He was recently elected as a fellow of the AAAS. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment Award of the American Diabetes Association, Wertheimer Award from

the International Association for the Study of Obesity, and the Naomi Berrie Award from Columbia University. He has trained many students and fellows who now hold independent positions in leading Universities and Industry groups around the world and his commitment to training has been recognized by the Harvard School of Public Health Mentoring Award. He teaches two graduate courses and lectures in both graduate and undergraduate classes, has delivered >300 lectures including the Kroc, the Havel, the Charles Hollenberg Memorial, the McGarry Memorial, and the Laguna Memorial Lectures and Medal, and many others in the past few years. He also lectures for 5th and 10th grade students. He is a member of the editorial boards of Cell Metabolism, Science Translational Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, EMBO Molecular Medicine, Diabetes, Journal of Lipid Research, Journal of Molecular Medicine, Turkish Journal of Biochemistry, and Turkish Journal of Medicine. Other services include the chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Metabolic Control Program, Founder and Board Member of Syndexa Pharmaceuticals and Lipomics Inc., Harvard-Pfizer Joint Steering Committee, Appointments and Promotions, Intellectual Property, and Conflict of Interest Committees, and Jury membership for NY Academy of Sciences, Blavatnik, Kadir Has, and Sedat Simavi Awards, and TASSA organizing committees. Dr. Hotamisligil also organizes and hosts Boston Turkish Biology Colloquium together with three fellows and has been recognized through the Golden Turk and Society Leader Awards by the Turkish-American community.

THE OTHER NOMINEES A. Özer Arnas - Professor of Mechanical Engineering, United States Military Academy at West Point Ali Erdemir - Materials Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory Energy Systems Division, Argonne, IL Cem Giritli - Scientist Daron Acemoğlu - Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Feryal Özel - Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics. University of Arizona. Mehmet Toner - Professor of surgery at the Harvard Medical School and professor of biomedical engineering at the HarvardMIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Miral Dizdaroğlu - National Institute of Standards and Technology Fellow, Biochemical Science Division Nur Yigitoğlu - Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL Georgia State University Ömer Yilmaz - Clinical Fellow in Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital Selim Arcasoy - Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Semahat Demir – Program Director for Biomedical Engineering at National Science Foundation (NSF) Süleyman Gökoğlu - Senior Scientist at NASA Glenn Research Center Utkan Demirci – Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Vamık Volkan – Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia.


TCA Celebrates the Achievements and Contributions of Turkish Americans


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One of the Outstandıng Pıanısts and Composers


native of Turkey, born in Istanbul, Fahir Atakoğlu is an international award winning composer and pianist, in the fields of large symphonic works and film music. His works have also been performed in various music festivals in Europe and across The United States to much acclaim. He is now finding a growing audience in Europe, Japan and in North America as well. His sensitivity as a composer deeply moves the audience by his unique rhythmic, melodic and harmonic sense. His music reflects his extraordinary talent in blending different musical cultures which make his compositions speak with striking originality, and always wonderfully connected

to the culture of his motherland. Fahir Atakoğlu, since 1986, composed jingles, documentary and film music for many national and international productions. Following his first album in 1994 he released 14 albums in 17 countries including USA and sold over nearly 2 million copies since. Amongst his many awards, he won First prize for Documentary at the Milano Film Festival 2000 for “Exile in Buyukada” and the best Song Award of Mega Channel, Greece, 2002, with Telos Dios Telos, sold over 400.000 copies. Ahmet Ertegun, of Atlantic Records, referred to Fahir Atakoğlu as” .. one of the outstanding pianists and composers in Europe today ... at the cutting edge of the world music

AWARDS • 2006 November, Man of Outstanding Accomplishment Award (Given by Daughters of Atatürk) - 2006 November, ATAA • Outstanding Achievement in arts Award (Platinum Sales Award My EMI Greece) • Telos Dios Telos for sales in excess of 480.000 (2002, Mega Channel Greece) • Best Song Award (Telos Dios Telos) (2000, Milano Film Festival) • First Prize for Documentary - Exile in Buyukada (1997-1998, Finalist Award) • Flora-Marshall Boya also Finalist Award “Duru” commercial (1996-1997, Crystal Apple Award) • Best Jingle, “Yarına Dört Işık” for Garanti Bank (1996, Finalist Award) • For the music of “Duru Sabunları ‘96 (1995-1996, “Crystal Apple” Award) • Best Jingle, “Renault Laguna” Theme (1995, TV commercials ‘95) • Finalist Award -“Toyota Corolla” (1994-1995, Crystal Apple Award) • Best Jingle, “Milliyet” Corporate Theme (1995, Gold Screen Award) • Best Original Score for the documentary 12Mart (1994, London International Advertising Awards) • Finalist Award “Traffic Campaign” (1982, South London Jazz Federation) • Jazz Talent and Composition Contest 1st runner up

THE OTHER NOMINEES • Rahman Altin – Opera singer • Melahat Bilge Demirkoz - Physicist • Meta Akkus – Director • Halil Yuksel- CEO MobileLayers



The Founder of A 15-Year TradItIon!


avuz Atila is one of the Turkish pioneers in West Coast to introduce Turkish arts, crafts and culture to Americans. He was organizing the 1st California Turkish Art and Culture Festival on 1998 in Monterey, California. The two-day festival highlighted the Turkish music and folk dances, Turkish arts and crafts, food and drinks, and activities for children. As of this year, the Turkish Festival has delighted Californians and visitors worldwide for 15 years. Past 15 years, Yavuz Atila has been playing active role many different cultural and social activities. Atila is President/CTO at Monterey Bay Technologies (Sole Proprietorship) - Salinas, California. He used to work as Information Systems Director at CNS at Monterey Institute of Int’l Studies, Head of Electronics Systems Department at on a Turkish Navy Frigate, Head of Combat Information Center (CIC), at on a Turkish Navy Destroyer. ATILA’S ACTIVITIES • President of Turkish American Association of California (TAACA. ORG) (1998-2001, 2008-2010) ( Received Life Time Service Award • ATAA West Coast VP (2000-2002) ( – Received Meritorious Service Award • TAAC Monterey Turkish Festival Founder and President of Organization Committee (1998-2012) ( • Founder and President of TAAC Turkish Community Center Found (2000-2012) • Founder and President of Monterey Horon Turkish Folk Dance Association (1993-2012)

• Founder and President of Monterey-Kuşadası Sister City Association (2007-2012) • Founder and President of Monterey Cannery Row Rotary Club (2011-2012) ( • President of Monterey Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club (2010-2011) • Founder of Sunnyvale- California Turkish American Rotary Club (May 2009) (First Rotary Club established out of country) • Founder of 1st Turkish-American Business Conference (March 2001) ( • Founder of TAAC Monterey, Sacramento, East Bay, Silicon Valley and San Francisco branches (1996-1999) • The Turkish Naval Academy, (Graduated in1984), Resign Captain (1992) THE OTHER NOMINEES • Serap Odabas Yigit, President of Florida Turkish-American Association • Hatice Dinc, Past President of Turkish American Cultural Alliance, Chicago • Saduman Gurbuz President of TURANT

We have learned with great delight our friend Mustafa Abadan’s name on the most successful Golden Turk list. Our sincerest wishes are with you. We join with your friends and admirers in offering you our heartiest congratulations. May your unremitting endeavor in the service of architecture go on with undiminished vigor! KiSKA Construction Corporation-USA



The True GuIde for AmerIcan EducatIon System Mezun Group’s first project was, which later gave its name to the group. Mezun started the company in April of 1999.


Ali Hantal, CEO of Mezun Group


S system in general is not easy for someone who grew up in another country. This was the need that Mezun Group identified 13 years ago. Ali Hantal with his friends from college faced many problems when they came to the United States as students. This was in 1997 and the Internet was not widely used at that time. They launched their first project on the Millenium day (Jan 1, 2000) and grew rapidly to sixty thousand registered members at the end of 2000 and over hundred-fifty thousand the following year. 2001 was the year they launched the company’s flagship brand Mezun Callingcard which became widely known among Turkish Americans in a very short period of time. Mezun Group’s first project was, which later gave its name to the group. Mezun started the company in April of 1999. Their main goal was to find a need that was not satisfied and fulfill that need. One of their ideas came out of their own need. It was difficult to search for schools and learn about their application process back in the late 1990s. It was a very time consuming process and the data that you could find was always outdated. Communication with school reps was done via phone or fax. There was apparently a huge need in the market about studying in the US. Ali Hantal remembers his marketing professor emphasizing the importance of providing solutions for needs that are not satisfied in the market. One day he said becoming a large company on the web, especially in those days when the Internet was very new, would be very easy and that providing a solution for a need that was not fulfilled would bring a huge advantage to the company providing it. He was talking about the web 1.0 back then, and he was right. However, Hantal believed what he said was more true for today’s world as they are now experiencing a completely new world with the new web (web 3.0) and the platform store applications such as iPhone, Android and Facebook apps. Couple of months later, in early 2000, began the Internet Bubble crisis. Mezun had to give up the idea of looking for funding. This meant they actually would not have the funds to grow horizontally to other countries of origin, but instead would have to stay focused on our existing two markets: the education market in Turkey and the Turkish-American ethnic market in the US. They launched Mezun Callingcard, MezunUSA, Mezun Forum and Alo811 in the following years. Mezun team consists of 30 young very dynamic people 7 of which works in our Miami office.


The Young Turks: The Largest News Show on Internet Cenk Uygur is the former host of MSNBC Live and has appeared numerous times on CNN, CNN Headline News, E! Entertainment Channel, AlJazeera, ABC News, Voice of America, NPR and even Fox News Channel.


enk Uygur is host of The Young Turks on Current TV as well as the host and co-founder of The Young Turks online which is the largest news show on the Internet. The Young Turks on Current TV features Uygur and a group of progressive, outspoken journalists and commentators discussing politics and pop culture in an unscripted, no-holds-barred atmosphere that breaks the mold of traditional cable news programming. The Young Turks (TYT) online has a verified global audience of more than 30 million views a month and half a billion total video views of The Young Turks YouTube Channel, making it one of the most watched online news shows covering politics, pop culture and lifestyle. The Young Turks premiered on Sirius Satellite Radio in the first quarter of 2002 as the platform’s first original program before moving to XM Satellite Radio in 2006. The Young Turks is the flagship show of the TYT Network. TYT Network channels include What the Flick?!,TYT University and The Top Vlog, among others. TYT has also recently launched a show called The Point on a new online-only channel, Town Square, as part of YouTube’s new original channels initiative. Uygur is the former host of MSNBC Live and has appeared numerous times on CNN, CNN Headline News, E! Entertainment Channel, Al Jazeera, ABC News, Voice of America, NPR and even Fox News

Channel. He is one of the most popular bloggers on The Huffington Post, and also a contributor to Daily Kos and Politico. Uygur is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and Columbia University Law School. He worked as a lawyer, television writer and television host before co-founding The Young Turks.

THE OTHER NOMINEES Aykut Karaalioğlu - Co-Founder & CMO at Devrim Yaşar - CEO & Co-F Esra Alemdar – Program officer at the Congress. Kerem Kendigelen - Food & Beverage Operations Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC Meryem İbrahim - Youth Advisor at FEGS Salih Eroğlu – Supporter of Turkish players in NBA Serol Agazat – Concert organization, promoter Yusuf Ekin – Tecwando Coach Tuğba Karademir – Ice skater, Turkish National Team



Turkey’s FIrst FashIon Brand to Become Global Since Mavi’s introduction in the US in 1996, the company has had 90 percent compounded annual growth for the last six years. Today, mavi is sold around the globe in specialty stores, better department stores and specialty chains.


Mavi Jeans’ Broadway store in New York City.


uven Textiles Company was founded in Istanbul, Turkey in 1971 by Sait Akarlilar. In 1984 a subsidiary company, Erak, was established for the production of private label blue jeans. Very good quality denim was sourced in the U.S. and Honduras and they were quickly able to grow sales through private label arrangements with Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Ralph Lauren and other suppliers of high-end designer jeans. In 1991 the decision was made to create their own brand of blue jeans. The Turkish word for “blue” is “mavi”; their brand name is Mavi Jeans. With good success in Turkey, distribution of Mavi Designer Jeans throughout Europe was started in 1994. While labor cost for cutting and stitching jeans is an important cost component, Mavi markets their jeans as high-end comfortable fit designer jeans. They price their jeans a little below the prices of major world brands of designer jeans, some of which are produced in Mavi factories. (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger). In 1996 Mavi North America was established to handle the market introduction of Mavi Jeans in the U.S. and Canada. Mavi executives like to tell of the feedback they received from Bloomingdales (New York) customers that led them to develop marketing aimed at fashion-conscious mothers and daughters that promises comfortable fitting jeans. With increasing sales, Erak added a large manufacturing facility in Cerkezkoy, about one hour from Istanbul. By the end of 1996 Mavi


The Marmara Manhattan I am Modern Magazine Amerturk DFH Network Turkon America, Inc Ural Interiors, Inc. Comodo Nex Worldwide

had become the most popular brand of jeans in Turkey. Their bold advertising campaigns “We are being too much”, “We’ve gone too far” and then “Made in Maviland” were designed for global use and helped put Mavi in the top 10 of A.C. Nielson’s list of well-known brands of jeans. This is truly an impressive success story. In 2006 Time Magazine placed Mavi amongst the top 16 best jeans brand worldwide in its A-List. While Mavi’s customized designer jeans constitute 84% of their sales outside Turkey, Mavi basic jeans are his main product within Turkey, accounting for 72% of domestic sales. Since Mavi’s introduction in the US in 1996, the company has had 90 percent compounded annual growth for the last six years. Today, mavi is sold around the globe in specialty stores, better department stores and specialty chains. mavi owns and operates two stores in North America -- the U.S. flagship, which opened in New York in March 2003 and the Canadian flagship, which opened in Vancouver in December 2002. Fans include Simple Plan, Kate Winslet, Shannon Elizabeth and Jason Biggs. Turkey’s first fashion brand to become global, Mavi has been the leading jeans brand in Turkey since the last 16 years. Mavi is now sold at over, 4000 specialty stores, better department stores and specialty chains in 50 countries including the US, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Russia. Mavi has over 260 retail stores with flagships in New York, Vancouver, Montreal, Istanbul, Berlin and Frankfurt.


A Half Century Long PartnershIp Ford Otosan, the successful automotive joint venture that draws its roots back to industrial pioneers Henry Ford and Vehbi Koc, is marking its 50th anniversary in 2010.


ver the past five decades, Ford Otosan has been an integral and profitable part of Ford Motor Company’s (NYSE: F) international operations and has been at the forefront of the auto industry in Turkey, most recently building successful vehicles such as the Ford Transit, Ford Transit Connect and Cargo commercial vehicles. The Koc family and the Ford family have a special relationship that goes back more than 80 years. Ford Otosan is a fully integrated operation, including sales and marketing, engineering, manufacturing and parts distribution. Ford Motor Company and the Koc Group each hold a 41 percent stake in the joint venture with the remaining 18 percent held publicly on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. It employs a total of about 7,600 employees at its manufacturing operations in Kocaeli and Inonu, its parts distribution center in Kartal and its engineering center in Gebze. The foundation of what became Ford Otosan grew out of the drive and vision of Henry Ford, and Vehbi Koc. Their passion and commitment continues to drive the Ford Otosan business forward today. Otosan was founded in 1959, and in 1977, the company signed a license agreement with then-Ford Chairman Henry Ford II and the company’s name was changed to Ford Otosan. In 1997, Ford increased its share of ownership to 30 percent, growing to 41 percent in 1997. Over the past 50 years, Ford Otosan has led the transformation of the Turkish automotive industry. It was the first company to build a Turkish-engineered car in the country – the Anadol. It also was the

first – and is still the only – Turkish auto company to export a vehicle to North America, the Ford Transit Connect. Soon after the Transit Connect was launched in North America last year it won the 2010 North American Truck of the Year award. Ford Otosan has been the top-selling auto company in the Turkish domestic market for the past eight years. Ford Otosan products are exported from Turkey to more than 60 countries around the world, including markets in Europe, Central Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and North America. Ford Otosan produced 173,000 vehicles in 2009 with worldwide revenues of $3.7 billion. Since the Kocaeli plant opened in 2001, Ford Otosan has become a key element in Ford’s commercial vehicle production strategy. The combined Kocaeli Plant and Inonu site produce a full range of light, medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, including the Transit Connect, Transit and Cargo vehicles. In addition, the Puma Transit engine and Ecotorq Cargo engine are produced at Inonu. Ford Otosan has an important role to play in Ford’s ongoing global commercial vehicle strategy, and is an integral part of our ONE Ford approach.

THE OTHER NOMINEES - Johns Hopkins & Anadolu Endustri Holding - Baxter Healthcare- Eczacibasi - International Paper- Sabanci - GE & Gama



EducatIonal Apps for the MobIle ApplIcatIons Market Founded in 2009, BidBox is a software development company that specializes in mobile educational applications, tools and games. Our programs are designed to challenge the brain while providing hours of fun. They enable rapid memorization of the subject matter and provide a great learning experience.


idBox is a software development company based out of Rockville, MD focused on creating entertaining and educational apps for the mobile applications market. The company’s first game ‘Guess Right’, a number guessing game was released in April 2009 for the iPhone. The company’s goal is to make the learning experience fun. BidBox pays special attention to the user interface in order to make it intuitive, so that there is no need for instructions to play our games. BidBox’s programs are designed to challenge the brain while having fun doing so. They enable rapid memorization of the subject matter and provide a great learning experience. The majority of the company’s programs are educational games. They enable the user to improve their skills. Our products encompass music training, language tools, math games, as well as others. Several of company’s applications won awards (e.g. Swiss Flags, best application award by iPhoneAppsPlus) and are in the top 100 in their respective categories (e.g. Tonal Memory Trainer #31 in Games/ Music) THE OTHER NOMINEES • I am Modern-A magazine is started by a Modern Mom for Modern Moms. • BidBox-Develops educational mobile applications. • Climate Minder-Wireless climate monitoring& control system for agriculture. • Grou.PS Inc-Do-it-yourself social networking platform with more than 2.3 million members. • Kodingen-Google apps for IT departments, and gmail for developers THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BRAND: SARAR As one of Europe’s major and the most sophisticated men’s tailored clothing manufacturers Sarar is one of the leading brand since 1944. The Sarar family dreamed of tailoring the finest suits in Eskisehir / Turkey. The realization of their dream started when the first Sarar sign was placed over their shop in 1944. Sarar USA Inc. was formally established and introduced to the United States of America in 2001. Sarar started as wholesale producing for private labels for U.S. market such as Nordstrom, Men’s Warehouse, GAP Inc. Banana Republic. A current private label Sarar produces for is Burberry. In 2002, SARAR began retail business in the U.S. market at their first location in Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. In 2008, Sarar opened their Flagship store located on 46th Street and Madison Ave., New York. Its latest edition to the Sarar USA market is Tysons Galleria / Mc Lean, VA and 855 S Grand Central Pkwy #1801 Las Vegas, NV.


Sarar’s store on Madison Avenue in New York.

U.S. Stores: 9 stores in the United States are located in: • Madison Ave. / (@ 46th,) (New York, NY) • Garden State Plaza / (Paramus, NJ) • Secaucus / (Secaucus, NJ (Headquarter & Store) • Woodbury Commons / (Central Valley, NY) • Chicago Premium Outlets / (Aurora, IL) • Las Vegas Premium Outlets / (Las Vegas, NV) • Allen Premium Outlets / (Allen, TX) • Tysons Galleria / (Mc Lean, VA (DC area) • Las Vegas, S Grand Central Pkwy (Las Vegas, NV) THE OTHER NOMINEES • Turkish Kitchen • Istikbal • Mezun Calling Card • Akdo


A VIrtuoso FlautIst Honored as a peacemaker and virtuoso, Omar Faruk Tekbilek is now one of the most sought-after musicians, whose work transcends political boundaries while maintaining traditional sensibilities in a way few artists can manage.


mar Faruk was a musical prodigy. He was born in Adana, Turkey to a musical family who nurtured his precocious talents. At the age of eight, he began his musical career by developing proficiency on the kaval, a small diatonic flute. At the same time he studied religion with thoughts of becoming a cleric, or Imam. His musical interests were being nurtured by his older brother and by a sympathetic uncle who owned a music store and who provided lessons. While working in the store, Omar Faruk learned the intricate rhythms of Turkish music, how to read scales, and other rudiments. He was trained on and eventually mastered several instruments; ney (bamboo flute), zurna (double-reed oboe like instrument with buzzing tone), the baglama (long-necked lute), the oud (the classic lute), as well as percussion. By the age of twelve he began performing professionally at local hot spots. In 1967, upon turning sixteen, he moved to Istanbul where he and his brother spent the following decade as in-demand session musicians. In Istanbul he also met the Mevlevi Dervishes, the ancient Sufi order of Turkey. He did not join the order, but the head Neyzen (ney player), Aka Gunduz Kutbay, became another source of inspiration. Omar Faruk was profoundly influenced by their mystical approach and fusion of sound and spirit. During that time he was introduced to Hatha Yoga and eventually to Tai Chi and Chi Qong, which he continues to practice daily. Omar Faruk’s skills in the studio blossomed in Istanbul playing with some of the leading Turkish musicians of the day. After establishing himself as one of the top session musicians in Turkey, he began touring Europe and Australia. By 1971 at the age of 20, he made his first tour of the United States as a member of a Turkish classical/folk ensemble. It was while touring in the US that he met his future wife, Suzan, and in 1976 he relocated to upstate New York to marry her. Omar Faruk found very few options for a Turkish musician in the US, so he formed a band called the Sultans with an Egyptian keyboardist, a Greek bouzouki player, and his brother-in-law on percussion. It started as a pop band but very quickly turned into a sort of Pan-Near Eastern ensemble. This was all about to change with the fateful meeting with

Brian Keane in 1988. In the following years, he and Keane would produce another six recordings together, launching Omar Faruk boldly into the world music scene. Omar Faruk Tekbilek has since established himself as one of the world’s foremost exponents of Middle Eastern music. A multiinstrumentalist par excellence, he has collaborated with a number of leading musicians of international repute such as jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, keyboard player Karl Berger, ex-Cream rock drummer Ginger Baker, Ofra Haza, Simon Shaheen, Hossam Ramzy, Glen Velez, Bill Laswell, Mike Mainieri, Peter Erskine, Trilok Gurtu, Jai Uttal and Steve Shehan among others.

THE OTHER NOMINEES • Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Composer, pianist, musicologist, vocalist. • Rahman Altin, Opera artist, composer and producer. • Fahir Atakoglu, An international award winning composer and pianist. • Sinem Saniye, is an award-winning singer/ songwriter. • Cem Duruoz, Classical guitarist. • Sila Eser, A soloist, chamber musician. • Hasan Isakkut, Composer, kanunist, violinist.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek


ERGUN KIRLIKOVALI The Most Successful Activist

A TIreless ActIvIst for TurkIsh AmerIcans

ATAA board with Cemil Çiçek, Speaker of the Parliament of Turkey.

With Abdullah Gül, President of Turkish Republic

Kırlıkovalı with Egemen Bağış, Minister for EU Affairs.

An ATAA visit in Turkey


ırlıkovalı conducted research on polymers in Austria and Holland. After performing his military service as a reserve officer at the Turkish Navy, he worked in the chemical industry in Turkey for a year before moving to the United States. He worked for various polymer companies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, prior to starting his own company in 1985, developing and manufacturing new polymeric materials for demanding aerospace applications. He is married and has one son. They live in Southern California. He has been active with Turkish-American community since the day he set foot in America. The very day he arrived at the United Sates, for instance, he had a label on a bread brand at a supermarket

THE OTHER NOMINEES Serdar İlhan, Art presenter in New York. Nevin Sanlı, Founder of Medeterrinian Dinner, over top 20 Turkish CEOs and executives bringing together in Los Angeles area. Nurten Ural, Past President of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. Şaduman Gürbüz, organized Turkish classes for kids living in Dallas area.


chain in San Francisco removed after complaining to the manager. Its Armenian baker had placed the label there and it was racist in content and tone and it unfairly defamed Turkey. The bread brand stayed but the obscene label did not. He says that it was how American greeted him. Thus was kicked off his 34 years of struggle against defamation and disinformation, culminating in his recently being elected to the nationwide office of ATAA presidency for the 2011-2013 term. Before that, he was the president of ATASC (1982, Los Angeles,) founder of the Public Relations committee at FTAA and its first chairman (1984, New York,) the West Coast Regional Director for FTAA (1985 to 2005,) and the VP for West Coast for ATAA (20052006.) He wrote more than 5,000 letters to global media in the past three decades to set the record straight and got published in many countries. He also appeared in radio and TV programs, academic panels, and other events involving Turkish culture, history, and heritage. Although he is not working or volunteering to receive awards, he is the recipient of many professional, community, international, media, and civic awards. Kırlıkovalı lately received Ellis Island Medals Of Honor by The National Ethnic Coalition (NECO) in May 2011. He loves watching, learning, and performing international folk dances. Among his other hobbies are world travel and archeology. He is avid reader in history, philosophy, sociology, and international relations.


A TIreless TurkIsh OrganIzatIon at the Heart of NatIon Washington DC Turkish Restaurant Week Turkish Cuisine is recognized by many experts as one of the world’s richest, most diverse and most delicious cuisines.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek signed a “sister city” agreement on October 2, 2011.


stablished in 1965, ATA-DC’s mission is to foster friendship between the people of Turkey and the United States of America; to raise the public knowledge level and understanding of Turkish culture and history in the community; and to help Turkish Americans preserve their culture in the United States. The Annual Turkish Festival is ATA-DC’s flagship activity. Some of ATA-DC’s other activities include Turkish language classes for adults, Sunday school for Turkish-American children, teachers’ workshops, movie nights, monthly happy hours, and celebrations of national and religious holidays. ATA-DC is a 501(c)3 organization. ATA-DC Ataturk School for Children ATA-DC’s Ataturk School for Children was established in the 1980s and is managed by the American Turkish Association of Washington DC, a 501c, tax exempt, non-profit association. The goal of the school is to provide Turkish language and culture classes for Turkish-American children ages 5 to 12 so that they may retain important aspects of Turkish culture while growing up in the United States. Children learn in a fun, yet structured environment. Light homework is assigned to reinforce classroom teachings. In addition to learning about Turkey and the Turkish language, children are able to socialize with other Turkish-American children and further develop their language skills WASHINGTON DC TURKISH FESTIVAL Its annual Turkish Festival offers a full day of free activities that range from lively folk dancing and musical performances to arts and crafts activities for children and adults. Visitors also enjoy other much-loved aspects of Turkey such as its delicious cuisine, tradition of coffee fortune reading, and bustling Bazaar. The Festival brings together a

ATA-DC’s Ataturk School for Children was established in the 1980s

wide range of artists and more than 15,000 Washingtonians in an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and leads to engaging interactions, all while enjoying Turkish food and coffee, browsing and shopping at the Turkish Bazaar, and watching mesmerizing stage performances. ACTIVITIES Washington DC Turkish Restaurant Week Turkish Cuisine is recognized by many experts as one of the world’s richest, most diverse and most delicious cuisines. ATA-DC is pleased to announce the Inaugural Turkish Cuisine and Restaurant Week in DC, featuring the best of Turkish cuisine in the best Turkish Restaurants of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area along with cooking demonstrations and lectures by Chef Channon Mondoux, an expert on traditional Ottoman and Turkish cuisine. All participating restaurants prepared a special menu for the Turkish Restaurant Week in DC.

THE OTHER NOMINEES • Istanbul Üniversitesi Mezunları Dernegi • The Turkish Women’s League of America • Turkish Cultural Center New York • Bridge to Turkiye • Turkish Cultural Foundation • Turkish Coalition of America • Rochester Türk Cemiyeti • Turkish American Association of North Texas



Can Smart JuIce be the Next ChobanI? When Chobani started back in 2005, nobody would have predicted that it was going to be a one billion dollar company in eight years. Although most people believe it is a Greek company, its owner is actually Turkish. Can Smart Juice become the next Turkish-owned brand to be as widely known in the US? We will see.

Murat Guzel, CEO of Nimeks Organic/Natural Food Source



hen you buy a bottle of 100% organic juice, let’s say it’s a cranberry, have you ever checked the nutrition label on the bottom? Probably you do not. Next time, be sure to check it.. What are you going to see? Well, probably the juice you are drinking is indeed 100% juice, but it is not pure cranberry juice. It’s sometime 60% apple juice, 20% grape juice and if you are lucky, it might have some cranberry extract in it. So it is a kind of a marketing trick. The label says it is hundred percent juices and that part is true, but it is not hundred percent cranberries, apples, grapes or pomegranates. Murat Guzel, CEO of Nimeks organic/Natural Food Source Inc, has been in the food and juice business since 2000. He started with importing Juice concentrates from Turkey for US juice makers and then he decided to build his own brand, “Smart Juice”, in 2008. “Smart Juice is 100% pure juice. We never add any additives, preservatives or artificial anything –ever,” Guzel says. Smart Juice is now on sale in over 2500 supermarkets all over the US, upscale supermarkets such as The Fresh Market, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Shop Rite, A&P, Stop&Shop, Big Y, Shaws, Harmons, and Sprouts, Bristol farms. They just started with some division of Kroger, America’s largest supermarket chain of 3600 stores. When told Smart Juice could be a second Turkish-owned brand like Chobani, a yogurt maker worth a billion dollrs, in the US market, Guzel replies, “Maybe we can’t make it that big. There is a long way to go, but we have that potential with other products we have.” There are not many Turkish brands that are known nationwide. Smart Juice is now selling on shelves for $5.99 (33 fl Oz.); in comparison, the same product from R.W. Knudsen and Lakewood is $9.99. Guzel indicates, “We are selling more organic juice than our competitors but their product lines are very wide and they could put lower price tags on their cheap juices mixed with low cost Juice.” The price of mixed juices is $4.99 and consumers do not pay attention when they pay less; they do not drink the pure juice. You may see pomegranate in the front picture thinking that you are drinking pomegranate juice; actually you could be drinking apple or grape juice with small amount of pomegranate in the bottle. He said secret to his low price for premium juices is that they are being vertically integrated organization from growing organic fruits to Bottling in Turkey Smart Juice has seven different warehouses in the country and they ship directly from warehouses to distributors. Since he partnered and source from Nimeks Tarim of Izmir, They import approximately 700-800 containers of dried foods and fruits, Frozen fruits and Juice concentrates every year from Turkey and this makes them one of the biggest food import company from Turkey. Beside juice, Guzel gave the candy business a try in 2011. He established another company, Kervan USA in Bethlehem. He partnered with, Kervan Gida, Located in Istanbul is the one of the biggest candy companies in Turkey and they were very eager to open a US market. So Guzel gave them a hand. In their first year, they made 320K, and last year’s revenue was $3 million. He expects to grow with 19 different candies and with 150 different gummy candy in bulk to $9 million by the end of this year. They already have their own brand, too: Yumy Yumy Guzel’s companies, Nimeks Organic/Natural Food Source and Kervan USA LLC, are based in Bethlehem, PA. He has lived and worked in the same town since he moved to the US in 1986. Before he entered the retail business with his own brand, Guzel garnered a great deal of experience in the wholesale of food and fruit

and he continues to gather more. Guzel started to import figs, apricots, and nuts from Turkey early in 2000’s and in his first six months of business he made $3 million revenue and he resigned from the high tech job. Then he worked with his partner, Erol Cebeci for two years. Then his partner moved to Turkey for 9 years. The company grew significantly over the years. Now the yearly revenue is approximately $40 million. He says there is a potential to reach $250 million if he has no problem with supply in Turkey. He shows each of his shipment invoices, orders, receivables and underlines, “I hope what I am doing with my company will be a good sample for other Turkish entrepreneurs. They should focus on more American consumers rather than the ethnic market. The ethnic market is very tight and you can’t grow after a certain point.” He says that we have many professional Turks in working here and he emphasis that Turkish people to should either seek management positions in bigger corporation or they should be establishing their own companies with branding in mind. Also he states that honesty and win/win principal will bring long term success and that got him credibility to deal with very large US Companies like, Kellogg, Smuckers, Hains, Sunweet growers, Frozsun and Sunopta. Some of them are multibillion-dollar companies. DEMOCRATIC PARY DELEGATE Graduated from Hacettepe University in Ankara as an electronic engineer, He taught at Hacettepe University for two years. Guzel was one of eight students who came to the US with government scholarships. After his a master and PhD study at Washington state Lehigh University, he also taught courses in engineering. His professional life continued with a wireless communication company in different positions from engineer manager to general manager. Finally he started up his own business adventure in 2000. Guzel describes himself as not only a businessman but also a social activist. He believes in balancing the life with work, social activism, and family. He is the first Turkish-American to be a Democratic Party delegate to nominate a candidate for President of United States. The presidential campaign selected its 153 district level delegates and 14 alternates. Guzel was one of 301 delegates who went to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The Bethlehem region has four Democratic Party delegates and Guzel is one of them. “I wasn’t expecting to be a delegate and I did not even ask or work for it. After having good relations with local elected officials and Senator Bob Casey, He was recommended to be one of four delegates to the Democratic Party and it happened.” Guzel was officially a Democratic Party delegate in June 2012. He voted and signed under name of president Obama as nomination along other delegation in Charlotte, and then President Obama gave an acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the US Presidency. After the election, he received an diner invitation to los Angles and then to invitation to the White House, too. When asked whether he is considering a political career, he smiles and replies, “I haven’t had any plans up to know and this happened. Together, I don’t have plan but we don’t know what future will brings. But we have obligation to our culture, our society and the country we live in”



MTS Introduces LogIstIcs to SocIal MedIa Who says the shipping industry boring? One of the industry’s top players, MTS Logistics, doesn’t think that way and they make the experience more joyful for their clients, vendors, and even their employees.


he New York based international shipping company established a shipping information blog on the Internet in November 2011 and become one of the most reliable resources for the industry in a short time. Their blog is more than a marketing tool. It fills a need. The blog is named “More Than Shipping” and has over 570 followers on Twitter and has been liked 27,274 times on Facebook. Both figures are more than any other shipping company’s social media followers and liked numbers. Lauga Oskarsdottir, MTS Sales and Marketing Executive, says they do not want to create a marketing page, which has only basic company information on it, and nobody cares. “In a short time we became a source of information in the industry. People do not really want to read how we do. They need real and objective information,” Oskarsdottir says. The site has more 15 contributors and guest authors, and not every subject covered has to do with logistics. One of latest articles was about The Resurrection Of The World Trade Center. Oskarsdottir says their followers and readers comprise such various entities as Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and many executives from different industries. Running an Internet blog about the shipping industry is a dedicated job. Oskarsdottir and her colleague Feray Yuksekbas Kavas are responsible for MTS’s site. The site can be read in 26 different languages as well and Casual Friday Corner has various guest authors in different countries and industries. “We don’t want to talk just about our company and sometimes our competitors leaves a comment. I think in the near future we will see other shipping companies in this area, too,” Oskarsdottir says. WHO IS LAUGA OSKARSDOTTIR Lauga is originally from Iceland, and is MTS’s Sales and Marketing Executive. She has been with MTS since May 2011. Lauga had experience as a Sales Manager for a large fitness corporation in Oslo, Norway before she moved to New York in 2009, where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Business Management at Berkeley. Lauga played professional soccer for 5 years in Norway, and also played for the Icelandic National Team as a goalkeeper. She played two seasons for the Berkeley College men’s team as their starting goalie and was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the season in 2010. ABOUT MTS LOGISTICS MTS Logistics Inc. was founded in 2000 and has been a trustworthy service partner for all international shipping needs ever since. The company has experienced dynamic growth over the last 10 years, and currently offers a full range of logistical services to an expanding roster of satisfied clients all over the world. They are dedicated to their goal of delivering the very best logistical solutions to their customers, enabling them to manage their supply chains with a high degree of efficiency and quality. They are focused on their desire to be the most agile, effective partner their customers can find.


Lauga Oskarsdottir, MTS Sales and Marketing Executive,

Grow覺ng Grow覺ng W覺th W覺th Turkey Turkey For For 6060 Years! Years! We have Webeen have growing been growing with Turkey with Turkey for for

60 years, 60 years, since since we were we founded were founded as theas the

first fertilizer first fertilizer company company of Turkey of Turkey in 1952. in 1952. 60 years 60 years of experience of experience and innovative and innovative visionvision in thein market the market enableenable us to us to

maintain maintain our goal ourof goal enriching of enriching this land. this land.


Osman Balta, GÜBRETAŞ General Manager

GÜBRETAŞ Celebrates Its 60th AnnIversary wIth New Records


ounded in 1952 as the first chemical fertilizer company, GÜBRETAŞ has a great success with its 60th anniversary. 60 years ago, on 6 November 1952, the Turkish Fertilizer Plant Joint Stock Company (GÜBRETAŞ) was formed by Turkish government. When it was first established, its primary purpose was to supply optimize Turkey’s fertilizer needs. End of 2011, GÜBRETAŞ has a consolidated turnover reached at 2.2 billion TL ($1.2 billion) and it was the record numbers of sales volume, market share and profitability. Osman Balta, GÜBRETAŞ General Manager talked to TurkofAmerica about the Company’s 60th anniversary and its future plan. Would you compare the Company’s first half of 2012 performance the same period of the previous year based on production, export, sales and revenue? Founded in 1952 as the first chemical fertilizer company, GÜBRETAŞ has a great success with its 60th anniversary. The Company especially last years has the momentum of a great success in every respect. We broke the record in terms of sales, turnover, profitability and growth. Despite 4 percent shrinkage of the industry, our growth was 6 percent. We have reached market share of 32% and have strengthened our leadership. 66 TURK OF AMERICA

End of 2011, GÜBRETAŞ has a consolidated turnover reached at 2.2 billion TL ($1.2 billion) and it was the record numbers of sales volume, market share and profitability. GÜBRETAŞ has been rising steadily in recent years and the first six months of 2012 consolidated net sales reached 1.1 billion TL ($610 million), the consolidated net profit reached 166.4 million TL. ($92.4 million) This data shows us, we can break the new records at end of the year. As the Turkish company, which has the largest industrial investment abroad, does GÜBRETAŞ plan to continue to grow through the acquisition of overseas markets? We continue to look to find ways of making new investments in countries, which has raw materials with our strategy. We had developed a strategy in 2006 and after that we purchased Razi Petrochemical plants, the largest industrial investment abroad by Turkish companies, in 2008. Now we have self-esteem, experience and power to have new deals. Access to raw material resources strategy is at the center of all our investments and future perspective. Turkey began to lose the last 30-40 years to reclaim agricultural land but it starts to regain recent years in the name of the attribute of serious reforms, support and incentives put in place. As a company who closely follow the development of agriculture in Turkey what is your predictions are related to agriculture industry?

manage the collective the lands and at end of the year it will be up to 4 million hectares of land. The new layout will save $ 8 billion loss for Turkey’s economy each year in agriculture. It helps domestic and foreign investors to open up a huge window of opportunity. By the end of 2011, the amount of credit extended to the agricultural sector reached 31 billion 887 million TL. Moreover, rate of return on agricultural loans rose to 99%. According to a statement by the Ministry in 2002, 38% rate of return on agricultural loans, while in 2011 this proportion rose to 99%. Agricultural loans that same period, the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives return rate was 71% and it is 98% now. In 2002, a total of in 2002, total of 550 thousand farmers were using credit of 529 million TL, whereas in 2011, 1 million farmers’ credit balance rose to 22.3 million TL. All of these data allows us to be hopeful for the future of the sector. The last period on many sectors research and development methods was developed to reduce dependence. As to what should be done to reduce dependence on fertilizers, or is it done? Already the main factor pushing GÜBRETAŞ to search for overseas investment, in terms of raw materials sector is almost completely dependent on foreign countries compared. Because Turkey doesn’t have the resources of the raw material used in our industry (nitrogen, phosphate, potassium) Looking at the last 10 years, Turkey’s total fertilizer consumption in agriculture is seen used by an average of 5 million tons of fertilizer. To provide such a high amount of raw materials from abroad is affecting prices. We are a company that since our foundation based on the benefits of Turkish farmers. For this reason, since 2006, to overcome the constraints of raw materials that we should invest abroad in countries with raw materials. Iran has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world, has taken a step on nitrogenous fertilizers were. After that, we continue the search for new, especially in countries with phosphate or potassium sources.

FIGURES GÜBRETAŞ • 1: Milliyet published in the last 5 years, the analysis of the fastest growing companies on the stock exchange (May 27th, 2012) • 1: Fortune magazine survey “the fastest growing company of Turkey” (October 2010) • 13: Istanbul Chamber of Industry announced the “500 Great company” always in the last 43 years in one of the 13 companies • 16: GÜBRETAŞ the 16th institutions that is traded in Istanbul Stock Exchange since 1986. • 32: Industry leadership with a market share of 31.92% in 60 years. • 130 million TL in 2011, GÜBRETAŞ consolidated profit record • 1 million 542 thousand (tons): GÜBRETAŞ carried out in 2011 the amount of fertilizer sales record


When looked at the data of the last 10 years, the annual average of 5 million tons of chemical fertilizer consumed. At the end of 2012, we guess total fertilizer consumption may pass the average estimate of 5 million tones. As a company, we are observing closely, reforms undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture after 2003 gradually began to yield results. The steps taken to overcome the problems in the field of agriculture, the sector began to re-create a structure and philosophy. Carried out by the Ministry for the sector grants, incentives and support increases, so also in the field of production and increased turnover. In fact, in 2011, the OECD released Agriculture Report, Turkey was the first in Europe: agricultural products, the 7th of the largest agricultural economies managed to rise in the queue. According to Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry, Turkey is the first place in the world production of the hazelnut, apricot, fig, cherry, sour cherry, quince, and poppy seeds. We rank the second place in the world in production of watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, leeks, and honey. We rank third in the world in production of lentils, apples, cucumbers, green peppers, green beans, chestnut, pistachio, and sheep’s milk. Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry, the total amount of support to be paid to farmers in 2012 for the production of unrequited announced that it would be 7.6 billion TL. The last 10 years in agriculture gross domestic product increased by 3-fold, reaching USD 63 billion from $ 24 billion. The agricultural sector net external trade surplus in 2011 was $ 4.3 billion. Partly, small plots of domestic and foreign investors losing appetite, the problem is the efficiency, cuts facilitate rural development. 2012 was a turning point for the sector. Division of inheritance will be passed into the soil. Agriculture, Turkey’s geopolitical and economic importance in the world can maximize your investment become one of the most brilliant future. Ministry


Basoglu Cable and ProfIle

Looks For OpportunItIes In the US Market


asoglu Cable and Profile Industry Trade Inc. Company was established by Halil Ibrahim Basoglu in 1987. Basoglu has been manufacturing products, particularly silicone wires, profiles and gaskets, primarily for the white goods industry, lighting industry, automotive and rail transport industry, ship building industry, construction industry, machine industry and energy industry since it was founded. With its headquarters located in Istanbul, Turkey, the company carries out manufacturing in its complex, represented by a total of four plants, three of which are located in Turkey and one in Poland, built on a total space of 26,000 m2. Of this, 15,000 m2 consists of indoor areas. With the vision of producing assets at the utmost level for our customers, stakeholders, employees and society, and turning out to be the leader in the domestic and international marketplace, Basoglu Kablo looks for better and bigger opportunities to improve its international market percentage. Some of Basoglu products include Silicone, PVC and HFFR Wires, Wiring Harnesses, Profile Gaskets and Printed Gaskets, Glass-Fiber Braided Silicone Impregnated Wires and Tubes, Defrost Heaters, indicater lights and Aluminum Gas Distribution Pipes. We offer specially formulated silicone compounds and components developed from a vast background of know-how and experience. QUALITY CERTIFICATES With its production system substantiated by the TSE-ISO-9001:2008, ABS, QE Quality certificates, the company keeps up the pace of its R&D processes and investments. In this respect, the company is the unique silicone and PVC wire manufacturer of Turkey, certified by USA’s UL. Moreover, the company has initiated the construction of “Photo Voltaic” wires, typically employed in solar energy systems, under the SOLARA™ brand, and obtained the TUV certificate for its products. The company is the first and only manufacturer capable of 68 TURK OF AMERICA

Halil Ibrahim Basoglu

genuinely constructing in our country the FE 180/E 90 rated silicone fire safety wires based upon our in-depth corporate know-how and experience. Setting its philosophy as being innovative an pioneer in its sector, the company has turned out to be a prominent subsidiary industry and supplier in a short span of time, capable of meeting the demands of the white goods industry through its high-quality, punctual, fast and flexible manufacturing skills. Bosch, Siemens, Fagor, Klaus Faber, Bohm Kabel, Meinhart, Teka, Whirlpool, Indesit, Bertazzoni, Philips, Beko, Vestel and many other global giants are within the reference portfolio of the company. “We are committed to achieving business and financial success while leaving a positive imprint on society - delivering what we call Performance with Purpose” says Mr. Basoglu. Mr. Halil Ibrahim Basoglu defines his company’s mission to be a that of “Serving in the industry as a prominent company that offers combined solutions suiting customer requirements, yielding major competitive edges; offers services that guide customers through its corporate skills and capabilities; creates and directs business opportunities; sets its principles to be a value-driven enterprise with emphasis on profitability; consistently keeps up with and dynamically applies to products major industrial trends; believes in the significance of direct and open communication, personal skills and the essence of authorization, and accordingly designs its operating aura; in no way sacrifices business ethics, straightforwardness and quality across key corporate assets; and respects applicable laws and regulations. “Today’s global market demands global action, yet, according to the growing supply and demand chain the ones that stayed solid in the market space are the ones that are trying to make innovative, better and safer products,” says Mr. Basoglu and adds for people who works in construction industry, “You should use cables which will not cause fire, not the fire-resistant ones.” As you know on 07/17/2012, the fire in the Polat Tower Residence. which is a 42-story building in Şişli, Istanbul, led to damage to vehiclesand the surrounding area. During the fire which was taken under control at the end of a half-hour period, there was no loss of life. It is said that the fire was caused by the air-conditioning and the cables; although it has not been confirmed with an official statement as yet. 30% of fires are electrical fires and are caused by electrical household appliances. (London Fire Brigade fire causes in 2010 statistics).

rubber and it is obtained from silicon elements after a series of reactions. As there is no carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, chlorine or other halogens in its polymer composition, even when it is destroyed due to the effect of an open flame, it does not release toxic gases and smoke. Therefore, it is a completely halogen-free material. It does not pollute nature and the environment. It comes from the soil goes to the soil. Since it has a structure different from other elastomers, especially in the areas where ordinary silicone elastomers fail to satisfy the needs of advanced technology, silicon insulation material is preferred. It is the dripping feature during burning that makes the silicone material (in exterior coating of buildings and cables) very important in the prevention of fire. This feature is extremely important for the safety of life and property and it does not exist in other insulating materials which drip with a ball-shaped flame. We sell our products to many European countries and we are the most prestigious company in producing cables in our country. When we produce our goods, we pay attention to honesty and fairness to build them with the highest degree of quality. We recognize our responsibility to minimize the environmental impacts of our operations and products. We must look ahead, understand the trends and forces that will shape our business in the future and move swiftly to prepare for what’s to come. We must get ready for tomorrow today. The last thing to tell you is that we should use blue green cables (representing nature), which will not cause fire, not the fire-resistant ones.

“You should use cables whIch wIll not cause fIre, not the fIre-resIstant ones.”


THE FIRES WHICH CABLES CAUSED Nowadays, with the development of information systems, with the rapid increase in the number of intelligent homes and building systems and the increase in the number of devices, data and power cables are employed more and more in everyday use. These cables that surround every part of the building, like a network, form a suitable structure for the fire to spread. In many major fires that occurred in the past, it has been that cables which had an important role in the expansion of the fire. Let’s remember some of the fires in which cables caused the expansion of the fire: Rockefeller Center, USA, (January 1996), Dusseldorf Airport, Germany (April 1996), GarLyn Building, Hong Kong, (November 1996), President Tower Bangkok, Thailand (February 1997), Credit Lyonnais Bank, France, (May 1997), Heathrow Airport, England, (December 1997), Montblanc Tunnel, France / Switzerland, (March 1999). Fire-resistant cables are used in order to transmit energy and signals in the event of fire for a certain period of time. These cables maintain the integrity of the circuit, and communication for 180 minutes under fire conditions. Fire resistant cables are made of inorganic materials that do not emit smoke and toxic gases. These materials are silicone-based rubber, thermoplastic HFFR-based materials. Silicone is a synthetic



Pera Soho Debuts as Melange of TradItIonal & Modern, GastronomIcally & AtmospherIcally


he debut of Pera Soho has added a novel sensory seductive Eastern Mediterranean – with a Turkish bias – destination and dimension to the vibrant dining landscape of one of Manhattan’s most stylish neighborhoods. The new 80-seat restaurant (another 90 slated for the expansive 2000-square-foot garden come Spring), located at 54 Thompson Street, proffers a singular menu that runs an intriguing gastronomic gamut from traditional Turkish meat preparations to contemporary interpretations of classic Eastern Mediterranean recipes. The result of a culinary collaboration between the owner, Istanbul native Burak Karacam and Pera’s team of chefs, Ryan Skeen, Kevin Cahill and Sezai Celikbas, the acclaimed Turkish chef who opened Pera Soho’s popular midtown Manhattan sibling Pera Mediterranean Brasserie five years ago. Although Pera Soho is an extension of the Pera brand, it delivers a thoughtfully differentiated experience by design, with a more seasonal and seafood-centric menu, presented in a much edgier environment in which the starkly modern fuses with the ornately vintage in a downtown-Manhattan-meets-late-19th-century-Istanbul decorative mosaic. Early crowd-pleasers on Pera Soho’s menu reflect an affinity for multi-dimensional food, including: smoked eggplant with garlic yogurt; Turkish white anchovies with olives and grapefruit; raw sea urchin with pickled radish and parsnip among the mezes; and appetizers such as grilled prawns, coco beans, parsnip, black


kale and bottarga; chilled crab and tabouleh salad, with coarse bulghur, parsley, mint, red onion, tomato, red and green peppers; and kale and fried chickpea salad with radish, piquillo peppers, smoked almonds, currants and pickled red beet eggs. Particularly palate-pleasing mains, in addition to Pera’s signature Mediterranean meat dishes, are: grilled striped bass with slowroasted squash and basil confit; pan roasted chicken with cucumber, red onion, pea tendrils, and harissa yoghurt sauce; sliced sirloin “shaslik” steak with grilled red and green, sweet onions and bulghur pilaf; and whole roasted leg of lamb, available for four diners with 24 hour notice. While relishing what is placed on the ebony-dark, highly polished custom wood tables and ensconced in cream leather chairs, Pera Soho diners’ eyes are drawn to monumental specially commissioned murals of landmarks in Pera, the restaurant’s chic Istanbul neighborhood namesake, and photographs etched on bronzed mirrors of late 1800s Pera street scenes. Pera Soho, 54 Thompson Street at the corner of Broome, is open daily for dinner and on Saturday and Sunday for brunch. The garden area, warmed by heat lamps and a fire pit, is a cocktailing alternative to the indoor large bar and lounge area. For more information, visit and for reservations call 212-8786305.


The Aegean Free Zone ContInues AttractIng Investments


he Aegean Free Zone continues attracting investments of those foreign capital companies who decide to invest in Turkey. Over 170 million dollars in investments by Cummins and Kale Pratt & Whitney, two major US-based companies which decided to invest in the Aegean Free Zone last year are under way in full swing. Ertuğrul Işıksoy, ESBAŞ Marketing and Promotion Managing Director answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions. Would you please tell us about new investments in the Aegean Free Zone? The Aegean Free Zone continues attracting investments of those foreign capital companies who decide to invest in Turkey. Over 170 million dollars in investments by Cummins and Kale Pratt & Whitney, two major US-based companies which decided to invest in the Aegean Free Zone last year are under way in full swing. Cummins, which held a ground-breaking ceremony for its investment on May 6, 2011, will initially produce generators and filters for car engines in the facility to be built on a total land area of 100,000 square meters with an investment worth 70 million dollars. Kale Pratt & Whitney, which held a ground-breaking ceremony for its investment on May 7, 2011, will achieve production of over 300 engine parts for the new generation of F-35 war


aircrafts at its plant to be built on a total land area of 100,000 square meters with an investment worth 100 million dollars. The facilities of Cummins and Kale Pratt & Whitney are expected to offer employment to about 1600 persons at the initial stage. Again, CMS, an İzmir-based company which decided to make an investment in an area of 100,000 m2 in the Aegean Free Zone last year, has now reached the stage of completing the construction of a plant in the zone. CMS will initially offer employment to about 1000 persons at its plant in the Aegean Free Zone. What is the significance of the investments by Cummins and CMS in terms of the industrial park? Based on an analysis of the composition of the companies currently engaged in production operations in ESBAŞ Industrial Park, we see that the companies engaged in production as suppliers to the automotive allied industries constitute the majority there. ESBAŞ Industrial Park has now become one of the leading automotive hubs in the world following the entries of Cummins and CMS, two major companies in the industry, among the number of companies such as Delphi Packard, Delphi Diesel, Gates and Mahle, which produce technologies in their respective areas and hold significant shares in the world market.

Likewise, what is the significance of Kale Pratt & Whitney investment in terms of the Aegean Free Zone? The Aegean Free Zone and İzmir are both the rising stars of Turkey in the aviation industry. Following the Aviation and Aerospace Conferences organized by ESBAŞ in the Aegean Free Zone in November 2008 and October 2010, ESTAŞ and İzmir now enjoy more popularity and recognition by the world’s aviation companies. After the German company PfW started production operations in the Zone to manufacture fuel tanks and cylinders for Airbus and Boeing airplanes following French FTB-Lisi, which is one of the first investors in the Zone, global aviation industry companies have started showing keen interest in the Aegean Free Zone as part of their efforts to look for new geographies for their investments. After it started using ESBAŞ buildings to engage in trading of helicopters and airplane parts, Fokker Elmo, a Dutch company, decided to make an investment in the zone; accordingly, it started operations to manufacture cables for a couple of world giants such as Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin in 2009. Following the decision by Kale Pratt & Whitney to invest in the Zone, the Aegean Free Zone has now become one of the leading aviation industry hubs in the aviation industry as in the automotive industry. Young people who work for the Kale Pratt & Whitney joint venture will have the opportunity not only to participate in certification programs in this sector but also to develop their skills and have their abilities certified just as their peers working for other aviation companies in the Zone do. Thus, young people will have the opportunity to work and find jobs in the labor branches of their certification anywhere in the world, if necessary. As the last one in the aviation sector, MST (Matzen Schlauch – Technik) company from Germany decided to make an investment in the Aegean Free Zone. MST GmbH is a strong provider for the global aviation sector from Hanse Aerospace Clustering. MST company’s new investment will be a significant help for the awareness of the aviation companies in the Hanse Aerospace for the Aegean Free Zone and Izmir. How would you explain the reasons for the success of the Aegean Free Zone in attracting investors? The Aegean Free Zone is a contemporary industrial park with superior infrastructure services delivered to its customers based on an understanding of quality. ESBAŞ Industrial Kitchen has the capacity to provide services to about 20,000 persons working in the companies operating in the zone on a daily basis and successfully delivers services to its customers, including companies, operating in three shifts around the clock throughout the week. We have a kindergarten, namely a daycare center with a capacity of 150 children, where employees of the Zone may leave their children in the morning and pick them up at the end of the day. A joint health care and safety center employing four doctors, one specialist in internal medicine, one emergency service specialist, one practitioner, one dentist and three labor health and safety specialists provide health care services in the Zone, in addition to a number of indoor and outdoor sports facilities and various event venues available to the employees in the zone. Elements placing ESBAŞ in a distinctive position are topped by the

fact that employees are able to receive services in any subjects needed and furthermore that the companies may provide such required services through ESBAŞ facilities. Thanks to this, the Aegean Free Zone (AFZ) has now become a contemporary industrial park no less superior than its counterparts in the USA and Europe. Therefore, the AFZ is an attractive hub where European and US companies may operate and enjoy such facility and service standards matching those in their countries at competitive prices. Such services offered by ESBAŞ to the companies and their employees, in addition to intensive marketing activities are the major reason for the success of the Aegean Free Zone in attracting 10% of direct foreign investments in Turkey and over 50% of export-oriented direct foreign investments in the 1990s. What are ESBAŞ’ efforts to attract more foreign direct investment to the Aegean Free Zone? We are extending support to the Clustering development efforts in İzmir in order to be able to attract attention of more companies especially producing and utilizing high technologies to the Aegean Free Zone. Efforts pursued by us to establish an İzmir-based Aviation and Aerospace Clustering have finally attained their objective, and as of November 2010 establishment of Turkey’s first Aviation and Aerospace Clustering Association in İzmir was achieved. As a result of the efforts that comprise the İzmir Aviation and Aerospace Clustering Association, which functions as a major platform to introduce the Aegean Free Zone to the world’s leading companies in the aviation industry, it has been further ensured to hold 2012 GICC (Global Industrial Cooperation Conference) in İzmir in May. ESBAŞ also maintains its Clustering development efforts, which previously bore fruit in the aviation industry in İzmir, in the automotive and health care industries. İzmir has declared its candidacy as a host for 2020 World EXPO Fair with its slogan, “İzmir for Health.” Biotechnology constitutes the basic theme of INOVIZ, Innovation İzmir Project, which has been developed to turn the city into one of the world’s leading health care centers and ESBAŞ functions as the industrial leg of this project. We sincerely hope to be able to achieve more promotion for both İzmir and the Aegean Free Zone thanks to these efforts and other similar schemes; thus, we firmly believe that we can attract more direct foreign investment. How did the AFZ start 2012? What are the rates of increase in the trade volume and employment? The Aegean Free Zone reached the highest annual trade volume ever posted since its foundation thanks to 5 billion dollars’ worth of trade volume achieved last year. Since 1990, when it started operations as Turkey’s first production-oriented free zone, the zone managed to post an annual trade volume of a maximum of 4 billion until last year, but it managed to secure the top ranking in annual trade volumes among Turkey’s free zones by increasing its 2011 volume by 30% to 5 billion dollars. In the first month of 2012, the Aegean Free Zone posted a monthly trade volume of 381.2 million dollars, representing an increase of 10% as compared to the figure in January last year and this has taken its total trade volume since its foundation to 45 billion dollars. The Aegean Free Zone, which enjoys the top position among Turkey’s free zones in terms of trade volumes, is also the leader as the biggest employer. At present, 19,500 people are employed in the Aegean Free Zone, where 240 companies, of which 76 are foreign, operate. 77% of total employment in the zone is provided by foreign companies. The number of employees is expected to increase to 22,000 upon completion of the ongoing investments in the Aegean Free Zone by the end of this year.


At present, any company intending to produce automotive engines in ESBAŞ Industrial Park would have ample opportunities for supplies of any parts ranging from engine block casts and injector nozzles to engine filters and engine pulleys from the companies in the zone. Thanks to the investments by Cummins and CMS, the regional production addressing the automotive allied industries will have more diversification and at the same time, the investments by these companies will significantly contribute to our Zone and İzmir economically.



Barbaras Karaahmet JoIns 85 Year Old HerrIck, FeInsteIn Law FIrm A familiar name to the TurkishAmerican community in New York City in the field of trade and international corporate law, Barbaros Karaahmet has transferred to Herrick, Feinstein LLP, one of New York’s leading law firms, which has been operating since 1928 and currently includes 160 lawyers. Herrick is significantly strengthening its commitment to the firm’s growing Turkish Practice as it promotes Barbaros M. Karaahmet and Michael E. McMahon to Partner as well.


araahmet founded KLF Law Firm and expanded it under different partnerships for 10 years. Before joining Herrick’s team, he sold the company he had founded. Karaahmet will practice international law, mergers, acquisitions and such matters at Herrick, Feinstein, which has a broad law practice, from sports to art, from real estate to media. The company’s headquarters is on Park Avenue, New York and it has two offices in Newark and Princeton, NJ. Herrick is a law firm that is open 24 hours. Its Park Avenue office is designed as a museum. Some of Herrick, Feinstein’s well-known clients have been Lazare Kaplan International, a jewelry company, the Yankee baseball team, the tire giant Bridgestone Americas, Inc., as well as companies such as Atlanta’s W Hotel and Le Meridian Hotel in Philadelphia, which purchased the 42 billion dollar investment firm AEW Capital Management, SBI Investment Co., the largest venture capital firm in Japan., the New York Cosmos soccer team, a team once owned by Ahmet Ertegun, The Sabet Group, known for its real estate investments in New York, Mercedes-Benz, Morgan Stanley, the Anglo Irish Bank, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Louis Vuitton, Planet Hollywood, The Athena Group, Samsung, and countless other big companies. LAWRENCE KAYE: A HUNTER OF TURKISH TREASURES SMUGGLED FROM TURKEY: Lawrence M. Kaye, whose name is familiar to the Turkish-American community, and has been involved in The American Turkish Society for a long time, has served as Vice President since 2007, is the key person who persuaded Karaahmet to transfer Herrick, Feinstein.


Lawrence M. Kaye

Treasure), the King of Lydia from 560 to 547 BCE until his defeat by the Persians. The treasures had been taken from Uşak Province in western Turkey in the 1960’s. Turkey filed a lawsuit against the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1987, the era of Turgut Özal (1983-1991), Prime Minister of Turkey, and the treasure was returned to Turkey in 1993 after the Museum admitted it had known the objects were stolen when they had purchased them. After a six-year legal battle, Kaye and his team won the case. Connoisseur Magazine called “The Hoard of the Century.” The Lydian Hoard first had been seen by journalist Özgen Acar in New York Metropolitan Museum of Art at an exhibition in 1985. Among Lawrence Kaye’s other well-known cases are smuggled the Elmali Treasure, named so in reference to their site of origin, the town of Elmalı in southwestern Turkey, which contains 1661 coins. These also were returned Turkey. A wooden board, belonging to 13th century, which was stolen from a historical mosque was returned to Turkey in 1999. Lastly, the smuggled half statue of Heracles, a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, was returned to Turkey after a legal battle. It flew home in September 2011 with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. THE SECOND TURKISH LAWYER TO WORK FOR HERRICK Kaye says that he is happy to see Karaahmet on Herrick’s team. Kaye and Karaahmet met years ago on a plane trip to Turkey. Karaahmet was just graduated from NYU Law School and was looking for a job. After returning to New York, Karaahmet applied to Herrick and he worked with the company between 1995-2001. Karaahmet took part in the Elmali Coins case. Karaahmet is the second Turkish lawyer to work for the 85-year-old firm. The first Turkish lawyer was Aydın Düren, who has been assistant general manager of Garanti Bank since 1999 in Turkey. Karaahmet says his network, which he established with his company, will grow much broader network with help of Herrick. He indicates that he feels it is a big chance to serve customers in different fields with 160 lawyers the under one roof. ‘’The fields of practice range widely, from sports to arts, international trade to real estate. Customers are able to get a response more quickly to their needs. It really saves time for our clients and us,’’ he says.

Barbaros Karaahmet

Kaye is the one of the people who has closely followed Karaahmet’s professional career for over 17 years. He is one of the partners of Herrick and Co-chair of Art Law Group. The firm has a total of 63 partners and Kaye is one of the most respected lawyers in the company, having worked there more than 20 years. He was a lead attorney in the landmark case of Federal Republic of Germany v. Elicofon, in which two early masterpieces by Albrecht Durer, stolen at the end of the Second World War, were recovered and returned to the Weimar Art Museum. Kaye has also had very good relationships with Turks and the Turkish government, and had a chance to work closely with the late Ahmet Ertegun, (1923–2006), the Turkish- American musician and businessman, best known as the founder and president of Atlantic Records, and President of American Turkish Society. Kaye was the one of the lawyers that helped the Turkish government to obtain the return the smuggled treasures of Croesus, (Karun

HERRICK FEINSTEIN TO REP EAST SIDE TURKISH CENTER The real estate group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP has been selected by the Republic of Turkey to represent it on all aspects of development and construction of a new and expanded Turkish Center at 46th Street and 1st Avenue across from the United Nations. The firm will advise the republic about its real estate and planning matters throughout the redevelopment process here. Michael E. McMahon, co-chair of Herrick’s Government Relations Practice and former US Congressman and city council member, will also be a key player on the team. “During my time in office on both the city and federal levels, it was clear that the Turkish-American population in the New York region was growing rapidly and that Turkey was becoming a major center for business and commerce,” he says. “The new Turkish Center will provide needed services to Turkish-Americas and will stand as a symbol of Turkey’s increasingly important stature as an emerging world leader.” Jonathan Adelsberg, a real estate partner at Herrick, will lead the team. “Being selected as part of this major project is an honor and a privilege, and Herrick’s Real Estate team is committed to helping the Republic of Turkey turn the vision for its new Turkish Center into a reality,” he says. CONTACT: Barbaros M. Karaahmet Phone: (212) 592-1570 Fax: (212) 545-2378



Nevin Şanlı

Astrum INVESTMENT Management’s Goal Is to have $1B In Assets Astrum focuses on providing a conservative investment profile with the best risk adjusted returns they can offer. Astrum’s goal is to produce a 20% gross internal rate of return and deliver 15%, or better, to its investors net of fees and taxes.


ounded by Nevin Sanli in 2009, Astrum Investment Management is a Los Angeles, California, based private equity real estate fund management Company. Sanli is also the Founder and President of Sanli Pastore & Hill, Inc. (est. 1992), the premier business valuation and investment analysis firm in the Western U.S. Astrum purchases properties directly from corporate sellers in sale/leaseback/buyback transactions that will create above average current cash flow and long-term capital appreciation. The Fund will also purchase value-add properties with existing cash flow to increase blended returns. AIM will manage private funds and/or managed accounts for very high net worth individuals who place a minimum of $20mm with Astrum and design a proprietary real estate investment strategy suited specifically to their needs. Nevin Sanli, Founder and Managing Director of Astrum Investment Management answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.


How does Astrum help its customers to make profit? At Astrum we focus on providing a conservative investment profile with the best risk adjusted returns we can offer. Our goal is to produce a 20% gross internal rate of return and deliver 15%, or better, to our investors net of fees and taxes. Our investments are focused on light industrial w/office component single-owner-user properties which we purchase from the businesses that use them and own them. They are located within a 1 hour flight time from Los Angeles. These are great investments because they already have a strong tenant that wants to stay and grow in the building which has been customized to their needs and is well maintained. The businesses want to sell to raise capital for growing their business. We allow them to buy-back the property 5 years later at a reasonable price for them.

What are the rules for joining to Astrum? Rules are minimum $100k for individual US investors and $1 Million for foreign investors. Large family offices, money managers and other institutions come in at typically $5 Million and above. Also US investors must be accredited meaning: 1. a natural person who has individual net worth, or joint net worth with the person’s spouse, that exceeds $1 million at the time of the purchase, excluding the value of the primary residence of such person; 2. a natural person with income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000 for those years and a reasonable expectation of the same income level in the current year; or 3. a trust with assets in excess of $5 million, not formed to acquire the securities offered, whose purchases a sophisticated person makes.

mostly ultra-high net worth families (over $200 million in cash assets) looking to place $20M to $50 million with Astrum. Our discussions and negotiations are continuing and are promising. Would you summarize Astrum’s investments since it’s established? Astrum has been focused on structuring and capital formation to date, however we have an existing proprietary and unique pipeline of transactions exceeding $78,000,000 we are investigating and have specifically narrowed our initial investments to three projects here in the Los Angeles area. We will start with those. What is your future goal? Our goal is to have $1B in assets in this strategy with variations based on opportunity and international exposure.

When you started Astrum, what was your aim? How do you see right now the company’s position? Our aim was to provide a conservative investment vehicle that generated above average risk adjusted returns. We are very well positioned to achieve that goal and grow to a substantial asset management company.

Would you like to add anything? Astrum is an excellent way to diversify and move assets into U.S. Dollars. As the U.S. was the first country to fall into recession we expect it to be the first out meaning foreign investors can take advantage of the upswing in the U.S. by investing with Astrum.

I know you have many visits to Turkey. How do Turkish investors interested in the Company’s projects? We have had good interest from Turkish investors. Even more so in the last year as Europe plunged into a severe recession and the Turkish economy is quite dependent on Europe’s health. It is clear now that the American dollar is the most widespread and most reliable value and that the US economy and its real estate component will come back first to pull the world out of its misery. This is the time to buy a piece of America at low prices. Astrum is ideally organized and structured to protect and maximize returns for non-US investors. Our foreign feeder fund, by which non-US citizens invest into Astrum is based in Amsterdam and is Luminit_HalfPgAd_final_GT.qxd 1/12/12 4:47 PMmillion Page 1 administered accordingly. A few individuals at $1 each but

WHO IS NEVIN SANLI? Nevin Sanli has 25 years of experience in financial consultancy, valuation, investment, and accounting analysis with total transaction and valuation opinions exceeding $30B. He has experienced in real estate acquisition support, diligence analysis and research. Sanli is a member of Board of Directors of Atlantic Legal Foundation; Chairman of Dubnoff Center for Child Development; and, actively involved in associations such as Barrington Group, Vistage International, California Redevelopment Association. BA with Honors in Economics, University of California Irvine, Accredited Senior Appraiser in Business Valuation Discipline. He is fluent in English, French, Turkish, and conversational in Spanish.


Precious Metals:

The Money of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow!


ccording to Greek historian Herodotus, the people of Lydia (currently known as Manisa and Izmir, in Turkey) were the first who used gold and silver as a monetary exchange. Individuals have owned gold for more than two thousand years and it has proven to be one of the most secure methods of passing savings from one generation to the next. In fact, it’s one of the few assets you could take almost anywhere in the world and exchange for goods or services. Knowing the importance of gold and silver coins/ bars in everyday life GRAMALTIN USA Inc. has constituted GOLDGRAM Precious Metal Bars, Gold, Silver, and Platinum, to help investors preserve their wealth. GRAMALTIN USA Inc is now one of the leading Precious Metal Trading Company in the e-trade industry. The product accessibility, quality and purity have enabled us to make progressive steps to take our place in global arena by becoming one of the most sought after brands in bullion markets. The various denominations of Goldgram are available in 1gm, 2.5gm, 5gm, 10gm, 20gm, 50gm, 100gm and 1 Ounce Coins/Bullions. As a part of GRAMATIN USA Inc team, we believe the unknown future of developed world is leaving the markets more volatile than ever and making portfolio diversification an increasingly important matter. Briefly the approach is not putting all your eggs in one basket. According to respected financial analysts, investing in gold up to 20% of your portfolio will make a difference when it is time to expect greater returns. Gold has always been an attractive option for all lines of demographics for many reasons; whether it is for investing or presenting it to next generations as keepsake. With precisely calibrated, .999 Goldgram Bars, we are bringing this low-risk investment opportunity in sizes from 1 to 100 grams into your hands, easily accessible for each occasion. The bottom line is; Gold is known as a safety-net against volatile markets. Under the present financial circumstances, the value of Precious Metals should not be underestimated. We are also proud to make the initial announcement regarding 401G GOLD® program which is tailored in details to serve the needs of Precious Metal Investors. GRAMALTIN USA Inc. encourages employers to incorporate a “401G- GOLD®” program. The program will enable your employees to set up a monthly Gold Saving Plan by actually purchasing the GOLDGRAM bars with low premiums.



“We Want to Support TurkIsh Entrepreneurs Wherever They Run TheIr BusInesses” The bank has grown eight-fold from 2002 to 2012. The number of employees has reached over 13,500 and now they aim to open 250 more branches and establish a place in top 4 banks in Turkey by 2015.


akifbank is a shining star of banking industry in Turkey. In 2011, the bank relocated to Istanbul, the country’s financial capital. A milestone in the bank’s history, this key development is also the first step toward a major change in its vision. They have opened more branches any other bank; they have hired more bankers any other competitor. The bank has grown eight-fold from 2002 to 2012. The number of employees has reached over 13,500 and now they aim to open 250 more branches and establish a place in top 4 banks in Turkey by 2015. Suleyman Kalkan, Vakifbank General Manager and Numan Bek, Assistant General Manager visited New York to meet the bank’s current and potential clients. Kalkan talked to TurkofAmerica Magazine about the bank’s vision and its future plan in New York. What is the importance of New York branch for the bank? You have been operating in the US for over 15 years. What is your expectation from the US market? As you said, Vakifbank has operated in New York over 21 years and we are seeing that the Turkish-American community has grown and our branch has grown, too. We want it much bigger, not only for Turkish-Americans but also for other ethnic groups as well. We have such a big and growing Turkish-American community in the US and we want to expand the current branch ability and its privilege. Vakifbank focuses on SME Banking to understand small businesses in the New York and metropolitan area. SMEs play an instrumental, but often under-recognized, role in private sector growth. We would like to be a major supporter of Turkish entrepreneurs in US market and we will work to establish these circumstances. In near future, we would like to purchase a building in New York in order to get closer to our clients and customers. We want local banking transactions accounts in the US to get over the transactions between US and Turkey.


Suleyman Kalkan, General Manager of Vakifbank


Are you planning to focus on only Turkish clients? No. Turkish-American businesses have always been a major part of our business, but we want to reach different groups and communities as well. For a bank to do business with any valuable client make sense. Dealing with only your community is limiting and we do not want to do limited transactions, but at the same time we want to reach any Turkish entrepreneurs in across the country. In our latest campaign we emphasize that Vakifbank has a “fellow feeling” with their clients. The main object is helping people who have a need. We want to operate where businesses run.

Istanbul Un›vers›ty Attract Overseas Property Investors

policymakers. During this reporting period, the bank boosted total assets by 20.6% to TL 89.2 billion while net profit rose 6% to TL 1,226.8 million. We are especially proud to have increased our net profit in a year when the banking sector’s profitability dropped. Despite all the adversities and uncertainties of 2011, we stood by favoured by real estate investors for its development our customers and increased lending to them; consequently, we potential and positive long term prospects. expanded our loan book by 27.6% to TL 57.2 billion. I strongly The Turkish economyto grew at an annual of 5.5 believe that VakıfBank will continue stride toward therate future by the third quarter of last record-low taking confidentpercent steps, in thanks to the support ofyear our as shareholders interest ratesofboosted and the strong performance Turkey’sconsumer economy.spending and in-

vestment. The buoyant economy offers prospects of rising rents banks and property values,incontrasting with a How do you see foreign operations Turkey? Some people complain aboutoutlook their mergers andeconomies acquisition in sluggish for Europe’s as governTurkey. ments slash spending to reduce debt.

Recently Vakifbank has moved its headquarter from Ankara, the capital of Turkey, to Istanbul. How did it affect I am not thinking in the same way. We aren’t afraid of competition. your operations? come is and we have fully continued to grow. For the last two years, we have been growing more than usual. We Foreign banks have The portal promoting furnished studios from have opened 200 branches, and of these almost 1/3 of all the £25,700 located in a prestigious development, interbranches in the bank’s history have opened in the last two years. We What is your plan for expanding international offices? national real estate receive a valuable 2 year rental have about 750 branches now. When we were in Ankara, as usual, VakifBank has three international offices located in New York, Bahrain guarantees, 6% PA for studios and 7% PA for 1 bedwe were very on by public and governmental organizations, but and Arbil. We also have a participation in Austria named VakifBank A based report nternational real estate portal is whichapartments. has branches in Vienna, Cologne and Frankfurt. after moving to Istanbul we have got closer to private sectors. While International AG room Pricewaterhouse Situated in Esenyurt, Istanbul just 5 minutes promoting studios and apartments aimed at Istanbul African and Middle East market.from the we were in Ankara, the other banks opened more branches than we Now we are working on the exclusive area of Bahcesehir with open parkland and University students. The portal which has been online Coopers and theNow Urban have in Istanbul. we are trying to catch up to them and we are large expensive developments. The University since 2003 believe this to be the first time they have planning Land to haveInstitute an equal number of branches in Istanbul by 2015. Now we have about 200 branches Istanbul and the total number apartments are extremely well positioned for both seen in buy to let apartments aimed at international inconcludes that out of branches will reach 1000 across the country. Bahcesheir University and the state owned university vestors which serve Turkish universities Date of Operation: April 13, 1954 Our of alatest totalbranch of 27investments cities over the past two years make us the Head Office:ofIstanbul Istanbul which attracts 38,000 students alone. employment in banking The first 6 months TL 2,500,000,000 Istanbul University, as one of the oldest educational to the Istanbul isPaid-in a favou-Capital: in champion Europe, of Istanbul has Accordingindustry. of the year 2012,thall the Turkish Banking industry has employed a Number of Employees: 13,512 institutions in the world with educational facilities red city whilst other European markets battle with in the VakıfBank has employed the third of been ranked number of new5employees, Number (645and branches, 96 on the siteBranches: in the 16th741 century is well respected deficit issues. A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and of Domestic this total‘New amount among all the other banks in Turkey. Property satellite branches)



the Urban Land Institute also concludes that out of a


Number of Branches Abroad: 3 (New York, Bahrain and Acquisitions list’ and 7th of 27 cities in Europe, Istanbul ranked In 2011 most banks did nottotal grow well in Turkey. How is has beenErbil branches) 5th in the ‘New Property Acquisitions list’ and 7th in Souce: International Property News by, in growth ‘City Investment your rate? Number of Regional Headquarters: 16 ‘City Investment Prospects. The biggest city in Turkey is Photo: Ben Quinton  VakıfBank andProspects. Turkey completed a successful year in 2011, thanks Number of Subsidiaries and Affiliates: 23

in part to the proactive measures introduced by economic

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The Case for TurkIsh AmerIcan PolItIcal ActIvIsm BY LydIa Borland

2012 marked a turning point for political activism within the Turkish American community. Like previous presidential election years, offices contested at every level of government, altering the political landscape, shuffling in new elected officials and shifting the balance of power. But unlike previous presidential election years, the Turkish American community can now proudly claim to be relevant and influential at all levels of government. The growth of Turkish American activism in American politics over the last four years is nothing short of astounding, as we now have the ability to positively influence elections by uniting behind candidates and office-holders who will work to strengthen U.S.-Turkey relations and support issues important to our community. But we cannot assume continued success. It is imperative that we continue our forward progress so that politicians respect the views and concerns of the Turkish American community, and so that we can work to help more Turkish Americans become elected officials. In July 2012, membership in the Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans (Turkish Caucus) reached an alltime high. Since its creation in 2001, the Turkish Caucus has grown to be a powerful group of 157 Members of Congress from 35 states and 6 territories. The bipartisan Caucus is a platform for Members to discuss U.S.-Turkey relations and issues of importance to the Turkish American community. As the Caucus grows in size and activity, so too does our ability to be heard and respected on Capitol Hill. In addition to our great work in Congress, the four Turkish American political action committees (TC-USA PAC, TurkishPAC, TC-NJ PAC, and TC-CAL PAC) together contributed $131,000 to 64 candidates and committees. This impressive figure reflects a small number of donations from a dedicated Turkish Americans across the country. What Can Turkish Americans Do to Support These Efforts? Overall, we made great progress in 2012, but we must keep our momentum going. Every Turkish American has the ability to play an important role in this effort. Be an Active Congressional Constituent Membership in the Turkish Caucus is at an all-time high, but we can do better. Call and write your Representative and urge him or her to stand with Turkish Americans and join the Turkish Caucus. As membership grows, so too does our ability to effectively convey our concerns and goals to Members of Congress with one voice. As more positive legislation comes up for discussions and Committee hearings, members of the Turkish Caucus will help guide it to fruition, explaining the benefits to their colleagues in the House and Senate, while helping to kill legislation that would punish Turkey in order to score political points with petty interest groups.


Additionally, as a community, we must come together to encourage passage of H.R. 2362 and support its development in the Senate. The bill represents the first major legislative accomplishment of the Turkish American community. Its success will increase trade between Turkey and the United States and will deepen the economic and cultural relationships among Turks, Turkish Americans and Native Americans. Its passage will show that Turkish Americans want to build bridges and bolster our economy, which will encourage more Members of Congress to work with our community members and support our interests. Invest in Your Beliefs Turkish Americans are becoming increasingly active as donors to political campaigns at both the national and local levels. The fact is that with a population of only 500,000, Turkish Americans cannot be everywhere or attend every rally. That makes it crucial that we effectively leverage our ability to donate to political candidates who are willing to listen to our concerns, represent the Turkish American community, and believe in strengthening U.S.-Turkey ties. You can attend fundraisers or donate online, and also urge your friends, family members, and colleagues to do the same. Even if you can only donate a few dollars each time, every little bit helps candidates realize that Turkish Americans are a vocal and interested minority group in this country that deserves their respect and attention. Become a Local Leader The Turkish American community has begun to come together in an unprecedented manner in its political activism since the last presidential election year. Effective organization at the local level is a key to the long-term success of these efforts; we can’t just act as individuals, we must organize effectively at the local levels. Actions that will strengthen our influence include identifying Turkish American leaders in your local community and urging them to run for positions like city council, school board, or county commissioner. You can work with your neighbors and friends to make phone calls to undecided voters before an election, or knock on doors to build support for a candidate, one family at a time. As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.) noted, “all politics is local.” It’s time we join the discussion at every level. We have much to be proud of in 2012, but we must continue to build on our previous successes. We must be active constituents. We must be political donors. And we must be community leaders and organizers. There is a great deal of work ahead, but the Turkish American community has made giant leaps forward since the last presidential election. The more we can come together, the greater our influence, so join with us in giving Turkish Americans a voice in Washington and local governments across the country.

Volume 12 Issue 39 - Golden Turks in US  

The most successful Turkish Americans in 18 different field from business to art. Dr Mehmet Oz, Muhtar Kent, Melih Abdulhayoglu, Mustafa Aba...

Volume 12 Issue 39 - Golden Turks in US  

The most successful Turkish Americans in 18 different field from business to art. Dr Mehmet Oz, Muhtar Kent, Melih Abdulhayoglu, Mustafa Aba...