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PUBLISHER Turk of America, LLC

06 HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID Today, the oldest living member of the Ottoman Dynasty is the Head of the Dynasty Prince Osman Bayazıd, who was born in 1924 as the great-grandson of the Sultan Abdülmecid. His mother, Princess Şadiye Hadicei was six months pregnant with him when she went into exile.

CO-FOUNDER & GENERAL MANAGER Ömer Güneş – omer@turkofamerica.com CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING EDITOR Cemil Özyurt – cemil@turkofamerica.com ART DIRECTOR Sinem Ertaş EDITOR Patricia Russo

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CONTRIBUTORS Ali Çınar, Cüneyt Gürkan, Burcu Gündoğan, Dr. Hakan Karalök, Halim Özyurt, Peter Constantine, Sechil Sertbas ADVISING COMMITTEE Ali Günertem, Ekmel Anda, G. Lincoln McCurdy, Günay Evinch, Hakkı Akbulak, Melih Abdulhayoğlu, Mehmet Çelebi, Osman (Oz) Bengür, Uğur Terzioğlu MAIN OFFICE TURKOFAMERICA, LLC. 104W 40th Street, Fl 5 New York, NY 10018 Tel: +1 (646) 475 8452 info@ turkofamerica.com www.turkofamerica.com Follow on @turkofamerica REPRESENTATIVES IN THE U.S. CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles): Barbaros Tapan - btapan@ turkofamerica. com Tel: +1 (213) 924 8027

18 THE IMPERIAL PRINCESS OF THE UNITED NATIONS Nejla Chawky is the only Imperial Princess living in the United States. Her mother, Princess Fatma Samire, was the daughter of Prince Mehmed Abdulhalim. Members of the Ottoman Dynasty who bore the title “hanım sultan” were the daughters of an Imperial Princess.

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MASSACHUSETTS Mustafa Aykaç – maykac@turkofamerica.com Tel: +1 (857) 205 8318 NEW YORK (Rochester) Ersoy Yildiz – eyildiz@turkofamerica.com Tel: +1 (707) 394 5349 EUROPE: Yasin Yağcı – yyagci@turkofamerica.com Tel: +31 (624) 66 92 23

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TURKEY GENERAL COORDINATOR Nuri Özyurt – nozyurt@turkofamerica.com 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 turkiye@turkofamerica.com Tel : +90 (212) 317 47 85

22 A PRINCESS IN MEXICO Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez is the oldest daughter of Osman Nami, who is Abülhamid’s daughter Ayşe Sultan’s son. 32 THE FRESH FACE OF HEALTHY LIVING The daughter of Dr. Mehmet and Lisa Oz, Daphne Oz is a 2008 graduate of Princeton University, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and received her culinary degree from The Natural Gourmet Institute. 34 FOR EREN OZMEN, THE SKY HAS NO LIMIT The story of Eren Ozmen is a remarkable one of a teenager who took her dreams, passion and determination first to the United States, then around the world, and now to space with SNC’s Dream Chaser Program. 36 DESIGNING THE WEARABLE TECHNOLOGIES OF THE FUTURE It is expected that the volume of the wearable technologies market will reach 45 billion dollars. Ayşegül İldeniz, Vice President and General Manager for Business Development and Strategy, New Devices Group at Intel Corporation spoke to TURKOFAMERICA. 38 THE WOMAN LEADS THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION Seval Öz was leading Google’s non-driver car project, Google X, and last year she transferred to Continental AG, one of the world’s largest automotive parts makers. Öz leads a new Silicon Valley-based operation aimed at intelligent transportation efforts. 49 AN AMAZING COLORIST Sara’s work and designs have been featured in an array of magazines and popular blogs, including Elle Décor, House Beautiful, New York Magazine, The New York Times, StyleBeat, Architectural Digest, and The Ritz-Carlton Magazine.

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52 GOLDEN GIRL Having been founded in 2008, the Halach Gold, Inc. reached a capacity of 15 workers and a 200 million dollar turnover. The Miami branch has played a great role in the company’s reachout to both South and North American mines. 54 THE FACE OF TURKISH HOSPITALITY IN NEW YORK Behind every great establishment is a great leader. Marmara Park Avenue, opening in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood as the U.S. flagship of The Marmara Collection, is no exception.

Cover Photo: Ahmet Ze (www.ahmetze.com)

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14 HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE CENGIZ NAZIM His grandfather Prince Mehmet Ziyaeddin Effendi (1873-1938), who was the oldest son of the 35th Ottoman Padishah Mehmet Reşad V, was a doctor and a musician, in addition to being a prince.

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58 UYSAL TRANSFORMS ORACLE’S CORPORATE She joined Oracle in 1999 as a junior interaction designer. The Oracle User Experience team provided her a perfect environment to grow in the User Experience Field as a new starter.


FROM EDITOR

By Cemil Özyurt

cemil@turkofamerica.com

We Should Not Only Face Hıstory, We Should Embrace It I

t was October 2005; one of our reporters conducted an interview with a young film director, Didem Yılmaz who had shot a short documentary about His Imperial Highness Prince Osman Ertugrul, the head of the Ottoman family. The documentary, “Seeking the Sultan”, showed how a young Turkish-American student came across the Ottoman Royal family in New York.

‘’I think it’s time for the Turkish government to face the last Ottomans who survived in very hard conditions over the past 90 years.’’

Since then, I have been very curious about the Ottoman Dynasty, which has lived in exile. I attempted a couple times to reach out to Prince Ertuğrul Osman but I wasn’t able to make it. He died in 2009 and one of my biggest regrets is not meeting with him before he passed away. Almost 10 years later, I learned that current head of the Ottoman family lives in New York. I couldn’t miss this opportunity once again and I reached him through a friend. We met with HIH Bayazıd Osman on a cold winter night. Since then we get together once a week for lunch or dinner. Over the last 30 years of my life, I have been reading history books and autobiographies and watched documentaries about the Ottoman family in exile; now I am a witness to this history. After serving their country for 622, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and about 300 members of the Ottoman Dynasty were forced into exile in March 1924. They spread out over 15 different countries, from France to Germany, Austria to Switzerland. Some of them ended up in America. In this issue, we have researched the family members who came to the United States. TURKOFAMERICA is the first publication, which has gathered family members together in New York. We have come across very sad stories, heartbreaking memories and inconceivable incidents. The family

04 • TurkofAmerica

Peter Constantine, Princess Nejla Chawky, Suzanne Shotwell Nazım, HIH Prince Cengiz Nazım, Cemil Özyurt and HIH Prince Osman Bayazıd, the Head of the Ottoman Dynasty in New York. (Photo by Ahmet Ze)

kept quiet almost 70 years. They declined most interview requests and preferred to stay low profile. While preparing this issue, I have met Princes (Şehzade), Princesses (Sultan), Imperial Princesses (Hanım Sultan), and other members of the family. The Ottoman family members whom I have met are down to earth people, each of them able to speak least three or four languages, generous and very proud of their heritage. Even though they have lived almost 90 years in exile, they don’t say anything against Turkey. In the last decades, Turkish governments have make reconciliation with different minorities and ethnic groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, and Gypsies who live in Turkey. I think it’s time for the Turkish government to face the last Ottomans who survived in very hard conditions over the past 90 years. The government should consider giving their estates, lands, possessions, and assets back to them along with their Turkish IDs and passports. If Armenian, Assyrian, and Gypsy people in Turkey deserve to have their rights back, the family who served their country for 622 years should have the same rights as the rest.


HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID

The Sultan In New York

HIH Prince Osman Bayazıd at Roger Smith Hotel, New York on April 2015. (Photo by Ahmet Ze)

By Cemil Özyurt

TURKOFAMERICA has brought together in New York Prince Bayazıd,

the Head of the Ottoman Dynasty; Prince Cengiz Nazım, the son of the grandchild of the Sultan Mehmed V; Princess Nejla Chawky, the great-granddaughter of Sultan Abdülmecid; and Mediha Nami de Martinez, the great-granddaughter of Sultan Abdülhamid II. 06 • TurkofAmerica


HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID

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ll the members of the Ottoman Royal Family, which for 622 years had ruled an Empire that had once spanned three continents, were sent into exile on 3 March 1924 as the Ottoman caliphate was abolished. Each member of the dynasty was given a ‘one-way’ passport out of Turkey and two thousand English pounds; their wealth was confiscated. The exile was to last 28 years for the women of the Ottoman dynasty, and 50 years for the men. In March of 1924 in Turkey, there was a total of 144 Ottomans, consisting of 36 men, 48 women, and 60 children, and 140 of these 144 royals were no longer in Turkey by the evening of March 15th. The last Ottoman royal to leave Turkey was Princess Fatma, the daughter of Sultan Murad V. When the law for exile was passed, she was in bed with measles, so she was permitted to stay in Turkey until she recovered. Then Princess Fatma left for Vienna by train along with her three children. With her departure, the exile of the Ottoman royals was completed. Members of the Ottoman Dynasty are still living in about ten different countries around the world, including France, England, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, and the USA. There are still 25 Princes (princes), 16 Sultans, 23 Sultanzades (sons of Ottoman Princesses), and 13 Hanım Sultans (daughters of Ottoman Princesses) alive today. The princes who are direct descendants of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Dynasty, are titled ‘Şehzade’ (Prince); princesses who are descendants of sultans and princes are titled ‘Sultan’; the sons of princess who marries a man outside the Ottoman Dynasty are bear the title ‘Sultanzade,’ and the daughters of princesses bear the title ‘Hanım Sultan.’ Today, the oldest living member of the Ottoman Dynasty is the Head of the Dynasty Prince Osman Bayazıd, who was born in 1924 as the great-grandson of the Sultan Abdülmecid. His mother, Princess Şadiye Hadice was six months pregnant with him when she went into exile. He was the first Ottoman prince to be born in exile on June 23rd, 1924, in France. His elder brother by four years was Prince Burhaneddin Cem (1920-2008), and his other siblings from his father’s other wives were Arife Kadriye (1895-1933), Fatma Zehra (1895-1965), Rabia Nilüfer (1912-1997), Ayşe Masume Fethiye (1916-1944), and Fevziye (19282014). Prince Osman Bayazıd’s father, Prince İbrahim Tevfik, was the only son of Mehmed Burhaneddin, who was one of the sons of Sultan Abdülmecid I and died at the age of 27. Prince İbrahim Tevfik was raised by his uncle Sultan Abdülhamid II. After the exile of the Dynasty, he settled in France with his wife and children. He died in France on 31 December 1931. The age difference between Prince Osman Bayazıd, who lives in New York, and the fifth generation grandchild of the Sultan Mehmed Reşad, Prince Ziya Reşad, is eighty-eight years.

In addition to Osman Bayazıd, living in the USA are Prince Cengiz Nazım, his son Prince Ziyaeddin,and Necla Hanım Sultan. If the Ottoman Empire rule had continued, Prince Osman Bayazıd would today be Sultan Bayazıd III. TURKOFAMERICA brought together in New York Prince Bayazıd, the Head of the Ottoman Dynasty; Prince Cengiz Nazım, the son of the grandchild of the Sultan Reşad; Nejla Chawky Hanım Sultan, the granddaughter of Prince Abdülhalim who was the grandson of Sultan Abdülmecid I; and Mediha Nami de Martinez, the daughter of Prince Osman Nami, the grandson of Sultan Abdülhamid II. Prince Osman Bayazıd and Princess Nejla Chawky live in New York, Prince Cengiz Nazım lives in North Carolina, and his son Prince Ziyaeddin in California. And Mediha Nami de Martinez, who is the oldest daughter of Prince Osman Nami, Abdülhamid II’s daughter Ayşe Sultan’s son, lives in Mexico. TURKOFAMERICA is the first print publication to witness the meeting of these members of the dynasty. The Head of the Ottoman Dynasty, Osman Bayazıd, answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions, allowing a thorough interview for the first time. 45 YEARS AT THE LIBRARY Prince Bayazıd, who became the 44th Head of the Imperial House of Osman after Osman Ertuğrul -the grandson of the Sultan Abdülhamid II passed away in 2009, is an ordinary citizen who leads a simple life, and has neither married nor has children. He is the sort of person who is partiularly kind to others, is witty, and is someone who likes to express what he thinks directly.In his modesty he says: “There is nothing interesting in my life,” although he has seen so much in his lifetime. When I say to him, “Your stories are so interesting; they could be a topic for a book,” he is so modest that he replies, “Not for a book, they would take only a few pages.” He is so generous that he once gave all the money in his pocket to the ship’s crew as tips when he traveled from France to the USA after World War II. He is also so generous as to call the office of the Turkish Airline when going to Turkey and ask for the price of the business class tickets, and then buys an economy class one and donates the price difference to charity. Of the three sons of Princess Şadiye Hadice and Prince İbrahim Tevfik, Osman Bayazıd is the only one still living. His brother Mehmed passed away as a child due to pneumonia. Having lived in France between the years 1924 and 1941, Prince Bayazıd moved to the USA with his brother Burhaneddin Cem and his stepfather after Prince Ibrahim Tevfik passed away.. His mother Şadiye Hadice was the daughter of a wealthy family on her father’s side as well. Her father was a hero of the the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, Çürüksulu Gürcü Bahri Pasha. The famous Çürüksulu Mansion in Salacak, İstanbul belonged to his grandfather’s nephew Çürüksulu Ahmet Pasha. Osman Bayazıd had sisters named Kadriye, Fatma Zehra, Rabia Nilüfer, Ayşe Fethiye, and Fevziye, from the same father and different mothers.

TurkofAmerica • 07


HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID

Prince İbrahim Tevfik, HIH Osman Bayezıd’s father.

Şadiye Hadice Sultan, HIH Osman Bayezıd’s mother.

His brother Burhaneddin Cem found their sister Nilüfer in Algeria years later. During that time, Bayazıd was in the USA army. Nilüfer came to the USA in the following year and lived there until the end of her life. Today, none of his siblings are alive. His last surviving sister, Fevziye, who had worked in UNESCO for many years, passed away on 9 April 2014 in France. His brother Burhaneddin Cem, who was also living in New York like him, passed away in New York in 2008. There is a question he always asks when talking about the exile years: “They said to us, ‘You’ve got 24 hours. You can take with you whatever you can carry.’ But what could be carried? My mother couldn’t even take along her dowry.” When they were about to board the Orient Express for Paris, someone who did not want to stay in Turkey begged his mother: “Please, take me with you, too.” When the person was asked who she was, she replied that she was the second wife of his father, İbrahim Tevfik. They went to France together. Six months later, the French police came to their house to arrest Prince İbrahim Tevfik because, while they were crossing the border, there were two wives carrying the name Princess Tevfik. They explained the situation and managed to avoid arrest. EDUCATION AT THE SORBONNE, PRINCETON AND NYU Having attended high school in France, Prince Osman Bayazıd also received an education at the Sorbonne University in Paris in the following years. Though he attended an art school for a short while, he did not continue because sketching was not one of his strengths. Before coming to the USA with his brother Cem, he went to England to improve his English. He says that his English was bad during the first years. One of the memories he recalls from the years he stayed in France is the time when his cousin -- the daughter of the last Caliph Abdülmecid, Princess Dürüşehvar, who was married to Azam Jah, the son of the Nizam of Hay08 • TurkofAmerica

HIH Prince Burhaneddin Cem (1920-2008), Osman Bayezıd’s big brother.

darabad - one of the wealthiest men in the world - had wanted to attend the French Independence Day ceremonies on 14 July 1940 and listen to the German actress Marlene Dietrich sing in front of the opera house in Paris. However, Princess Dürüşehvar planned to join the crowd wearing a very precious necklace around her neck. When Osman Bayazıd warned her not to, saying that it would be stolen, she rearranged the necklace so that it hung down her back. Understanding that he would not be able to convince Princess Dürüşehvar not to wear the necklace, Prince Bayazıd ordered one of his mother’s helpers to watch over the necklace throughout the night. Another detail he remembers from that night is that he had liked neither the voice nor the stage performance of Marlene Dietrich. After living in Paris for some time, the family moved to Nice and bought an apartment there by selling the remaining possessions of his mother Princess Şadiye Hadice. Princess Şadiye put the house in her husband Prince İbrahim Tevfik’s name even though they were divorced and ordered the payment of some amount of income from the bank to him for ten years. His mother Şadiye had a very strong character. She had overcome things that looked too difficult for a woman to handle by herself in those days. She had gone to Romania from France on her own, and sold the assets belonging to her very rich mother. She was sad to be exiled from her country, but she never looked back. She strove to instill in her children a consciousness about the culture of Turkey and the essence of Turkishness. She had a charismatic presence. After the death of her husband İbrahim Tevfik, Princess Şadiye Hadice married a French-American businessman, who was their neighbor when they lived in France. Their first encounter took place during the regular monthly meetings of the owners of the apartments they were living in. Having fallen in love with Princess Şadiye during those meet-


HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID

Prince Burhaneddin Cem (at left) and Osman Bayezıd with their step brother in France in 1940’s.

Prince Bayazıd, Burhaneddin Cem (at right) and their step brother in France with their Kalfa in 1940s.

ings, he got family friends involved in order to get to know her. In fact, Princess Naciye, who was then married to Enver Pasha’s brother, Kamil Pasha, arranged the meeting of Princess Şadiye with her admirer during a party at her house. Şadiye rejected this advance by saying to Princess Naciye, “If you invite him again to a place where I am, I will never talk to you again.” However, she got married and came to the USA from France in 1941. She met her mother-in-law and two sister-in-laws. They did not like each other that much. The family were strict Catholics and objected to their son marrying a Muslim. However, the marriage took place despite the family’s objection. Şadiye wanted to bring her royal stepdaughters, along with her two sons, to the USA but the court did not allow it.

serving Naciye Sultan for some time, and, then went into service with Dürüşehvar Sultan later on. Cenan Kalfa moved to Lebanon with Prince Bayazıd’s sister Masume. Prince Bayazıd says, “You could not see Princess Dürüşehvar without consulting Zerin Kalfa. Indeed, once she told me, ‘I’ll ask if she would like to see you.’ I objected and said, ‘Of course, she would like to see me. She’s my cousin.’” Rengin Kalfa was responsible for Prince Bayazıd. But she had never taken care of a child in her life before. “I was a very fat baby. But after Rengin began looking after me I became too thin. When my mother asked the Kalfa why I had lost weight, the Kalfa told her that she was giving me two spoons of rice pudding daily. The Kalfa had almost caused me to die of neglect and starvation,” he says, with a laugh.

Princess Şadiye’s first husband, Prince İbrahim Tevfik, who passed away on 31 December 1931, was someone who was very sensitive and known for his delicateness; someone who did not care much about money, in fact, never even laid a finger on it. Osman Bayazıd says that his father used to play the piano very well, and actually, even received offers from different concert touring companies in France to work as a pianist. He states, “A concert hall known as Paris’s Carnegie Hall offered him a tour on a train throughout France but my father İbrahim Tevfik did not accept the offer.” He remembers that his father used to have about twelve parrots and different kinds of other pets. He gave one of the parrots to Bayazıd Osman and another to his older brother Cem as a gift. He says that his parrot gave everyone in the house a very hard time. His last memory of his father was when he gave a silk scarf, with the letters I and T on it, to his mother as a gift. He visited his father’s grave in Nice years later.

He talks about the first day he arrived in New York in 1941 with his older brother Cem. They talked to each other while they were looking out the narrow and thin window of their apartment in the Tudor City Apartments, which was built at the time as the world’s first high-rise residential complex, and they said, “I guess we are very poor. Otherwise, we would not be living in a house with such a small window.” All of the houses where they had lived in France had had big windows. Later, they lived on Park Avenue and Sutton Place and 57th Street. During those years, from their family, the son of Sultan Abdülhamid II, Prince Burhaneddin, and his sons Princes Osman Ertuğrul and Fahreddin were living in the USA. The granddaughter of Sultan Reşad, Mihrimah Sultan, stayed with them in New York for some time. His best friends in childhood were Prince Ali Enver and Princess Rana, the children of Enver Pasha’s wife Princess Naciye.

When the family went into exile, they had two kalfas (chief palace servants) with them: Cenan and Rengin Kalfa. Zerin Kalfa continued

HE WENT TO TURKEY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1985 The Head of the Dynasty, who had spent most of his life in America, visited Turkey for the first time in 1985 at his mother’s insistence, alTurkofAmerica • 09


HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID

grandfathers had built. While he was visiting the Dolmabahçe Palace, he saw that the windows were very dirty. He could not stop himself from asking the security guard, “This is a touristic place. It is a shame that the palace windows are covered with rust and dirt. Why aren’t you cleaning them?” He got the reply, “There are no funds.” He replied that he would be happy to come back the following day to clean the windows himself. He says that he saw the windows clean during his next visit. He also expresses the opinion that Dolmabahçe is the palace that he likes the most among them all. HE WAS THE RIGHT-HAND MAN IN HIS STEPFATHER’S FACTORIES Osman Bayazıd started his first job with his stepfather who had factories in various sectors. His stepfather had factories that produced plastic frames and spare parts for radios for the army during World War II. He helped his stepfather in Manhattan, from 7am to 11pm, with everything related to the factories. He says, “I used to help with everything. I even used to take out the trash.” He continued to manage things in the factories until his stepfather passed away in 1952. Then he started looking for a new job. One of his friends asked him, “You like children. Why don’t you work in the children’s section of a library?”

TURKOFAMERICA has brought together in New York Prince Bayazıd, the Head of the Ottoman Dynasty; Prince Cengiz Nazım, the son of the grandchild of the Sultan Mehmed V; Princess Nejla Chawky, the great-granddaughter of Sultan Abdülmecid in New York at The Roger Smith Hotel. (Photo by Ahmet Ze)

though the ban on the return of the male members of the Dynasty to the country had been lifted in 1974. Princess Şadiye had returned to Turkey when her American husband passed away. He says, “My mother said, ‘See Turkey through my eyes for once’. I did not want to spend all the money we earned in the USA with all kinds of difficulties on those that exiled us from our country. But I loved the country so much when I went. When I was in line at a bank, young people that saw that I was old brought me a chair. That pleased me a lot.” Although the Prince, who has visited Turkey regularly every year following his first trip, claims from time to time that he is “bored of New York” and that he would “move to Turkey,” he states that he has never thought of settling in Turkey permanently. When his mother went to Turkey for the first time after the exil, the secret police would follow her around. Prince Bayazıd tells of an instance when his mother called over a police officer who was trying to hide behind a tree but was still visible because he was too fat, and told him “Well, since you will be following me all day, you might as well give me a hand. Here, carry these shopping bags.” During his first visit to Turkey, he went to see the palaces that his

10 • TurkofAmerica

He applied to the New York library system. He added the recommendation letter of his friend, who was the director of the Manhattan region, as reference. Although he didn’t hear from them for a while, he made a call. When the official at the Hudson Park Library, located in the downtown area of Manhattan, said “No other application except from a Turk has been received,” he asked, “What is the problem with being a Turk?” The library official, whose father and mother were diplomats and who was born in Turkey during their posting, told him that he was also part Turkish. He got in the library as a translator with the approval of the official. After working at the Hudson Library for five years, he transferred to the Donnell Library Center, one of the branches of the New York Public Library located on 53rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Having spent 45 years of his life doing translations in New York libraries, Prince Bayazıd retired in 1997. Because there was nobody in the translation department, he was called again after his retirement. The library was demolished on 30 August 2008, and a 35-story building was built in its place. The library itself was moved to another building. His job in the library was to translate short summaries of the texts that were not written in the Latin alphabet. Osman Bayazıd, who is able to translate texts from 15 languages, including Farsi, Arabic, Armenian, Hindu, Urdu, Polish, the Baltic languages, and the Cyrillic alphabet, can also speak Farsi, Italian, English, French, and Portuguese in addition to Turkish. He learned Portuguese in Portugal, where he had stayed for a year before coming to the USA. The Prince also knows how to read and write old Turkish. He recounts that he used to exchange letters with his older brother Burhaneddin Cem and his mother in Ottoman Turkish. His translations were regularly published in the Library Journal. He mentions that the library official had not wanted him to put his signa-


HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID

ture under his translations from Armenian and Greek due to the conflict between the two societies and the Turks. He says that Armenians and Greeks who came to the library to meet him, because of the ‘Has been reviewed by a New York Public Library member’ phrase that he had put as signature, used to be given the answer: “He is not here at the moment” and turned away. Prince Bayazıd is still a member of the New York Public Library Retirees Association. He attends its annual meetings and keeps in touch with his old friends. HE WAS ABOUT TO BEAT AMBASSADOR ERTEGÜN The Turkish officials were prohibited by the Turkish government to speak with the members of the Ottoman Dynasty during the exile years. Osman Bayazıd says that once, when he attended a reception at the United Nations in New York with his older brother Burhaneddin Cem, “Half of the crowd left the reception when they learned that we were from the Ottoman Dynasty.” He talks about an instance when a woman working at the Turkish Consulate came up to him, with a crowd of delegates along with her, and, after realizing from his accent that he was a foreigner, she asked, “Where are you from?” Prince Bayazıd says, “I told her I was a Turk. I said my name and last name. Her face dropped. And she left the library with the people with her without saying anything. The library director who was watching us from a distance came near me and asked me what I had told her.” These were not the only times he had contact with officials from consulates. During the years when they were staying in France, the German forces did not allow Prince Bayazıd and his family to leave the country because they wanted to use them as hostages and send them to a prison camp if Turkey were to join the war against Germany. In order for the family to leave the country, they needed a letter from the Turkish Embassy in Washington declaring that they were not Turkish citizens. His mother Princess Şadiye remembered a childhood friend from her town, Münir Ertegün, the Ambassador of Turkey in Washington then. Osman Bayzıd’s stepfather had gone to Washington to request the letter but the answer he got was, “I don’t even know them, how could I give a document about them not being citizens?” Because of the document they could not get, they had to stay in France for more than a year with the fear of being sent to a prison camp. Osman Bayazıd, who used to go to Washington often because of his stepfather’s relations at the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs after moving to the USA, had once gone to the Embassy with the intention to punch Münir Ertegün for having caused them to risk their lives and stay in Nazi occupied France for an extra year. He says, “I used my title only once in my life. And that was with Münir Ertegün. I went to the Embassy. I sent a message as, ‘Ottoman Prince Osman Bayazıd is waiting for you downstairs.’ Then, when I saw someone tiny in front of me, I changed my mind about punching him.” Also being a very good cook, Prince Bayazıd says that most of the Kalfas who had come along with them after the exile did not know how to cook. “After we moved into the house in France, my mother called over everyone in the household, and asked who knew how to cook. None of

them answered. One of them said her job was to iron my father’s handkerchiefs and another one’s was cleaning. We learned cooking from our neighbors,” he says. He says he himself makes very nice Circassian chicken. His favorite Turkish food is börek. Adding that his mother had always taken pride in being a Turk and that she often expressed her love for Turkey, the Prince mentions that he also learned Surahs and Ayats of the Koran from the preachers that would come to their house. TWO YEARS IN THE US ARMY After his older brother Burhaneddin Cem joined the US Army, the Prince also followed along to join for two years. His tour of duty took him to Germany, Belgium, and England. He says, “My brother used to joke and say that ‘if Bayazıd joins the army, WWII will come to an end.’” Since he joined the army during the war, he was shipped out to Germany right after the war ended. In the army, because of his French accent, a commander named Bernardo gave him the nickname ‘Damn Yankee.’ (Commander Bernardo, a Southerner, mistook the Prince’s way of speaking as New Yorkese) Prince Bayazid received US citizenship after joining the army. He was not a citizen of any country until then, and he had also rejected getting French citizenship. He only had had a refugee Nansen passport, and had not even renewed it. ‘Since I was not going to be able to become a citizen of both countries, I did not pursue French citizenship,” he says. Once, when he was at the camp in the army, he found himself defenseless against three people who attacked him and he ended up getting beaten up. He adds, “They told me they would protect me if I paid them 20 dollars each. I told them ‘All three of you attacked me while I was not aware. I don’t need protection.’ Then, I showed the knife, which I always carried with me, to everyone and said, ‘If anyone again comes within a meter of my bed, I’ll cut his throat.’ Because of this outburst of mine, they then always used to call me the ‘Crazy Turk.’” He left the army in order to study journalism at New York University. He also took Turkish lessons from Sultan Vahdettin’s granddaughter Princess Hümeyra Özbaş, who was teaching Turkish at Princeton University. After he started working at the library, his mother wanted him to move to a house more secure than the one in downtown Manhattan between Prince Street and Spring Street, so, with the help of his mother’s friend, who was the head of the board of the insurance company Metlife, he rented an apartment in one of the complexes that were designated for those returning from the army. He has been living in the same apartment for over 30 years. HIS FAVORITE HOTEL IS THE PERA PALACE Prince Bayazıd, who stays at the Pera Palace Hotel when he goes to Turkey, answers the question of what he thinks about Atatürk: “He saved Turkey from being reduced to a tiny piece of land in Anatolia.” When asked whether he is angry or offended, he says, “I was born abroad. I never heard anything bad about Turkey from my mother. She used to

TurkofAmerica • 11


HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS PRINCE OSMAN BAYAZID

Princess Nejla Chawky, HIH Prince Osman Bayazıd, the Head of the Ottoman Dynasty; HIH Prince Cengiz Nazım, the son of the grandchild of the Sultan Mehmed V, and his wife Suzanne S. Nazım. (Photo by Ahmet Ze)

love Turkey and she returned and also got her citizenship. But I don’t understand why the family was given 24 hours to leave the country.” Talking about how his mother had left the country without even being able to take the dowry chest that his father had given her, Prince Bayazıd asks, “What could you take along in such a short time?” He says that they used to make plans with his older brother Cem to spend six months of the year in Turkey and the remaining six months in the USA; however, with the passing of Prince Cem, that plan was never actualized. SULTANS SHOULD ALSO BE THE HEADS OF THE DYNASTY There is a dramatic answer to the question of whether he has a memento from his father: one of the few belongings that they took along with them was the Ottoman medals belonging to his father İbrahim Tevfik. One of those medals was a gift to Osman Bayazıd and, the other to his brother Burhaneddin Cem from their father. However, because his father had not had anything valuable to present as a gift at the wedding of Ali Vasıb and his wife Princess Mukbile, who got married in 1931 in Nice, he gave the last two medals as a wedding gift to Mukbile. Bayazıd

12 • TurkofAmerica

mentions that he has now got a medal that was bought from an antique house by his niece Princess Nilüfer and belongs to the Sultan Abdülmecid era. Stating that he has no wish to be buried in Turkey when he passes away, Prince Bayazıd also adds that he has heard of how the funeral of Osman Ertuğral, the previous Head of Dynasty, was very crowded. Although he lived in New York, Osman Ertuğrul passed away in İstanbul in 1997; he was the second Prince to pass away in Turkey after the exile. He also tells of a dialogue about the Dynasty Leadership that took place between him and Neslişah Sultan, who was the last member of the Ottoman Dynasty to be born during the Ottoman era and passed away in 2012: ‘The Chief of the Dynasty is always a man. I talked to Neslişah Sultan. I said, ‘‘Let’s make a decision that from now on the oldest Sultans can also become the Head of the Dynasty.’’ The conversation was to change the women’s ranks of Sultan and Hanımsultan, and give all the women equality within the dynasty to ensure that their children do not lose Hanedan rank’ She also agreed but we lost Neslişah Sultan before we were able to make this decision a reality.”


OTTOMAN DYNASTY IN AMERICA / PRINCE CENGIZ NAZIM EFFENDI

His grandfather Prince Mehmet Ziyaeddin Effendi (1873-1938), who was the oldest son of the 35 th Ottoman Padishah Mehmet Reşad V, was a doctor and a musician, in addition to being a prince. HIH Prince Cengiz Nazım and his wife Suzanne S. Nazım with Ertan Yalçın, Turkish New York Consul General. HIH Prince attained his Turkish citizenship after 76 years.

My Heart Belongs to Amerıca, But My Soul Belongs to Turkey 14 • TurkofAmerica


OTTOMAN DYNASTY IN AMERICA / PRINCE CENGIZ NAZIM EFFENDI

W

hen he arrived at Atatürk Airport in 1960 to make a connection to his flight, his heart was about to skip a beat. He was flying to London from Cairo with a transit over İstanbul and he was going to stay in İstanbul for one night. For the first time, he was going to see the lands where his father, who had left the country with the passing of 3 March 1924 exile rule, was born, and, the city where his grandfathers had ruled. When he got off the plane and rode into İstanbul, passing The Old Walls with the Turkish flag flying above, he got emotional and could not hold back his tears. He stayed in İstanbul for only one night. The exile remained in force for the male members of the Dynasty until 1974; however, Prince Cengiz Nazım Effendi took the risk and stayed in İstanbul for a day by using the transit as an excuse. The second time he came was after he and his family got US passports in 1967. At the beginning, he thought, “What if they create a problem at the entrance and don’t allow us to go in.” Then, he said, “If they don’t allow us in, the worst case is that we would return.” He did not encounter any problems at the entrance. He traveled around İstanbul, which he had seen only for a day during his first visit, in a fulfilling way. His grandfather Prince Mehmet Ziyaeddin Effendi (1873-1938), who was the oldest son of the 35th Ottoman Padishah Mehmet Reşad V, was a doctor and a musician, in addition to being a prince. Ziyaeddin Effendi was awarded the Nişan-ı Âli-i İmtiyaz and Prusya Kara Kartal Şövalye Nişanı medals. His father Mehmed Nazım Effendi was the first Prince to die in Turkey after the exile. He passed away in 1984 and was buried next to his grandfather in İstanbul in the Sultan Resad Tomb. We met Prince Cengiz Nazım Effendi along with his wife Suzanne Hanım on 2 April 2015 at the Turkish consulate in New York, where he attained his Turkish citizenship after 76 years. This historical moment was witnessed by TURKOFAMERICA. The previous Head of Dynasty Ertuğrul Osman Effendi had also received his ID card personally from then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in New York in 2004. Many years have passed since the times that Prince Osman Bayezıd Effendi tells about: “During the 1940’s and ‘50’s, Turkish consulates and embassy officials used to leave the room when they would hear our name.” Cengiz Nazım Effendi and his wife Suzanne were greeted with the highest degree of respect at the consulate general. The procedure of bestowing citizenship took place quickly and was handled directly by Consulate General Ertan Yalçın. Other members of the family had been brought together on 8 March 2013 at the Turkish Embassy in London by Ahmet Davutoğlu, during his time as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Most of the family members had obtained their Turkish IDs through this meeting. Cengiz Nazım Effendi, who was born in Cairo in November 1939 as the first of the three sons of Mehmed Nazım Effendi, the grandson of Sultan Mehmed V Reşad, who sat on the throne of the Ottoman Empire between 1909 and 1918, is the fourth oldest Prince among the Princes living today. He is quite spry despite being 75 years old. And he is so full of energy he is able to walk to Central Park from Midtown. He’s been living in the US since 1960 and attended university here as well. Having

lived in Egypt until he was 20, the Prince tells that they had lived in Egypt without any problems prior to Abdülnasır but had difficult days after the coup d’etat. When things became complicated in Egypt, he came over to the US. He was helped by a friend of his maternal family to attend university in Oklahoma. Ara Öztemel was a successful businessman doing trade between the USA and the Soviets. After wandering around in New York for a little at the invitation of Mr Öztemel, Prince Cengiz Nazım moved to Oklahoma to start college, and, he attended school for two years with the support of his mother, his uncle Kemali Söylemezoğlu, and his stepfather Mithat Perin. He then attended the University of Oklahoma. While attendes the university, he delivered pizzas. He says, “Then, I got promoted and began to make pizzas. And for some time, I also worked as a cashier.” He used to go to school in the mornings and work for the rest of the day at three different part-time jobs: at Trans World Airlines, at a tourism agency, and as a pizza-guy. At first, he wanted to be a chemical engineer. When he started working at the Trans World Airlines while in college, he thought that it would not make much sense to study chemistry and work in an airlines company, as he wanted to make a career in airline transportation. He says, “If I were to work in a job that required a college degree, it could have been any degree. I liked Political Science, so, I chose that.” He also helped his brother Prince Ziya Effendi, who is now a retired pilot from Emirates Airlines, his brother Prince Hasan Orhan Osmanoğlu, as well as his other brother Selçuk Perin who was brought to the USA but returned Turkey. However, Ziya Effendi returned to Jordan. After finishing school, he left Oklahoma and settled in California and worked for TWA. He left the airline business in 1971 and joined a trucking company in Oklahoma. Later, he created his own business, named Texas Star Express, in Texas from scratch, and turned it into a fleet with 130 trucks. Health issues created a situation in which he and his partner needed to sell the company. This caught the attention of Epes Carriers in North Carolina. He sold the transportation firm his company Texas Star Express, which had reached 18 million-dollars revenue from zero, in 1991. At the request of the Chairman of Epes, he worked at the company in Texas, then moved to North Carolina as an executive and helped start up Epes Logistics. He was there between the years 1995-2011. He met his wife Suzanne here in 1997 and got married in 1998. When Cengiz Nazım Effendi retired in November 2011, he started a Transportation Management Company, Nazim & Associates LLC to continue working in a semi retired status. He and his wife Suzanne, who is a also in Real Estate sales, work together in this endeavor. “Many people made positive impacts on my life in the U.S. One in particular was the Chairman of Epes Carriers, Alvin M. Bodford, who mentored and supported my role for many years. I am forever grateful to him,” Prince Cengiz Nazım says. Prince Cengiz Nazım Effendi, who has two grandchildren, Peri Kath-

TurkofAmerica • 15


OTTOMAN DYNASTY IN AMERICA / PRINCE CENGIZ NAZIM EFFENDI

leen (21) and Zekeriya (19) from his daughter Ayşe (51) who was born in Oklahoma, as well as a son Ziyaeddin (48), who was born in California, still works as director editor at the Cox Cable company. Ziyaeddin Effendi, who is the third Prince living in the USA after Osman Bayezıd Effendi and his father Cengiz Nazım Effendi, is married and has not got any children. Cengiz Nazım Effendi’s mother, Perizad Söylemezoğlu, who was born in 1918, still lives in Bebek, İstanbul. His mother got married to the famous journalist Mithat Perin after getting divorced from Mehmed Nazım Effendi. In addition, the famous composer Şehrazat is also the Prince’s cousin. He also has eight step grandchildren from his marriage to his wife Suzanne Shotwell Nazım. THE OTTOMANS BELONG TO TURKEY, NOT TURKEY TO THE OTTOMANS While talking about his emotions during his visit to Turkey after a long passage of years, he still gets excited and mentions his visit to Konya in 2013, with the invitation of then Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, to join the Şeb-i Arus ceremonies. Also, he was present in İstanbul, with the invitation of İstanbul’s Mayor Kadir Topbaş, to participate in the celebrations of the conquest of İstanbul. When we ask Cengiz Nazım Effendi, who emphasizes that his father was born in Dolmabahçe Palace but liked Beylerbeyi much more, about what he had thought when he saw traces of his grandfathers, he says, “It’s an amazing feeling. Perfect. There is nothing wrong with being proud of our ancestors. But whenever you think that ‘you’re above others’, that’s wrong. We should be humble.” With a smile, he also mentions a memory of visiting Dolmabahçe Palace with his daughter Ayşe, and says, “We first visited Dolmabahçe, then, another palace in Paris. When she saw the palace in Paris, Ayşe commented, ‘Our palace is more beautiful.’” He recollects that his father wanted to be buried in Turkey, and, when he is asked whether he himself has such a wish, he replies, “I feel myself belonging both here and to Turkey. I’m afraid, there is no way of burying a piece of me here, and the other in Turkey.” It will be dealt with when it happens. When asked about what his thoughts are on the problems in the Muslim regions around the world, his answer is, “We must first explain to the world what kind of people Muslims are. I think the media has a significant fault in the explanation and understanding of Islam. Whether

HIH Prince Cengiz Nazım with baby Kerem Ali Özyurt during his visit in New York. (Photo by Bilgin Şaşmaz, Anatolian Agency, New York)

they’re Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, the radicals cannot represent religions. Islam is a peaceful religion. What’s the first thing in the Kuran: ‘Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.’ What’s its meaning: In the name of God, Allah the forgiving and merciful. We must be merciful people, not killers.” Expressing that his father used to remind them that the most important thing in their life was the Turkish flag, and highlighting how they were raised in a family embracing the love of homeland and the flag, Cengiz Nazım Effendi adds, “Ottomans belong to Turkey. Not Turkey to the Ottomans.” Stating that he intends to write a book about his 75 year- long life, the Prince adds, “Starting from the first school I attended, I would like to write a book about the days in Egypt and being born at the beginning of WWII. I’ve already written one chapter. But I’m not sure whether I should write it chronologically or by flowing with my emotions. And, I’m thinking of titling the book ‘My Heart Belongs to America, but My Soul to Turkey.’”

CENGİZ NAZIM EFFENDİ FAMILY TREE Sultan Mehmed Resad V (1844-1918) & Kamures BaşkadınEffendi (1855-1921)

Mehmed Ziyaeddin (1873-1938) & Ünsiyar HanımEffendi (1887-1934)

Prince Mehmed Nazım Effendi (1910-1984) & Perizad Söylemezoğlu (1918-)

Prince Cengiz Nazım Effendi (1939) & Eileen (1946)

Ayşe Sultan (1964)

Prince Ziyaeddin Effendi (1966)

Prince Cengiz Nazım is married to Suzanne Shotwell Nazım.

16 • TurkofAmerica


OTTOMAN DYNASTY IN AMERICA / IMPERIAL PRINCESS NEJLA CHAWKY

The Hanım Sultan of the Unıted Natıons

Abdülmecid I, the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, was her great-great-grand father. She worked 30 years for the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Imperial Princess Nejla Chawky, the great-granddaughter of Sultan Abdülmecid.

N

ejla Chawky is the only ‘Hanım Sultan’(Imperial Princess) living in the United States. Her mother, Princess Fatma Samire, was the daughter of Prince Mehmed Abdulhalim. Members of the Ottoman Dynasty who bore the title “hanım sultan” were the daughters of an Imperial Princess. Princess Nejla was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where her father was Egypt’s Ambassador. Her first schooling was in Romania where, after Brazil, her father served as Ambassador. The family then moved to Egypt upon her father’s retirement where she finished her schooling

18 • TurkofAmerica

and attended university. Princess Nejla worked 36 years for the United Nations, retiring as the Assistant to the Chief of Protocol. In the course of her career, she interacted with diplomats and officials from Turkey, as well as diplomats from all over the world. “My mother rarely spoke of her lineage or her past,” Princess Nejla says. Members of the Ottoman family had many heartbreaking stories of their exile. One of the more tragic occurred to Princess Nejla’s uncle, her mother’s brother and only sibling, Prince Cengiz. He had worked for the Renault auto factory in Paris during the day, and at


OTTOMAN DYNASTY IN AMERICA / IMPERIAL PRINCESS NEJLA CHAWKY

night fought as a professional boxer. He died of a concussion suffered during a match at the age of twenty-five.

French literature, enjoyed French music and later in life always longed for her days in beautiful Nice.

This is the first time Princess Nejla has been interviewed; she answered TURKOFAMERICA’s Editor-in-Chief’s questions.

Did she talk about exile and did she remember the first days of the exile?Do you know any of her stories from those days? My mother did not talk much about her exile. As a pragmatic person she lived in the present. One of the things I remember her saying: “Turkey is not what it used to be. We were exiled from our country and even the way we Ottomans speak Turkish is different from what the Turks of today speak.” The happy times she experienced in exile in France were also tempered by the sadness of the loss of her brother at an early age during a boxing match and other hardships of the time. For the rest of her life she would hate the sport of boxing.

I’d like you to tell us about your mother. How do you remember her? My mother, Princess Samire was affectionate, kind, modest, cultured, compassionate, and pragmatic. I am not saying that because she is my mother, if you ask anyone, whether family or friends, they all, without exception, admired and respected her to the utmost. She was very kind to people from all walks of life, the house help adored her, her friends and the family members who knew her, were very devoted to her. She was open minded yet reserved and her thinking was forward looking to the extent that people would come to her for advice. She encouraged me to be independent, hardworking, modest, and appreciative of culture in all its forms. Did she miss her country, or did she get used to the U.S., and its people, rules, etc.? My mother loved New York. She would visit me from Cairo every year, and stay for a couple of months. In New York my mother felt rejuvenated, invigorated and the city satisfied her desire for international culture. She loved the ballet, the concerts and walks in Central Park, as well as the gastronomic variety the city offered. Since I arrived in New York in 1980, my uncle His Imperial Highness Osman Bayezid, the current head of the Ottoman family, and his older brother my late uncle Prince Burhaneddin Cem, were very hospitable to my mother and me, always inviting us to wonderful dinners and outings. As a child, my mother used to play with both uncle Cem and Bayezid when they lived in France before World War II. Their warm relationship continued throughout their lives. Was she angry at the Turkish Government or did she feel any disappointment? For as long as I can remember, my mother felt she did not belong. She did not belong to Turkey, her birthplace, which she had to leave at an early age. She did not belong to Egypt, which felt foreign to her, even though she lived there for more than thirty years. Her happiest days were her days in exile in the south of France. An early tragedy however was the death of her father Prince Mehmed Abdülhalim when she was five years old. He was the first Imperial Ottoman Prince to die in exile, only ten days after Sultan Vahideddin passed away in San Remo in May of 1926. As the former Sultan and my grandfather had died only days apart, Abdulmecid II’s son Prince Omer Faruk, who was also in exile in the south of France, arranged for both bodies to be sent by ship to Syria, to be buried in Moslem soil, in the Sultan Selim Mosque in Damascus where so many exiled Ottoman royals were to be buried in the decades that followed. After my grandfather’s death, my mother, my uncle Cengiz, who at the time was only six months old, and my grandmother lived in dire conditions, especially later, during the Second World War. Despite the hardships, my mother identified with French culture; she read

When did she visit Turkey for the first time? When did you visit Turkey for the first time? My mother visited Turkey only once, with me, in the early 1960’s. We stayed with Princess Hatice Şükriye, who lived in what seemed to me a palace on top of a hill. During this trip my mother introduced me to many members of the family who she was delighted to see after so many years. I remember that she was asked by journalists to give an interview and only reluctantly did so. I will never forget the wonderful time we had together, visiting enchanting Turkey. Which family members were close to you? In Egypt we had Ottoman relatives who we were close to: Princesses Neslişah and her daughter, Iqbal, Princesses Safvet Neslişah, Şükriye, Mükbile, Selçuk, Necla, Lütfiye, Adile and her son Prince Kubilay. We were also close to Princes Ömer Faruk, Ali Vasib, Mehmed Nazım and his two sons, Princes Ziyaeddin and the late Hassan. To me they were all uncles and aunts and the younger generation, cousins. Unfortunately, eventually, one by one they all left Egypt and so did I, in 1980. How and when did your mother come to the United States? In 1990 my father passed away and around the same time my mother had a stroke. After my father’s death my mother came to live with my husband, Jorge García, and myself in New York City, in 1991. She lived with us until her death in January 2000. She is buried in Washington Park Cemetery on Long Island, New York. Could you tell us a little bit about your story? We know that you were born in Rio, Brazil and went to school in Romania. What did you study? My father, Dr. Hussein Chawky, was ambassador of Egypt to Brazil when I was born. I spent the 4 first years of my life in Rio, of which of course I remember nothing; however, my mother told me wonderful stories about the people and the culture of that country, which made me visit later on in life, 3 times. After Brazil, my father was stationed in Romania. My first school was a Romanian school; I spoke Romanian fluently and have kept joyful memories of my 5 years in Bucharest. My father then retired in Cairo. I was enrolled at the Manor House, an English school. I did not know a word of English or Arabic (we spoke French at

TurkofAmerica • 19


OTTOMAN DYNASTY IN AMERICA / IMPERIAL PRINCESS NEJLA CHAWKY

home) so it was very hard at the beginning, but I soon adapted. I then enrolled, on a full scholarship, at the American University in Cairo and studied Political Science. I have very fond memories of my life in Egypt and have kept many close friends. Egypt is my homeland, but Turkey is and will always remain my motherland.

In your UN days, did you work with Turkish missions? How was their reaction when they learned that you are one of the Ottoman family members? I never spoke of my Ottoman heritage when working at the United Nations.

What was your first job? My first job was with the United Nations in Egypt. The UN Mission was set up to oversee the implementation of the peace treaty signed by President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin, to withdraw the Israeli forces from the Sinai. I was stationed in a beautiful town on the Suez Canal called Ismailia. The United Nations Emergency Forces, lasted for five years, after which I left Egypt and joined the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 1980. I was the assistant to the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, during which time I got my Master’s Degree from New York University in Women’s Studies. After 17 years in that post I was promoted to the Assistant to the Chief of Protocol of the United Nations.

Have you ever used your ‘Hanım Sultan’ title? I am very proud of my Ottoman heritage and my title. I speak of my heritage when among family members or when prompted by close friends.

Nejla Chawky Hanim Sultan with in her mother Samire Sultan’s arms in Rio, Brazil.

FAMILY TREE OF PRINCESS NEJLA CHAWKY Sultan Abdülmecid I (1823-1861) & Ayse Serfiraz (1837-1905) Selim Süleyman Efendi (1860-1909) &

Fatma İkbal (1871-1932)

Mehmed Abdülhalim (1894-1926) &

Samiye (1896-1949)

Fatma Samire Sultan (1921-2000)

Hüseyin Chawky (1903- 1990)

&

Nejla Chawky Hanım Sultan (1951)

Samire Sultan with her brother, Prince Cengiz, in the south of France.

Samire Sultan with her brother, Prince Cengiz died when he was 25 years old.

Fatma Samire Sultan was the daughter of the grandson of Sultan Abdülmecid I.

Fatma Samire Sultan with her father Prince Mehmed Abdülhalim Efendi and her mother, Samiye Sultan.

20 • TurkofAmerica

Courtesy of Nejla Chawky Hanim Sultan


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TurkofAmerica • 41


MEDIHA NAMI MARTINEZ, A PRINCESS IN MEXICO

Medıha Namı De Martınez,

An Ottoman Prıncess ın Mexıco

oldest daughter of Osman Nami, who is Abülhamid’s daughter Ayşe Sultan’s son. She watched the documentary with tears along with the participants. She has never had an interview with a publication so far; she spoke for the first time with TURKOFAMERICA. She explains the reasons for this: “Maybe it is because of my father’s warnings. He used to never talk to the press and he was very tight-lipped. So I was always afraid that I would say something wrong.” When her father Osman Nami was ordered into exile on 1 March 1924, he was seven years old. He was among those who had gone to Paris on the train that left from Sirkeci, İstanbul. She tells us that although her father used to talk to them about his memories and what he had lived through during the exile, he had never allowed for note-taking. As soon as the forced exile ended in 1974, her father returned to Turkey, bought a house on the Anatolian side of İstanbul, and then moved to Marmaris. He lived in Marmaris until 2010, the year when he passed away. She says, “He was expecting different things when he returned to the country, and, I think, he was disappointed.” HER GRANDFATHER WAS THE PRESIDENT OF SYRIA The grandmother of Princess Mediha was Ayşe Sultan, Abdülhamid II’s favorite daughter who was known for her strong character. And Princess Mediha’s grandfather was the old President of State of Syria, Prince Ahmet Nami Bey (between on April 28th, 1920 to February 15th 1928.) Many of the Ottoman Dynasty members who lost their lives during the exile years were buried in Syria with the help of Ahmet Nami Bey. Princess Mediha says, “My grandfather was the person who prevented the burial of members of the dynasty in foreign soil.”

Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez.

Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez is the oldest daughter of Osman Nami, who is Abülhamid’s daughter Ayşe Sultan’s son. 22 • TurkofAmerica

I

t was a warm spring night. A group of people gathered at the Bergen Turkish-American Mosque and Cultural Center in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. They were very enthusiastic about their guest who would be watching a documentary about the‘Ottoman Family in Exile’ with them. The 8-year-old-boy in the crowd was probably the most excited one of all. He was expecting to see the Princess with a crown, and he came with his plastic sword to protect her. The honored guest was Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez who is the

Princess Mediha was born in Paris in 1947. When she was one year old, they moved to Tunisia due to her father’s job. She attended elementary school in Tunisia, and also attended a French high school there. Her father had received radiology training in college and, at that time, he was one of the rare engineers that were able to use radiology devices. The Tunisian king of that time was a friend of the Turks. Her two younger siblings, Fethiye and Adile, were born in Tunisia. Princess Mediha lost her mother Adile Tanyeri when she was 11 years old. Her father Osman Nami met his second wife Rotraud Müşfika in Tunisia and had two more daughters with his second wife.


MEDIHA NAMI MARTINEZ, A PRINCESS IN MEXICO

Due to political changes in Tunisia and because of her father’s job, they had to return to France in 1960s. The longing for Turkey, which Osman Nami Beyzade had spoken of in an interview on TRT in 2006, where he said: “We always had a Turkish flag and a handful of soil brought from Turkey in our room,” is also confirmed by his daughter Mediha Nami, who witnessed it. She says, “My father was very attached to Turkey and its history. He raised us by always telling us to have respect for everyone from all religions and nationalities.” After her education in France, she first went to England for two years, and then to Germany. During the years she was in Germany, as her first serious job related to her career, she started to work in the protocol department of the Haitian Embassy in Bonn in 1968. She married in 1969 and her only child daughter, Ayşe Marie-Christine Nami, was born in Bonn on July 1969. PROMOTED HAITIAN CULTURE IN GERMANY Some time later, she was offered the position of culture attaché in the embassy. Although she had not wanted it at first, she ended up taking it. She promoted Haitian culture in Germany. She stayed in Germany for 14 years. After the years spent at the Haitian Embassy, Princess Mediha Nami opened a travel agency with a German and a Spanish friend. She began to promote Latin American countries in Germany. While she was working at the travel agency, she met her husband, Jose Luis Martinez Fernandez, who was working at Mexican Embassy in Bonn. She was tired of the work life in Germany. She said to him: “I’m returning to France. You come along, too.” So they got married in 1989 and settled in France. She tried to operate her travel agency business from Paris; however, it did not quite work out. She returned to Germany with her husband who was appointed as the Consulate General in Berlin. Then, she went to Mexico, where they were to stay Her husband was appointed as an executive to Mexican Culture Ministry, then in 2001 he became Mexican Ambassador to Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia. After his retirement, the couple went back to Mexico City.

Princess Mediha Nami with Bergen Mosque and Cultural Center’s board members at the screening night of the documentary.

Princess Mediha Nami with her parents, Adile and Osman Nami and her younger sister.

She visited Turkey for the first time in 1976. She insisted on taking their trip, of which her daughter Ayşe Nami and her husband were also part, with Turkish Airlines. Because of the infrequency of the flights and the delays during those days, they were able to land in İstanbul only after a very long journey. All the family, the five daughters, mother, and the father got together at Pera Palace after many years. Three of her sisters had gone to school in Turkey but Fethiye and Princess Mediha have always led their lives abroad. Her only daughter, Ayşe, lives in Germany. Ayşe, who is studying Psychology and Communication, is married to a Turk. Princess Mediha still cannot hide her awe, though it’s been five years, at the care that was given for her father’s funeral by the state authorities. Indeed, the funeral of her father Osman Nami Sultanzade, which was conducted in Fatih Mosque on Thursday, 15 July 2010, was attended by then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and four ministers. Osman Nami Osmanoğlu was buried in Tomb of Mahmud II, which his daughter chose as the gravesite.

TurkofAmerica • 23


OTTOMAN DYNASTY IN AMERICA / PRINCE BURHANEDDIN

The Ottoman Prınceof New York’s Hıgh Socıety

T

he eighth child and the fourth son of Sultan Abdülhamid II, Prince Mehmed Burhaneddin is also among the Ottoman Dynasty members who lived and passed away here in the United States. Born in 1885 at Yıldız Palace in İstanbul, Prince Burhaneddin was Abdülhamid II’s favorite son and was known for his intelligence. It is said that when he was barely in his twenties, his father sought to declare him the heir to the Ottoman throne, causing a great uproar among conservative factions that insisted on the traditional line of succession, his father had wanted to declare him the Veliaht (the Heir) to the Ottoman throne. He had been a colonel in the Ottoman navy, a composer, a painter, and a virtuoso pianist and violinist. He had two extremely rare pianos of which only four still exist in the world. Prince Burhaneddin had rejected offers to be crowned King of Albania in 1913 and of King of Iraq in 1921. When he was exiled along with the other members of the Ottoman Dynasty in 1924, he was 38 years old and was living in Austria. He was never to return to Turkey. Prince Burhaneddin married four times, his final marriage having been in 1933 in London with Elsie Deming Jackson, an American heiress born in New Jersey’s Newark area and educated in Europe. He moved to the USA in 1934 with his wife. Speaking German and French in addition to English, the Prince frequently hosted parties in ‘Villa Bahar’ in Bar Harbor in Maine, the state famous for its waterfront residences and mansions. The villa which was built in 1896 for Charles Jackson, the Prince’s wife Elsie’s father, was given the name Bahar (Spring) by the Prince. That villa, along with other sixty-six mansions in town, had burnt down on 24 October 1947 under suspicious circumstance. Many historic Ottoman items, including medals, photographs and valuable antiques were lost. Prince Mehmed Burhaneddin had lived a life of greater comfort than most of the other exiled members of the Ottoman Dynasty. He had lived in Manhattan’s exclusive Upper East Side neighborhood on Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue. The Prince had two sons, Prince Mehmed Fahreddin (1911-1968) and Prince Ertuğrul Osman (1912-2009). Prince Ertuğrul Osman had been born in Nisantasi Palace and was the Head of the Ottoman Dynasty until he passed away in 2009.

Prince Burhaneddin passed away at the age of 64 on May 29, 1949.

Prince Mehmed Burhaneddin was Sultan Abdülhamid II’s favorite son and was known for his intelligence, oratory, modern outlooks, and intellect.

24 • TurkofAmerica

Burhaneddin Effendi passed away at the age of 64 on May 29, 1949, at his house at 550 Park Avenue. The Prince’s funeral was held in Campbell Funeral Church. His body was brought to İstanbul from New York, but, as it was not accepted in Turkey, it was brought to Damascus and buried in the tomb of the Sultan Selim Mosque, where many other Ottoman royals who died in exile were buried.


PRINCE ABDULKERIM

The Prınce Who Was Kılled ın a New York Hotel

When the Ottoman Dynasty was sent into exile in 1924, Prince Abdülkerim was 18 years old. Who was Abdülkerim Efendi?

HIH Prince Abdülkerim Efendi (1906-1935), married at Aleppo on 24 February 1930 with HH Nimet Hanım Efendi (1911-1981), and had two sons: HIH Prince Dündar Aliosman Efendi (1930) and HIH Prince Şehzade Harun Osmanoğlu Efendi (1932).

O

n August 4, 1935, the front-page headline of newspapers throughout the United States announced that Prince Abdülkerim had committed suicide in a room in the Cadillac Hotel, located on 43rd Street and Broadway in New York.

What was he doing in New York in 1935?

The young Prince had 75 cents in his pocket, the newspapers said, and claimed that he had left a letter in Turkish to the New York’s chief of police. The police did not show the letter to the press; only later was it allegedly translated into English by an official of the Turkish Consulate in New York and presented to the media. This news also hit the front page of the New York Times. In this letter, the young Prince was said to have claimed that he had fallen ill trying to regain his dynasty and throne; he had proposed marriage to a rich woman from the Bronx, Alice De Stefano, believing that such a marriage would allow him to realize his dreams. Her rejection caused him to fall into a depression and, as a result, he could not think of any other way out except by committing suicide.

Though 80 years have passed since the Prince Abdülkerim’s death, questions about his suicide are still being raised.

plumbing store on Stebbins Avenue in the Bronx, near Ms. Kadire’s house. It is interesting that the Prince would have allegedly written a letter such as this neither to his father Prince Mehmet Selim, who was living in Beirut, nor to his cousin Prince Mehmed Orhan, who was in New York, nor to his friend Şah Mir, who had been the Consul General in New York for 20 years during the Ottoman rule, but to Sergeant Valentin of the New York Police Department. And he had written the letter in Turkish! Detective Robert Rehman from the 47th Street Precinct arranged for a “verbal” translation of this letter to Sergeant Valentine to be made at the Turkish Consulate. That is how the media got to know the content of the letter. Prince Abdülkerim had come to the hotel at around 12:30 after midnight, and allegedly sent a messenger to the Bronx at 2 a.m. to the woman he loved, to inform her that he would kill himself. At the same time, he had also told the receptionist that he wanted to be woken up at 5 in the morning. When the clerk then knocked on his door at 5 a.m. to wake him and there was no answer, the

The New York Times claimed the Prince had met Ms. De Stefano while he was staying at the house of a woman by the name of Kadire. The woman’s father had a 26 • TurkofAmerica

hotel staff had the door opened. The Prince was found on his bed in a sitting position with his feet tucked under him, and a 32-caliber bullet hole in his head.


PRINCE ABDULKERIM

In 1935, contact between Ottoman dynasty members and members of the Turkish government or consular staff was strictly forbidden. Hence, the lawyer Dudley Koster, who had worked at the Ottoman consulate prior to the foundation of the Turkish Republic, took charge of the funeral procedures. Prince Abdülkerim’s father had sent a telegraph to the lawyer requesting that they spare no expense to send the body to Beirut. It is also interesting that Koster had announced a few hours after the suicide that Prince Abdülkerim had just received a letter from the Ford Motor Company offering him the position of ‘the Shanghai and Chinese Turkistan representative.’ TURKOFAMERICA researched whether the Ford Motor Company had a copy of such letter; no such record, however, was found. Prince Abdülkerim’s funeral prayer was carried out with the attendance of few people in a church on 155 Court Street, Brooklyn, with an Islamic ceremony conducted by İmam Mandaley. The Prince’s body was then temporarily interred in Mount Olivet Cemetery until September 7th, when the body was to be sent to Beirut. However, it has never been discovered why the the Prince’s body was never sent to Beirut. Prince Abdülkerim’s grave is still in the same cemetery, next to two children without parents. WHO WAS PRINCE ABDÜL KERİM? Who was Prince Abdülkerim? What was he doing in New York in 1935? When the Ottoman Dynasty was sent into exile in 1924, the Prince was 18 years old. The only son of Prince Mehmet Selim, the eldest son of Abdülhamid II, the Prince was born in Yıldız Palace in Beşiktaş. His mother was Princess Nilüfer Eflakyar. He had first gone to Beirut with his father, and then to India to stay with the son of the Nizam of Hyderabad, who was married to his cousin. He had been to Singapore, Japan, and Shanghai. As Professor Ali Merthan Dündar, known for his research on Turkish-Japanese relations, also wrote in his book From Pan-Islamism to Great Asianism, the Prince’s relations with the Japanese had begun with the visit of Muhammed Abdülhay Kurbanali, a Turkish-Tatar leader, to Tokyo, on 28 February 1933, in the company of a person introducing himself as the secretary of the Prince to General Ogasawara. Kurbanali and this person with him wanted to get the support of Ogasawara for the uprising they were planning to start in Eastern Turkistan. Their plan was that the Sultan of the state that was to be formed after the uprising was to be Prince Abdülkerim. Another figure involved in this plan was Muhsin Çapanoğlu. Çapanoğlu had grown up in the palace with Prince Abdülkerim due to his father’s position, and had become friends with him. Having been a journalist in several countries, Çapanoğlu had developed solid relations with the Tokyo Embassy during the time he was living in Paris, and had gone to Tokyo in May 1933 in order to write about the Japan-China conflict, to visit Manchuria and gather news for the newspaper. It was a coincidence that around the same time, on 21 May 1933, Prince Abdülkerim had come to Tokyo and a delegation of 100-150 people welcomed him with the slogan of ‘long live Prince.’ Professor Dündar remarks that the person who introduced the Prince to the Japanese officials was Muhsin Çapanoğlu.

The news of Prince’s death also hit the front page of the New York Times.

Japan’s goal was to have Eastern Turkistan cleared of Chinese pressure and to set it up the formation of a new state; they wanted to give legitimacy to their plan by bringing in the Prince, a grandson of Sultan Abdulhamid who was well-respected in the Islamic world, as the head of the new state. Prince Abdülkerim had stayed in Tokyo for four months. He had visited the towns in which Turkish-Tatars were living, and gave substantial donation to the Turkish-Tatar association. He was followed closely by the Japanese newspapers. However, these developments caught the attention of China and Russia. Both the Prince and Japan faced mounting difficulties once the news of their plans in Turkistan were leaked. He had to leave Tokyo in September, 1933. He first went to Shanghai, then to the USA. Although he had claimed to be a student on his United States immigration form, he could not convince the American customs officials. As a member of the Ottoman Dynasty, the Prince, then, had added a note that he was traveling for a confidential purpose. He did not claim anything about the sales representative position at Ford for Turkistan, which his lawyer revealed after his death. Though 80 years have passed since the Prince’s death, questions about his suicide are still being raised. One of the claims put forth is that the Prince was killed by Russian or Chinese spies, with the covert support of the US government. Another claim is, as the Bülend Ossmann , Sultan Abdülhamid’s great-grandson, mentioned to Professor Dündar, that the Prince was killed by the Japanese. The mystery still continues to intrigue historians. The letter claimed that Prince Abdulkerim had left a letter in old Turkish to the New York’s chief of police.

TurkofAmerica • 27


THE GRAVE OF THE PRINCE

During the visit, along with Prince Osman Bayazıd, Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez, Nejla Chawky Hanım Sultan, Joachim (Peter) Schlangand, the husband of the late HIH Princess Iskra Sultan and his wife Gesine Schlangand– were also present.

T

he Head of the Ottoman Dynasty His Imperial Highness Bayazıd and the family members visited, in Queens, the grave of Prince Abdül Kerim, the grandson of Sultan Abdülhamid II, who died in a hotel room in New York under mysterious circumstances 80 years ago.

The grave of the

The grave of the Prince in the Queens cemetery, where he was buried 80 years ago, was found in 2006 by TRT film director Kerime Şenyücel, who was shooting a documentary about his grandson Orhan Osmanoğlu and the Dynasty members.

Ottoman Dynasty Vısıts the Grave of the Prınce Who Dıed ın New York 80 Years Ago The German television channel ZDF, which is shooting a series about the longest-lasting dynasties in the world, met with the Ottoman Dynasty members living in the USA at the penthouse of the Marmara Manhattan Hotel for the shooting. During the interview, Osman Bayezıd mentioned again that the mystery about Prince Abdül Kerim has not been solved yet. Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez and Nejla Chawky Hanım Sultan also answered ZDF’s questions. The Ottoman Dynasty stands as the only dynasty outside of Europe that is included in the documentary, which will be broadcast on the German channel.

Prince in the Queens cemetery, where he was buried 80 years ago, was found in 2006.

During the visit, along with Prince Osman Bayazıd, Mediha Nami Osmanoğlu de Martinez, the daughter of Abdülhamid II’s grandson Osman Nami Beyzade, and Nejla Chawky Hanım Sultan, the daughter of Fatma Samira Sultan – Abdülmecid I’s grandson’s Süleyman Selim Effendi’s daughter – were also present. In 1933, it was planned for Abdülhamid II’s grandson Prince Abdül Kerim to be made the head of a state that was to be created in East Turkistan with the the support of Japan; however, the uprising was suppressed by the Russian army. And so Prince Abdül Kerim left East Turkistan and settled in New York. It was officially stated that he committed suicide in his hotel room in New York but the claims of his family and some facts strengthened the suspicion that he was actually killed by either Chinese or Russian spies.

28 • TurkofAmerica

The grave of the Prince in the Queens cemetery, where he was buried 80 years ago, was found in 2006.


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30 • TurkofAmerica

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The Fresh Face of Healthy Lıvıng

“Being from Turkey represents being from a place that prides itself on incredible traditions and incredible progress and potential. My favorite place to be is at my grandparents’ home in Istanbul, eating aTurkish breakfast on the Bosporus.” Daphne Oz is a 2008 graduate of Princeton University, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

D

aphne Oz is a natural foods chef, New York Times Bestselling author, and co-host of ABC’s hit lifestyle series “The Chew,” seated alongside restaurateurs and “Iron Chef America” stars Mario Batali and Michael Symon, “Top Chef” alum Carla Hall and style expert Clinton Kelly. In 2006, she wrote her national bestseller, The Dorm Room Diet, sharing the healthy lifestyle plan she developed in college that helped her permanently shed

32 • TurkofAmerica

over 30 pounds without ever giving up the foods she loves. In April 2013, Oz released her New York Times bestseller, Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun, a cookbook. The daughter of Dr. Mehmet and Lisa Oz, Daphne Oz is a 2008 graduate of Princeton University, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and received her culinary degree from The Natural Gourmet Institute. In 2003, Oz helped found HealthCorps, a non-profit


#1 DAPHNE OZ

organization that provides nutrition, exercise and stress management education to teenagers in more than 50 schools nationwide. She and her husband, John, live in NYC. They welcomed a daughter, Philomena Bijou, in February 2014! During a taping of ABC’s The Chew on April 2015, Oz surprised the show’s live studio audience by announcing that she was pregnant with her second child. Daphne Oz answered to TURKOFAMERICA’s questions. What does your Turkish heritage mean to you? Being from Turkey represents being from a place that prides itself on incredible traditions and incredible progress and potential. My favorite thing to do - besides eating all the delicious food! - when we visit my grandparents in Istanbul every summer is to drive along the Bosporus and see all the examples of old world architecture and commerce (the Grand Bazaar, the fortress) right next to all the examples of bright new industry and modernity. It’s such a beautiful example of how Turkey has held on to its vibrant history, and yet continues to modernize and create prosperity. I love feeling like that ambition and that wisdom is part of my heritage. When were you last in Turkey? What is your favorite place in Istanbul? I sadly couldn’t travel to Turkey last summer because I had a newborn, so I missed my family trip. But I was there the summer of 2013. My favorite place to be is at my grandparents’ home in Istanbul, eating a Turkish breakfast on the Bosporus. There’s always a pile of freshly fried sigara borek that goes fast! And the perfect fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, baked eggs, and simit. And of course Turkish tea. It is my favorite way to start the day! I brought a bunch of college friends to visit Istanbul and do a mavi yolculuk several years ago, and they loved staying at the Four Seasons and going out at night in Bebek. I took them to see the Blue Mosque, to bargain at the covered bazaar and sample some of the delicacies in the spice bazaar, and to eat at Assk Cafe on the water - fresh karpuz ve beyaz peynir, the perfect afternoon snack! They loved their visit. What is your favorite Turkish dish? Do you cook Turkish food at home? We make Turkish breakfast at home a lot, and I have perfected my sigara borek recipe. I also make a lot of kofte that my husband and baby love, along with begendi, and lentil soup. But my favorite Turkish meal is coming out of the Mediterranean in the summer and eating freshly caught fish that’s been grilled with olive oil and lemon, coban salad or semiz oto with yogurt, and buttery pilaf. Could you describe your life before and after your first baby? Ha, well I slept a lot more before I had my first baby! My husband and I have loved welcoming Philomena into our lives - she is such a happy little girl, with such a funny sense of humor! And she is my favorite kind of girl: feisty, adventurous and very sweet all at once. We made a commitment to each other that having children was going to be about bring-

ing them into our lives rather than making our lives all about them. Of course, so much of our lives became about being parents and catering to what our baby needed, but we also like to bring her out to dinner with us, on weekend adventures, and to impromptu gatherings with friends. It’s about finding a way to bring all the things we love to do together. We’ll be having another baby in October, so we shall see what juggling two children under 2 years old is like! Which women do you believe have been the most influential? I really admire and respect all the examples of women I see who somehow manage to juggle living up to their commitments at work and at home while still finding time to do the things they love or need for themselves. It’s not always easy, and we are so tempted to forget ourselves when we have so many other people we are responsible for. But we can take even better care of those around us if we take good care of ourselves, and I am a big believer that happy children come from happy parents. So the more we invest in our own happiness, the more we can spread that happiness around! I also love to see women reinvent themselves - it is the most inspiring! What do you do when you’re not working? If I get a free night, my favorite thing to do is go out to dinner with my husband and baby. I fantasize about going to a cold, dark movie theatre by myself with a giant bag of popcorn and just doing nothing for two hours, but it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to do that. I also love photography, and with little kids, I want to get good at taking their pictures, so I’m finding a class to take for that. My favorite way to relax and decompress when I only have a little bit of free time is just to walk to my next appointment. Being outside, stretching my legs, and listening to good music or a podcast is such an easy way to let my brain relax. Could you describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why? I look to a wide variety of fields that have yielded people who seem to have led such rich, full lives: veterans I’ve met who know so much about sacrifice and discipline; doctors who’ve held another human’s life in their hands and helped them to survive; women who have reinvented themselves as fashion empires or branded businesses that are endlessly inspiring to me. I can’t choose just one! Could you tell me about your new book? What is it about? My most recent book, Relish, was all about finding little ways to do things a little bit better in the kitchen, in our relationships with family, friends, and spouses, in our style at home and in fashion, at work, and with our free time. It had a ton of recipes, but also a lot of the best life advice I’ve picked up and used myself to feel like I am maximizing every day. My new book that will be out in 2016 is a pure cookbook, including all the recipes I make during the week that really let me and my family feel like we’re indulging but still being healthy. And of course, they have to be fast, because I only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table most nights!

TurkofAmerica • 33


#2 EREN ÖZMEN, SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION

For Eren Ozmen, W The Sky Has No Lımıt

hile TURKOFAMERICA’s advising committee began selecting names of the most influential Turkish-American women, many of the top candidates hailed from the academic world. The reason is two-fold: Not only are Turkish-American women rare in the American business environment, top female executives are rare in the American business world in general. Females represent only a small percentage of American business leaders — in fact, only 4.8 percent of CEOs on the Fortune 500 list are women. And while just one woman led a Fortune 500 company in 1998, that number slowly rose to 15 in 2009, before declining to 12 women by 2011. In 2014, the definitive ranking of America’s biggest companies boasted some 24 female CEOs. Overall, 30 percent of all U.S. businesses are women-owned and 17 percent are co-owned 50/50 with men. This means that 47 percent of all businesses in the United States have a woman co-owner, according to the latest U.S. Census data on business ownership. Despite the statistics above, Eren Ozmen has emerged as a true role model for Turkish-American female entrepreneurs. As a teenager Eren Ozmen’s dream was to come to America to pursue her master’s degree. She arrived with limited English skills and minimal financial resources. However, she did bring with her passion, determination and entrepreneurial vision. Today, Eren is Chairwoman and President of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), which is among the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space.”

Eren Ozmen, Chairwoman and President of Sierra Nevada Corporation (Credit: SNC)

The story of Eren Ozmen is a remarkable one of a teenager who took her dreams, passion and determination first to the United States, then around the world, and then to space with SNC’s Dream Chaser®.

34 • TurkofAmerica

Eren joined SNC in 1988, shortly after receiving her MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno. At the time, SNC was a small company with a handful of employees and immense financial challenges. However, she had the confidence to overcome these obstacles and become a true leader at a very young age. That confidence and leadership turned SNC into one of America’s fastest-growing, privately-owned, billion-dollar companies, and the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. Eren also does not operate in your typical corporate environment. This dynamic woman with a head for business and finance teamed up with her husband Fatih to purchase SNC in 1994. The Ozmens began transforming SNC from a small local company into a global, high-tech aviation and aerospace corporation.


#2 EREN ÖZMEN, SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION

As part of their plan, SNC completed 19 successful, targeted acquisitions of high-tech companies. This approach led to the expansion of SNC’s presence from 20 employees in one office to thousands of personnel in 33 locations across the U.S., in business divisions in England, Germany and Turkey and at customer sites around the globe. Eren was at the helm, as President and Chief Financial Officer, with Fatih as Chief Executive Officer. Multidimensional and extremely focused, Eren Ozmen is actively involved in all key aspects of SNC’s business management. Her oversight and management of SNC’s operations has resulted in SNC being recognized as the second “Fastest-Growing Woman-Owned Company in North America” and Eren emerging not only as an example for Turkish-American businesswomen, but for women as a whole. SOARING HIGH ABOVE AND BEYOND THE GLOBE In April 2014, TURKOFAMERICA shared the Ozmen’s inspirational story of SNC’s Dream Chaser®. This lifting-body spacecraft can land on commercial runways anywhere in the world, and uses all non-toxic fuels. The vehicle will transport crew and cargo to and from low-Earth orbit, including to the International Space Station. SNC is advancing the commercial applications for Dream Chaser, as it is currently developing the Dream Chaser Cargo System as SNC’s solution for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract. Yet, the Ozmens continue to push the limits with their newest major focus, Turkey’s Regional Aircraft Project (Project). Under the Project, SNC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, TRJet Havacilik Teknolojileri Anonim Şirketi (TRJet™), working together with Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.S. (STM), in support of the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs & Communications, will produce the country’s first indigenous passenger aircraft. TRJet™ combines the legacy of two esteemed aviation companies, SNC and 328 Support Services GmbH, to create an aviation and aerospace company that merges modern-edge German aircraft engineering and the latest industry modification standards. TRJet™ and the Turkish government will capitalize on this technology and on Dornier’s legacy of innovation through the existing intellectual property and assets of the D328 aircraft acquired by SNC, to open a new chapter for the Turkish and global aviation and aerospace industry. As part of the process, they will utilize a modernized version of the D328, theTRJ328™, as a stepping-stone toward production of the Republic of Turkey’s first domestically designed regional passenger jet, the TRJ628™. SNC has been immersed in the aviation industry for over a half -century and the Ozmens have had business interests in Turkey for many years. Establishing TRJet™, a Turkish corporation, as a powerful partner to both STM, as well as the commercial aviation sector, was a logical step in the Ozmen’s plans. Not only is the jet a passenger aircraft, but with modification can also be used for other purposes such as air ambulance, cargo aircraft, VIP, military training aircraft and maritime air patrol.

The new TRJ628™ and TRJ328™ to be built in Turkey. (Credit: 328SSG)

TRJet will be based in Ankara, Turkey, and will employ Turkish workers and utilize local subcontractors and vendors. These unique aircraft fill a niche market for direct and frequent flights between small cities in Turkey that is currently not feasible using larger airplanes. The aircraft will serve regional and international demands as well. A PORTRAIT OF SUCCES In addition to her role as an influential businesswoman, Eren places a priority on promoting family-friendly policies in the corporate culture of SNC — including establishing an on-site daycare in 1991 for employees to use. Her strong employee benefits program and influence on maintaining a healthy work-life balance has also led SNC to receiving numerous employee initiated awards throughout the country including “Best Place to Work” in Nevada, Colorado and Florida. Under the Ozmens’ leadership, SNC continues to be an innovative leader and maintains itself at the forefront of the electronics, communications, aerospace and aviation industry. This progressive approach not only led to the company’s dramatic success, but also to major recognition, including: • “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space” Fast Company (2014) • U.S. Top 10 Nation’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies, “Revenue Growth for $Billion” - Inc. (2011) • Top 20 “America’s Richest Self-Made Women” – Forbes (2015) • “Tier 1 Superior Supplier” for U.S. Air Force (2015) • “Aerospace Company of the Year” (2014) • Top Woman-Owned U.S. Government Contractor (2010 & 2012) • “Fastest Growing Women-Owned Company in North America” (2011) • “Aviation Entrepreneurs of the Year” (2012) • Inducted as “Living Legends of Aviation” (2013) • Top 10 “Most Influential Turkish Americans” - TurkofAmerica (2014) • “Top Woman-Owned Firms” for innovative information technology solutions - GCN (2005 & 2006) • “Women Role Model of the Year” (2002) • “Distinguished Business of the Year” (2001)

TurkofAmerica • 35


#3 AYŞEGÜL İLDENİZ, INTEL

Desıgnıng The Wearable Technologıes of The Future

mobile day by day, technology has also begun to evolve much faster in recent years. Especially with the jump in technological advancements within the past ten years, we have witnessed that many things we had previously thought of as science fictions have entered and eased our lives. This momentum of technology is not slowing down. On the contrary, it is gaining more speed each day and providing us with brand new horizons. And, at Intel, by improving not only computers but also all other devices, we have also renewed our vision of aiming to make people’s lives around the whole world better in the coming years with the power brought forth by information technologies. We want to spread our success with computers over to all smart devices and provide consumers from all segments with devices that they would have the best experience with. To do this, we are continuing our work on silicon and processors by doing what we always do, and we will keep doing it. In addition, we have established a new department, called ‘New Devices’, in order to advance and integrate into our lives the new generation technologies that touch

Ayşegül İldeniz, Vice President and General Manager for Business Development and Strategy, New Devices Group at Intel Corporation.

the futures of seven billion people living in the world today, and we have picked up the pace of our work to produce new devices in pursuance of our dreams. Looking at your deals made with firms, it stands out

I

that you give importance not only to technology but t is expected that the volume of the wearable technol-

also to aesthetics. Will your advancements in this

ogies market will reach 45 billion dollars and there

field always remain like this? Do you think of putting

will be a total of 300 million items on the market by

out your products to the markets by establishing

2017. Ayşegül İldeniz, Vice President and General Man-

your own sales channels like Google Glass or Apple

ager for Business Development and Strategy, New De-

Watch?

vices Group at Intel Corporation, says, “The develop-

As you know, many companies are working on wear-

ments and the works show that wearable technologies

able technologies. However, these early examples

will be everywhere within the next two or three years.”

are products that are mostly for meeting technologi-

“The developments

Intel’s partnership with the famous watches and ac-

cal needs. Of course, in time, we will see much more

and the works

cessories brand Fossil and one of the biggest produc-

advanced examples and wearable technologies will

ers of glasses in the world, Oakley, has been started,

become an essential part of our lives. At Intel, we be-

show that wearable

and its contract with TAG Heuer to put the Swiss smart

lieve that in order for these technologies to become

technologies will be

watch onto the market with the partnership of Google

widespread, aside from the technological needs, they

has been signed. Ayşegül İldeniz, who is directing the

need to appeal to people’s feelings and styles. And so,

future of wearable devices at Intel, spoke to TURKO-

we think that fashion is ‘indispensible.’ For consumers

FAMERICA.

to carry these devices with them, it is not enough that

everywhere within the next two or three years.”

36 • TurkofAmerica

they only serve technological needs. Because none of We know Intel as a firm producing chips; however,

us have things on just to have them on. Things we carry

now customers encounter it more often in the area

or have on are also things that identify us, enable us to

of wearable technologies. This is an experience that

express ourselves, and reflect our styles. In this regard,

Intel has not had before. Is it possible that in the fu-

the meeting of technology and fashion at the same

ture we’ll see Intel stores similar to those of Apple,

point is very significant. Because the smart devices we

Microsoft, Samsung,etc.?

would have on should also be elegant, comfortable

Life is getting faster each day and people are becoming

and appealing to the eye. For this reason, our partner-

more mobile. And, parallel to the fast life conditions

ships with Opening Ceremony and Barney’s New York

and expectations of people who have become more

are very important for us. We believe that this initiative


#3 AYŞEGÜL İLDENİZ, INTEL

will be a good example of the meeting of technology and fashion. The

Some people think there is now a generation whose personal relations

smart and elegant bracelet MICA, which has brought a fresh impetus to

are weakening and who is growing up in an asocial way by using these

wearable technologies, enables short messages, meeting reminders and

modern technological opportunities; do you worry that wearing tech-

general notifications to reach women’s wrists directly. Additionally, the

nological devices would actually further speed up this situation?

smart bracelet Basis provides a way for people to stay fit, sleep better,

This is one of the questions I get the most when I talk about smart de-

and control stress by counting their steps and monitoring their heart

vices. We have experienced very significant jumps in technology, espe-

rate, sweat level, body temperature, and sleep routine and by collecting

cially within the past ten years. And wearable technologies will be anoth-

these data and evaluating them with mobile and online interface servic-

er turning point that would change our ways of life. I don’t believe that

es. SMS Audio, the world’s first personal sound system that measures

these technologies would make people asocial. I think that they create

heart rate, is also among the wearable technologies that gets attention.

a brand new communication method and a communication culture belonging to them. Smart products and wearable technologies will make

Furthermore, our partnerships with the famous watches and accessories

many things in users’ lives easier and will raise our standards of living.

brand Fossil and one of the world’s biggest glasses producers Oakley, along with our deal with TAG Heauer, which we made in partnership with

Could you give us some insight about how big of a volume the weara-

Google in order to put out on the market a Swiss smart watch, are results

ble technologies market might reach in the coming years?

of our strategy to link technology with fashion. We will continue our work

It is expected that the volume of the wearable technologies market will

of making wearable technologies a part of people’s daily lives and their

reach 45 billion dollars and there will be a total of 300 million products in

styles.

this market by the year 2017. Because people are becoming more mobile each day and life is getting faster for all of us. The advancements and the

You have mentioned that you made deals with brands such as Oakley,

work show us that wearable devices will be everywhere within the next

Tag Heuer, and Fossil. What are the things you give importance to

two or three years.

when you are selecting the brands? When will we be able to see the new products on the market?

When you first started working at Intel, what view did you hold about

Objects we carry on us also identify us, enable us to express ourselves,

the process of technology? When you look back today, what kind of a

and reflect our styles. For this reason, the devices need to be such prod-

difference do you see between the projects you first worked on and

ucts that meet the demands of not only technological needs but also

the ones you do today?

aesthetic expectations, and, also, that are elegant, comfortable, and ap-

Technology is advancing at an amazing pace. When you work at a com-

pealing to the eye. I can say that the products on which we signed deals

pany like Intel that leads this change, you grasp the greatness of this

are also products that would be prominent in this regard. By working

change and the power of technology in a better way. During the 1960’s,

with brands such as Oakley, Tag Heuer and Fossil, which get great inter-

computers were as big as a room. The Centrino technology that Intel de-

est in their lines and actually steer fashion, we will link wearable technol-

veloped in the early 2000’s turned computers into mobile devices. Smart

ogies, which will be an essential part of our lives in the future, with style.

phones have placed computers into our pockets. As the last stage of the

I work in a technology firm but my days go by talking with designers from

computers’ getting small and entering into our lives, one of the trends

different fields and company directors from different sectors about style,

that will mark the coming years will be wearable devices. Wearable de-

design, and fashion, and by discussing how the devices we will put forth

vices are an important revolutionary point that has started a new stage

could be made more elegant and preferrable, in addition to their func-

in the world of technology. At Intel, we are again leading this revolution

tionality.

that will change and improve the lives of the users in a significant way in this world that gets faster each day.

Are any famous brands producing textiles on your radar for wearable devices?

On the other hand, when we look at the technology trends in the world,

Advancement of wearable technologies is a big opportunity also for the

we see that the concept of the ‘Internet of Things’ has begun to impact

fashion sector. Currently, we are talking about smart watches, smart

our lives in many ways. Today, there are nearly eight billion objects that

glasses, smart bracelets, smart snap suits. In the very near future, there

are connected to the internet in the world. This means that the number

will be materials and accessories that would be both smart and valuable

of smart phones has exceeded the number of people in the world. It is

for our health: they would read our body signs and change shape and

estimated that there will be 50 billion smart and inter-connected devices

temperature according to our emotional and physical state, and forward

in the world by the year 2020. And by 2025, the ‘Internet of Things’ will

messages about our health condition to certain channels immediately.

have a turnover of 6.2 trillion dollars. We are running into a world where

Partnerships established with textile producers, fashion giants, and de-

things ranging from ACs to TVs will be connected and in communication

signers will open the way for this market’s growth and product variety.

with things you wear, such as glasses or watches. It would not be wrong

In the years ahead, we expect that all partnerships will continue by in-

to say that Intel, again, leads the market of the ‘Internet of Things’ with

creasing in volume and that many different industries will start work-

the technologies it develops. And I watch these developments with great

ing together because of wearable technologies and that this will make

interest, and as the Vice President of New Devices at Intel, I feel a further

a great impact.

excitement for having the chance to direct these developments.

TurkofAmerica • 37


#4 SEVAL ÖZ, CONTINENTAL INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS

Seval Öz was formerly head of business development for the Google [X] self driving car program, and last year she transferred to Continental AG, one of the world’s largest automotive systems company.

A Woman Who Leads the Future of Transportatıon “

My daughter is 12 years old and probably she will not need a driver’s license by the time she needs to have it,” says Seval Öz, CEO of Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, LLC. So what will be happening in 4-5 years and why we will not need a driver’s license? Öz and her team have worked for this dream to come true. Seval Öz was formerly head of business de-

38 • TurkofAmerica

velopment for the Google [X] self driving car program, and last year she transferred to Continental AG, one of the world’s largest automotive systems company. The company opened a branch in Silicon Valley and Öz has been leading a new Silicon Valley-based operation aimed at intelligent transportation efforts to create the car of the future since August 2014.


#4 SEVAL ÖZ, CONTINENTAL INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS

Even back in 1958, the car of the future was a dream. Ford ran an advertisement with a photo of a couple playing scrabble while their car drove itself. The project was unsuccessful because there was not enough government support nor the infrastructure needed for the cable system on which the car would drive itself. Men from Earth walked on the moon and returned safely home in 1969. Why are people still driving essentially the same car system and design as those manufactured in 1908? Öz answers with confidence: “If the computer had been invented before the car, the computer would have long ago been driving our cars by now. We can think of it the same as an autopilot system for planes. After that invention, crashes due to human pilot errors were dramatically reduced. Without a computer system, it was impossible to invent the auto-pilot.” She describes herself as a troublemaker on her team. “I am impatient and always challenge people to ask why we can not introduce the technology in the marketplace. Whatever she does, she always thinks outside the box—she prefers circles and straight lines Probably Americans will have self-driving cars, but how safe are the current software models and how many miles does a car need to be driven to satisfy safety requirements is still part of ongoing public discussion. “ We always think about how we can change our system not depending upon infrastructure or other technologies to come.” says Öz. The current roads also have not used been used efficiently. During peak thruput on US highways, we only use approximately 8 percent of the road. The future’s cars will have vehicle-to-vehicle communication; vehicle to infrastructure communication will be possible and the vehicle will be the central hub for the Internet of Everything. With this consistent data flow in, around and beyond the car we are transforming the connected vehicles into clever vehicles. “One big motivation for self-driving, connected cars is to help people who can’t drive for themselves, or who can no longer drive safely,” Öz said. Every year, more than 30,000 Americans are killed in cars, and traffic crashes cost society at least $300 billion a year, according to a study by the AAA. Most accidents are caused by human error that could, in theory, be mitigated or avoided by predictive algorithms and intelligent computer systems in the car. Seval Öz, the sister of world-renowned cardiologist and TV host Mehmet Öz. She visits Turkey every summer when the extended family gets together for a blue voyage in Southern Turkey. ‘’I’d love spend more time in Turkey but there is never enough time for it,” she says. She is on the Advisory Board of HealthCorps®, a national health education program for high schools founded by her family and Endeavor.Org, a global high-impact entrepreneurship organization based in NYC. She is also a steering member of the New York City Public Library.

Seval accepted the PWI Women in Technology Award for Courage in San Francisco in 2014.

Seval accepted the PWI Women in Technology Award for Courage in San Francisco in 2014. Seval Öz received her MBA from Wharton Business School, graduating with Distinction, and her BA, cum laude, from Wellesley/M.I.T

TurkofAmerica • 39


#5 BAĞLAN NURHAN RHYMES, ANCHORFREE

T

he Virtual Private Network (VPN), which has gained attention when the social media sites got banned,

is being used by millions of people in the world today. Today, around 600 million people are still facing internet bans. One of the sub-branches of the Mountain View, CA-centered VPN company is AnchorFree. Along with the founders of the company, which is also the owner of the HotSpotShield product, David Gorodyansky and Eugene Malobrodsky, a Turkish women entrepreneur, Bağlan Nurhan Rhymes, is the major shareholder. AnchorFree, which was established in November 2005, received a series C investment in the amount of 6 million dollars in 2006, 4.8 in 2008 and 52 million from Goldman Sachs recently. Around 20 million people in the world, with 2 million of them in Turkey, use the technology of this firm, which has 70 employees. Rhymes, who is a graduate of the Dokuz Eylül University Economoics Department and Carnegie Mellon University, states that the market value of their company is 1 billion dollars and since they offer free download options, they have an advantage compared to other firms. Currently, there are about 12 firms offering tunnel technology for desktops and 15 for mobiles. Pointing out that they sometimes face difficulties with governments and FBI, who desire to have access to the users’ information, Rhymes says they never keep any personal information in their databases, so, they do not have to share anything. She adds, “We spend more money in order not to keep any user information on our server. Although it is normally less costly to keep such information, we spend this extra money to show our customers that we value their security.” Having served as the vice president of the marketing firm LSF Interactive and structured its marketing department prior to her experience at AnchorFree, Bağlan Nurhan Rhymes

The Tunnel Technology’s Angel AnchorFree, which was established in November 2005, received a series C investment in the amount of 6 million

Rhymes says that they are preferred not only by those who want to access banned sites but also by those who cannot access other countries’ broadcasts due to political issues. For example, those who can’t watch the British BBC channel in Ireland use the AnchorFree service. Their service is not solely used in countries where social media is banned. Users prefer this service also when they don’t want their location to be known.

dollars in 2006, 4.8 in 2008 and 52 million from

In the company that has 70 employees. In addition to

Goldman Sachs recently.

Rhymes, there is another Turk, Levent Sapçı, who is the

40 • TurkofAmerica

head of the marketing department.


#6 DR. SERPİL AYASLI

The Cultural Ambassador for Turkey ın Amerıca After her work at MIT as post-doctoral fellow in astrophysics from 1979 to 1982, Dr. Serpil Ayaslı Dr. Serpil Ayaslı served as a member of the IEEE Radar System Panel.

worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory from 1982 until 2006.

D

r. Serpil Ayaslı, former Associate Group Leader at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, received the 2008 Warren D. White Award for Excellence in Radar Engineering for her contributions to ultra-wideband radar for ground and foliage penetration. This award, granted by the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society (AESS), was established “to recognize a radar engineer for outstanding achievements due to a major technical advance, or a series of advances over time, in the art of radar engineering.” After her work at MIT as post-doctoral fellow in astrophysics from 1979 to 1982, Dr. Ayaslı worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory from 1982 until 2006. Her work at the Laboratory focused on air defense and surface surveillance radar research and development, including foliage penetration (FOPEN) and ground penetration (GPEN) radar. Dr. Ayaslı and her team’s work at Lincoln Laboratory led to the first successful experimental proof of the feasibility of an advanced coherent FOPEN radar system that would enable de-

42 • TurkofAmerica

tection and tracking of targets in foliage. Recognizing the importance of keeping the scientific and user communities informed on the development of surface surveillance and FOPEN/GPEN technologies, she instituted a workshop dedicated to those technologies that was held annually at Lincoln Laboratory from 2001 to 2005. Dr. Ayaslı served as a member of the IEEE Radar System Panel. She was a co-recipient of the IEEE/AESS 1996 M. Barry Carlton Award and was named an IEEE Fellow in 2002. She holds a BS degree in electrical engineering and MS and PhD degrees in physics from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Married to Dr. Yalçın Ayaslı, she has three children, Ceylan, Orhan, Bahar. Dr. Ayaslı is co-founding trustee of Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF). Since 2006, her efforts focused on TCF, Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), ARMAGGAN - Unique by Design, and NAR Gourmet.


#7 ESRA ÖZER, PRESIDENT OF ALCOA FOUNDATION

The Presıdent of One of the Largest Corporate Foundatıons A

luminum maker Alcoa and its charitable Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $550 million. Focusing on environment and education, Alcoa Foundation is building innovative partnerships, engaging its people to improve the environment and educating tomorrow’s leaders. The foundation’s President is a Turkish professional: Esra Özer. Over the span of her career, Özer has held numerous communications and foundation positions. Most recently, she was Assistant Secretary and Director, Ethics and Compliance Communications and Training. As Assistant Secretary, she was responsible for managing support to the Alcoa Board of Directors and the activities of the board and its committees. Previously, Özer was Director of Executive Communications, responsible for driving the communications activities of Alcoa’s Chairman and CEO, including speechwriting, thought leadership, stakeholder relationships and briefings, and executive communications.

rector of Communications for its non-profit Foundation, and launched its renowned national scholarship program - the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology – which is a pillar of Siemens’ reputation in the U.S.

Prior to joining Alcoa in 2008, Özer was Senior Director of External Relations at Siemens Corporation, where she led U.S. media relations and issues management. She was instrumental in developing and leading programs that enabled the $20 billion U.S. subsidiary to build a stronger brand and reputation in the U.S. During her decade-long tenure at Siemens, Özer had diverse communications responsibilities, including managing programs to develop high potential Siemens U.S. employees; and internal and executive communications. She served as project manager in the design and launch of an $11 million Disney sponsorship that became Siemens’ largest integrated marketing initiative, which showcased the Company’s technologies. Özer began her Siemens career as Di-

Özer is a graduate of the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and a sponsor of educational scholarships for students of Public Relations at the Newhouse School. She was named to the 2013-2014 class of David Rockefeller Fellows, a civic engagement program of the Partnership for New York City. She is the senior advisor to the Citymealson-Wheels Young Professionals Committee (New York City), and is the former Chair of the Associate Board of City Year New York. She was a Young Leader of the American Council on Germany (2007) and is Young Leader of the American Turkish Society. Özer also serves on the Global Steering Committee of the Alcoa Women’s Network, and on Alcoa’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Esra Özer, President of Alcoa Foundation.

Esra Özer is President of Alcoa Foundation, one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S. Alcoa Foundation plays a significant role in strengthening education and sustainability in Alcoa communities worldwide, investing more than $590 million since 1952. TurkofAmerica • 43


#8 EVREN DOĞAN KOPELMAN, RALPH LAUREN

Ralph Lauren’s Investors Lısten To Her T

he Ralph Lauren Corporation is an American, publicly traded holding company headquartered in New York City. Through its subsidiaries, it designs, markets and sells men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, accessories, fragrances and home furnishings to customers worldwide. The company’s 2014 revenue was $7.4 billion dollars. Its shares are held by 422 institutions. Evren Doğan Kopelman, the Corporate Vice President of Investor Relations at Ralph Lauren, informs investors about the fashion giant and writes analysis reports. Kopelman is the top ranked retail analyst, according to the Wall Street Journal. She graduated from Robert College and she studied Industrial Engineering at Stanford University. While she was in the university, she did not intend to have a career in finance but after graduating from the prestigious school, she started to work for Robertson Stephens as an analyst and covered specialty retail stocks from 1998 to 2002. After leaving the company, she received an MBA in finance from another very prestigious institution, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Evren Doğan Kopelman, the Corporate Vice President of Investor Relations at Ralph Lauren

“Good morning, and thank you for joining us on Ralph Lauren’s Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2015 Conference Call. The agenda for this morning’s call includes an overview of the year…” Ralph Lauren’s earning call starts with these words from Evren Doğan Kopelman every three months. 44 • TurkofAmerica

When she graduated, she was very close to the world’s finance capital, New York, and found a position at JP Morgan as a senior equity research analyst covering specialty retail and apparel. In 2009, she transferred to another corporate American bank, Wells Fargo Securities. She was a senior equity research analyst covering specialty retail and apparel between the dates of November 2009 to March 2015 at Wells Fargo. Her suggestions for investors about the apparel-retailing sector made her renowned. Retailers were plagued throughout 2010 by continuing consumer cautiousness and the threat of skyrocketing raw-materials prices. But Kopelman earned the No. 1 spot in the broad line and apparel-retailing sector by taking a long-term approach. Kopelman has worked for Ralph Lauren since April 2015. The daughter of a dentist mother and custom broker father, she is married and has two children.


#9 MESUDE CINGILLI, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF MINNEAPOLIS

Cıngıllı Coordınates the Federal Reserve Bank of Mınneapolıs’s Annual Budget impact of $100 million. She developed and maintained merchant and cross-functional relationships, ensuring senior management and merchandising needs were solicited, prioritized and completed. Cıngıllı started as a senior analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in January 2002. She coordinated the System Re-pricing and Annual Bank Evaluation processes with all Reserve Bank Priced Services, Product Offices and the Board of Governors. She performed feasibility analyses and evaluated the

Mesude Cıngıllı is Assistant Vice President of the Financial Management Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Graduating with an MBA degree from the University of Minnesota in 1997, Cıngıllı has been working for the bank since 2002.

Mesude Cıngıllı is Assistant VP of the Financial Management Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

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here are 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, which serve as the operating arms of the system. The Minneapolis Fed, with one branch in Helena, Montana, serves the six states of the Ninth Federal Reserve District: Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, 26 counties in northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Mesude Cıngıllı is Assistant Vice President of the Financial Management Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Graduating with an MBA degree from the University of Minnesota in 1997, Cıngıllı has been working for the bank since 2002. She was a Treasury Analyst between 1988 and 1994 in the Development Bank of Turkey. She helped establish and open the first branch of YatirimBank in Ankara, then she moved to the United States and worked for two years as a commercial lender for US Bancorp in Minneapolis. She managed a commercial credit portfolio of $150 million. She transferred to Target Corporation as a project manager and she worked for Target from 1999 to 2002. Cıngıllı managed a company-wide Merchandise-Store Sales Match (ABC-HML) strategy with a gross margin

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cost-effectiveness of competitive products, services and vendors and presented recommendation. In May 2005, she was promoted to Finance Manager – Financial Management Group. In this department, she planned and executed the bank’s budget and forecast processes ensuring deadlines were met and targets were achieved and led a Federal Reserve System Project to develop a new Project Cost Assessment Model, which was approved by the CIO and CFO in June 2010 to be the new standard for analyzing projects. She became Assistant Vice President of the Financial Management Group in November 2011. She develops, coordinates and supports the Bank’s annual budget and monthly forecasting processes, ensuring that the processes and deliverables meet system and bank management expectations and requirements and that the processes are timely and efficient. Cıngıllı works with senior management and business lines to develop the bank’s strategic plan and high priority objectives. She also conducts periodic overviews of functions and applies Lean Sigma/Six Sigma methodology to continuously improve processes. She supports the Bank President, FVP and Management Committee’s analytical and project needs and also prepares and presents financial reports to the bank’s Budget, Evaluation, and Risk Committee. Rüşdü Saracoğlu, the son of Şükrü Saracoğlu, the former Prime Minister of Turkey, also had worked for Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in 1970’s. Cıngıllı says she plans to use her experiences after retirement in Turkey in the near future. Cıngıllı is married to Faruk Cıngıllı and has a son, Mehmet Sinan.


# 10 SUMRU BELGER KRODY, THE TEXTILE MUSEUM

The Master of Textıles

Sumru Belger Krody, senior curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collections at The Textile Museum. (Photo by AP Photo/Brett Zongker)

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ew people know more about late antique, Middle Eastern, and Islamic textiles than Sumru Belger Krody, senior curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collections. Krody is Senior Curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collections at The Textile Museum and the Managing Editor of The Textile Museum Journal.

broidery (2000). She is also the contributing author to The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpet. Ms Krody has presented many lectures in public and scholarly forums and written many articles on textile arts, especially on Ottoman and Greek Island embroidery traditions, Central Asian ikats, and Oriental carpets.

She has curated many Textile Museum exhibitions, including most recently Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (2010) and Ahead of His Time: The Collecting Vision of George Hewitt Myers (2007). Currently she is working with The Textile Museum’s Research Associate and noted art historian Prof. Walter B. Denny of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst towards an Ottoman textile arts exhibition titled The Sultan’s Garden: the Blossoming of Ottoman Art which will open in September 2012.

Born in Izmir, Turkey, Krody earned a B.A. from Istanbul University and an M.A. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. While textiles are her specialty, Krody also enjoys sewing and working on arts and crafts projects with her daughter.

She is the author of three books written to accompany her exhibitions: Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (2010), Harpies, Mermaids, and Tulips: Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region (2006) and Flowers of Silk and Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Em-

Sumru Belger Krody, senior curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collections, recently celebrated her twenty-year anniversary as part of The Textile Museum’s staff.

(Photo by AP Photo/Brett Zongker)

TurkofAmerica • 47


#11 HUMA GRUAZ, ALPAYTAC

named “Europe’s Best Airline” for the third year, chose Alpaytac as its exclusive agency of record – the first time ever that the multi-national carrier selected a Turkish-American-owned PR firm. That collaboration lasted three years and earned Alpaytac six industry awards including the 2013 Bulldog Media Relations Bronze Level Award for Excellence in Media and Publicity Campaigns, 2013 Honoree for Best Branding Campaign for PR News Platinum PR Awards, Agency A-List Awards and Honorable Mention 2013 Best Branding Campaign and Best Product Launch – PR Daily Awards. In 2014, Alpaytac added the Turkish Government to its client roster, for which it assists the Washington, D.C. embassy and consulates throughout the United States with media relations and public affairs strategic counsel. Alpaytac’s Washington D.C. office boasts seasoned public affairs and international relations experts that bring a fresh, innovative approach to the professional communications industry. Alpaytac is the lead U.S. agency of ECCO, one of the largest international comHuma Alpaytac is the founder, president and CEO of Alpaytac.

The Top Woman ın Publıc Relatıons Under Huma Gruaz leadership, in the span of just 11 years Alpaytac has garnered an impressive array of industry honors, including the PR News Small Agency of the Year Honoree

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uma Gruaz is an internationally recognized leading public relations and marketing executive. As an innovative communications expert and an accomplished artist, Gruaz exhibits a professional passion for both spoken words and illustrated arts. Born in Istanbul, and educated in Europe and America, Gruaz defies modern conventions. She is a talented painter who is fluent in English, Turkish, French and Dutch, and is the founder, president and CEO of Alpaytac, an award winning nationally recognized public relations and marketing communications firm based Chicago with offices in major cities across the United States.

recognition for three consecutive years. Most recently, Gruaz was recognized as one of PR News’ Top Women in PR in 2014. 48 • TurkofAmerica

Today, Alpaytac boasts a remarkable client portfolio, beginning with its founding client Euro-Pro, manufacturer of the must-have housewares Shark and Ninja brand products. Eleven years later, Euro-Pro continues to rely on Alpaytac for its integral public relations and digital media counsel. In 2012, Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing international carriers and recently

munications networks in the world. With this alliance, Alpaytac is able to provide services in more than 40 countries. Gruaz is also a board member of the Turkish Philanthropy Fund and donates her time and resources to building bridges between Turkish and American interests. What may at first seem like a divided existence—painter versus CEO—is in fact part of a dynamic, ever-evolving continuum that has defined Gruaz’s life since childhood. She began painting when she was just two years old, and her work draws from an extraordinarily deep reservoir of experience spanning three continents and several decades—from her teenage years spent as a competitive swimmer for the Turkish National Team, to artistic apprenticeships in Paris and the Netherlands, to her arrival in America, to the struggles of a self-made woman seeking to define herself in a cutthroat corporate business culture. Gruaz graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bryn Mawr College with a double major in Economics and Fine Arts, and earned both an Executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a MFA from the Willem De Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In 2012, Gruaz received PR Daily’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, which honored both Alpaytac’s success and her own extraordinary professional and personal journey.


#12 SARA BENGUR, SARA BENGUR INTERIORS

An Amazıng Colorıst S

ara Bengur Interiors enjoys a reputation for creating sophisticated yet warm spaces that unabashedly mix color, pattern and texture, all a reflection of the multi-cultural, well-traveled background of its founder, Sara Bengur. She comes by her particular brand of contemporary exoticism naturally: the daughter of a Turkish economist with the International Monetary Fund, she spent her formative years in Washington, DC; Istanbul, Turkey; and Maine. Bengur developed her design aesthetic early. Growing up in Turkey, her family’s idea of a vacation was museum hopping. Her father would constantly challenge her to discussions about the artwork’s composition and color, and how they were similar or different to other things she had seen. Also of influence was Turkey’s easy mix of east and west, and an exuberant decorating style that would often combine European furniture, oriental rugs and incredibly rich Turkish fabrics into one setting. All of which play into the work she does at Sara Bengur Interiors (founded in 1993), where projects have included residential and retail interiors all over the country, from New York, the Hamptons and Connecticut to Montana and Maine, as well as homes in the French West Indies. “Our philosophy,” says Bengur, “starts with understanding our clients’ needs so that we can create a comfortable and elegant interior that reflects their personality and lifestyle in every aspect of the interior.” Bengur and her associates select and craft each detail of every interior specifically for its future occupants. The result is spaces of visual depth, complexity, and personality but also great ease, comfort, and accessibility. In 2013, Sara launched Sara Bengur Shop, her sophisticated new namesake collection of globally inspired home furnishings. A sun-kissed tonal palette that is

In 2013, Sara launched Sara Bengur Shop, her sophisticated new namesake collection of globally inspired home furnishings.

both bright and earthily warm and a clean-lined design aesthetic unite the sharply focused collection of tableware, textiles, rugs and more. Taking inspiration from old Turkish motifs and contemporary artists, the array of sophisticated yet playful designs reinvents exoticism in a lyrical way that makes the items suitable for both contemporary and traditional settings. The mix of serenely organic and geometric shapes playfully nods to favorite artists Sonia Delaunay and Francesco Clemente, while the stencil design of one of the fabrics was inspired by an ancient Ottoman coin.

Sara’s work and designs have been featured in an array of magazines and popular blogs, including Elle Décor, House Beautiful, New York Magazine, The New York Times, StyleBeat,

Sara’s work and designs have been featured in an array of magazines and popular blogs, including Elle Décor, House Beautiful, New York Magazine, The New York Times, StyleBeat, Architectural Digest, and The Ritz-Carlton Magazine.

Architectural Digest, and The Ritz-Carlton Magazine. TurkofAmerica • 49


#13 BANU ONARAL, PROFESSOR OF BIOMEDICAL

Followıng In Her Grandfather’s Footsteps

and development projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), DARPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and the US Marines. She supervised a large number of graduate students to degree completion and has an extensive publication record in biomedical signals and systems. She founded several laboratories throughout her career: the most recent is the CONQUER (Cognitive Neuroengineering and Quantitative Experimental Research) CollabOrative established in Fall 2008 as an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional and international resource dedicated to the study of brain activation, development and deployment of optical brain imaging technologies in human performance, healthcare, mental health and learning with research and development partners in the US and overseas, including China, Israel, Spain and Turkey.

Dr. Banu Onaral is the recipient of a number of faculty excellence awards

B Onaral has led major research and development projects sponsored by the NSF, the NIH, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), DARPA, the DHS, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and the US Marines.

anu Onaral, granddaughter of Nuri Demirağ, who was an early Turkish industrialist (in 1936 he established an aircraft factory employing 500 people in İstanbul), is H. H. Sun Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. She received her BS and MS in electrical engineering from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 1973 and 1974 respectively and earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Dr. Onaral joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering and Science Institute at Drexel University in 1981. Starting in 1995, she led the strategic planning to transform the Biomedical Engineering and Science Institute into a university-level interdisciplinary school. She served as the Founding Director of the School of Biomedical Engineering Science and Health Systems since its foundation in 1997 to 2014. She currently serves as Senior Presidential Advisor for ‘Global Innovation Partnerships’ at Drexel University. Her academic focus both in research and teaching is centered on information engineering with special emphasis on complex systems, biomedical signal processing in ultrasound and optics and functional optical brain imaging. She has led major research

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She is the recipient of a number of faculty excellence awards including the 1990 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award of Drexel University, the EDUCOM Best educational Software award and the NSF Faculty Achievement Award. She is a Fellow of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She served on the inaugural Board of the AIMBE as publications chair and as Chair of the Academic Council. Dr. Onaral’s professional services include chair and membership on advisory boards and strategic planning bodies of several universities and funding agencies, including service on the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Advisory Board, and on the proposal review panels and study sections. Her professional responsibilities have included service on the Editorial Board of journals and the CRC Biomedical Engineering Handbook as Section Editor for Biomedical Signal Analysis. She served as President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), the largest member-based biomedical engineering society in the world. Earlier, she had served as Vice-President of Conferences of IEEE-EMBS. She has been active in conference leadership; notably, she organized and chaired the 1990 Annual International Conference of the EMBS and Co-Chaired the 2004 Annual Conference of the Biomedical Engineering.


Flowerbox vertical wall gardens, inspired by the work of French botanist Patrick Blanc, are custom made at the company’s New Jersey and New York based workshops and showrooms for homes and businesses, and generate credits for LEED-certified buildings.

Let nature in

a mounted on top-grade fire The gardens are retardant fiberboard, made in the U.S., and installed by certified Flowerbox technicians.

Flowerbox offers innovative and practical solutions for decorating the walls of your home or office with the natural beauty of the outdoors. Unaltered natural plants and flowers are harvested at the peak of their most vibrant state, and then preserved by replacing their sap with a glycerin-based stabilizing solution. Long after our preservation process, the `Preserved Plants & Flowers` retain their original color, form and softness for many years.

Step outside the box Its unique preservation process enables our product to be maintenance free, soil free, water free, and light free. With galleries in more than 30 countries worldwide, including 200 in France alone, the company is based in France with U.S. headquarters in Hackensack, N.J.

100% Natural FlowerBox Wall Gardens is looking for giving distributorship in all around the States. Follow us on social media #FlowerBoxWallGardens Give us a call 1-800-212-2672 www.flowerboxwallgardens.com


#14 – ÇİĞDEM BOSTAN, HALACH GOLD

Having been founded in 2008, the Halach Gold, Inc. reached a capacity of 15 workers and a 200 million dollar turnover.

Çiğdem Bostan, General Manager of Halach Gold, Inc. and Gold Gram.

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hen İstanbul Altın Refineries (IAR) (Istanbul Gold Refinery) wanted to improve its USA branch and enter the market, young professional Çiğdem Bostan was given a great responsibility. While most of the gold companies were closing their New York offices and returning to Turkey, Bostan rolled up her sleeves to create the US branch of IAR, which had joined the Halach Family in 2002 after privatization. Having been founded in 2008, the Halach Gold, Inc. reached a capacity of 15 workers and a 200 million dollar turnover. The Miami branch, which began to operate in 2013, has played a great role in the company’s reach-out to both South and North American mines. 52 • TurkofAmerica

Golden Gırl A part of the Istanbul Gold Refinery, the Halach Gold Inc. North America has headquarters on 47th Street, which is considered the heart of New York’s gold and


#14 – ÇİĞDEM BOSTAN, HALACH GOLD

diamond market. The head of the Halach Gold America Çiğdem Bostan, who established a mine analysis laboratory and a diamonded jewelry products refinery over a 6500 sqf area in Long Island, New York last year, states their goal is to become a leader in America’s trade and refinery of precious metals. Halach Gold reaches its consumers also with the brand name of Gold Gram. Additionally, with the initiative of Halach Gold, Istanbul Gold Refinery has become, since 24 November 2014, the first ever Turkish firm to be accepted into America’s most prestigious precious metals stock market, the Chicago-based Commodity Exchange (COMEX). The firm, which has been selling gold in various amounts, from half of a gram to 100 grams, since 2011 under the Gold Gram brand, also produces gold for the American market with custom-made designs. Offering different alternatives for those who would like to purchase gifts for special days such as birthdays, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, etc., the firm also produces business cards with different values of gold on them, for business people. The certified gram golds, which were put out on the market for the first time in 2012 at Christmas time as gift items, have grown by spreading

Professional & Compassionate Womens Healthcare That You Can Trust.

to different areas. The gram golds, which are still being sold through different distribution channels on eBay, also provide designs for firms, clubs, and organizations. The General Manager of Halach Gold, Inc. and Gold Gram firms, Çiğdem Bostan, is working on putting a new project into action this year. With the program that they named 401-G, the consumers will be able to convert a monthly sum of money from their bank account into gold. The system would be announced with the brand name 401-G, a name likened to the retirement fund 401-K, to encourage investment in gold that never loses value, instead of in the stock market, real estate, or treasury securities. The consumers are able to exchange the gold purchased whenever they would like, with the exchange value of the day. In addition to their own website, mygoldgram.com, Gold Gram supplies its products to their customers also through the sector’s leading sales channels, such as eBay and Apmex.com, which have sold around 68 thousand kilograms of gold within the past 10 years. The Apmex site provides the customers with different alternatives by developing special gift boxes for IGR’s certified golds.

Dr Ulas Bozdogan

ADVANCED WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE 140 Prospect Ave,Suite 15 Hackensack,NJ 07601 Tel: +1 (201) 880 6181 info@amerikadabebek.com www.amerikadabebek.com ww www.njwomenscare.com Office Hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm


# 15 NUR ERCAN-MAGDEN, THE MARMARA MANHATTAN

The Face of Turkısh Hospıtalıty ın New York B

ehind every great establishment is a great leader. Marmara Park Avenue, opening in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood as the U.S. flagship of The Marmara Collection, is no exception. Leading the charge as the property’s General Manager is seasoned professional Nur Ercan-Magden, an expert with more than 25 years of experience who can divulge all the tips, tricks and scoops of the hotel industry. Nur began her career in hospitality in 1990 after graduating college and joined the Marmara family. In 2003, Nur moved to the United States and took on the responsibilities of sales and marketing for Marmara Manhattan, and started her journey in NYC. Now Nur currently serves as the General Manager for Marmara Park Avenue and Marmara Manhattan. Nur is a dynamic personality with much to offer – your conversations will be far from boring! The Marmara Manhattan, which had initially been opened in 1989 as a condo, has been providing extended stay services since 1998. Magden started her career 25 years ago a representative at the Marmara Hotel in Taksim, Istanbul and her job then was a temporary position for three weeks.

Nur Ercan-Magden, General Manager of The Marmara Manhattan and Marmara Park Avenue Hotel.

Behind every great establishment is a great leader. Marmara Park Avenue, opening in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood as the U.S. flagship of The Marmara Collection, is no exception. 54 • TurkofAmerica

As the three-week long position turned into a fiveyear long work experience, Magden’s next stop in her career was with Kiska, a partner firm of the Marmara Group with headquarters in Ankara. She was transferred to Kiska in order to develop new projects in the Southeastern provinces of Turkey under the framework of the Southeastern Anatolian Project and she opened the first ancient hotel of Urfa, Edassa, as the General Director. She was then assigned to open the Marmara Bodrum. Magden came to the US in 2000 and for some time she did research to seek possible job opportunities. In 2003, she took over the responsibility of marketing and sales for Marmara Manhattan in North and South America. In 2008 she began her position as the general director.


#16 YILDIZ BLACKSTONE

The Face of Fashıon Y

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 highend 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.

Yildız Blackstone, President of BEluxury, a full service consulting firm specialized in clothing, accessories and lifestyleclients.

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. TurkofAmerica • 55


#17 LYDIA BORLAND, LB INTERNATIONAL SOLUTIONS

The Woman Who Advocates for Turkısh Interests on Capıtol Hıll

ly reach out to her for guidance on issues affecting the region. Borland has a keen understanding of how US policy can reflect the views of businesses and the non-profit community. She is currently President of LB International Solutions, LLC, an international consulting firm, which provides consulting services to The Gephardt Group, The Livingston Group, and other companies. She has also been a Washington Representative for a military aircraft parts supply company, and a lobbyist with the Embassy of Turkey since 1989. Borland served as Washington Representative for the Turkish-U.S. Business Council (TAIK/DEIK) from 20002007 and Deputy Executive Director of the U.S. Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce for several years. In addition to Turkish, Borland speaks fluent Spanish, Italian, Azerbaijani, and French. She earned a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University and a M.B.A. in Finance from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

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Borland has successfully created and managed cam-

Lydia Borland, President of LB International Solutions.

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hen contemplating Turkish -American lobbying activities in the U.S., Lydia Borland is one of the first names that comes to mind. After all, she has been

Borland has more than 30 years of public and private sector experience in international business and government relations.

56 • TurkofAmerica

walking the halls of Congress since 1989. Even though she isn’t a Turkish citizen – her dad is from North Carolina and her mother is Italian, - she speaks fluent Turkish and has absorbed the Turkish culture as only one who has grown up in the country can. She has worked with Turks for over 30 years. At the beginning of her professional career, she worked in İzmir in 1983. Her first job was as an intern at the IMF Africa Department. Borland has more than 30 years of public and private sector experience in international business and government relations, but she approaches each project with the enthusiasm and energy of an eager novice. Her success record on behalf of clients speaks for itself. She helps identify investment opportunities and organize political fundraising campaigns, including Turkish American Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraisers. Lydia played an important role in establishing the Turkish American PACs, which have empowered Turkish Americans in the political arena. She advocates on behalf of US-Turkish relations and Turkish companies. She assists in growing the Congressional Turkey Caucus and provides strategic direction for lobbying contract. Members of Congress and congressional staff regular-

paigns to secure financial assistance and favorable legislation for U.S. and non-U.S. clients. She facilitates international business development for U.S. companies and for non-U.S. companies in the U.S. Additionally, she has experience in trade promotion and market development, helping businesses identify and partner with international companies. She currently is working to develop international trade and investment between Native American tribes and Italian or Turkish companies. Borland established and manages political PACs to support members of Congress and candidates who support client issues. She meets with political candidates to evaluate their positions and advocate on issues and organize fundraisers for members of Congress and candidates. She has an extensive network in Congress, the Administration, the diplomatic community, and business circles. Before establishing LB International Solutions, Borland was executive director of Caspian Group LLC between 2001 and 2013. She managed Caspian Group clients and contractors. She lobbied the Natural Resources Committee for the successful passage of HR2326, a bill sponsored by Congressman Tom Cole titled: Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011. The bill would facilitate economic development by Indian tribes and encourage investment by Turkish enterprises. The issues it sought to relieve were addressed in other passed legislation.

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September 27-30, 2015

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34th Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations September 27 - 30, 2015

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC

www.the-atc.org


#18 AYLİN UYSAL, ORACLE

Uysal Transforms Oracle’s Corporate Culture by Makıng Desıgn Drıve Innovatıon

for championing exceptional design to drive innovation at Oracle HCM, ERP and Student cloud applications. My team is responsible for product design, information experience, and usability. Our mission is to partner with product management, development and strategy to deliver an outstanding user experience for our customers. If I am not traveling for business to train our partners and consultants on user experience design strategy and messaging or visiting our customers to understand their end users’ and business needs, my day starts very early in the morning with remote design review meetings because most of our product team members are located across the globe; India, UK, North America, Australia. In these meetings I answer design questions, provide design consultation, review design consistency and make sure the proposed UX designs are coded properly. Later in the morning, I have either 1-1 or group meetings with my team members to give them design mentorship and direction. What is your methodology? We follow user centered design methodology. Depending on where we are in the design cycle, we conduct user research on product design, such as usability testing, group task analysis, wants and needs or focus groups. I attend to these sessions in person to observe and understand what potential issues need to be addressed. These sessions also help me to identify new ideas for

Aylin Uysal is Senior Design Director and Strategist of the Oracle Applications User Experience Team in San Francisco, CA.

design innovation. I have an open door policy. Throughout the day, I meet with team members who walk in to my office to discuss

A

design direction, innovation and strategy or anything

ylin Uysal is Senior Design Director and Strategist

they might need my advice on at personal or career

of the Oracle Applications User Experience Team

level. I am dotted lined to the SVP of HCM, ERP and

in San Francisco, CA. “My passion is transforming cor-

student cloud development teams. I do have regular

porate culture by making design a driver of innovation

meetings with them to align UX projects and direction.

1999 as a junior

and change,” she says. Uysal has eight user experience

Depending on the day, I might attend meetings with them and make sure we are moving forward in the same

interaction designer.

(UX) patents and her team’s main mission is to create world-class product designs that drive an exceptional

direction as a team.

“I joined Oracle in

The Oracle User

user experience. You have worked at Oracle since 1999 (only one year

Experience team

She was graduated from Faculty of Architecture, De-

at SAP Labs). Working with the same company for

provided me a

partment of Industrial Design at Middle East Technical

over 15 years is not usual in Silicon Valley. What is so special about Oracle?

perfect environment

University in Ankara and she studied as a Post Bachelor Student at the Massachusetts College of Arts, Depart-

I joined Oracle in 1999 as a junior interaction designer.

to grow in the User

ment of Industrial Design. Uysal has a master’s degree

The Oracle User Experience team provided me a perfect environment to grow in the User Experience Field

Experience Field as

from the Department of Computer Graphics, Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She answered TURK-

as a new starter. It was at Oracle that my passion for

OFAMERICA’s questions.

user-centered design became a career. I honed my user

a new starter.”

58 • TurkofAmerica

experience skills here for five years, focusing on becomCan you tell us your daily work routine in Oracle?

ing an expert in work practices, project leadership, and

As senior director of user experience, I am responsible

user experience and design.


#18 AYLÄ°N UYSAL, ORACLE

I left Oracle after 5 years to join SAP as principal designer. After a year at

Have you ever thought about going back to Turkey?

SAP, Oracle reached out to me with a leadership opportunity. Therefore I

I always do. My whole family is back in Turkey, except my brother. I grew

began my management career at Oracle in 2005 as User Experience man-

up in a small town called Manisa, at least it was small when I was there.

ager for HCM Cloud. I positioned design as a core differentiator in HCM

My grandparents were farmers and my dad used to be an agriculture

cloud products, which led to the promotion of my role to Senior Director

engineer. I loved helping in the cotton and tobacco fields, listening to

of user experience for HCM, ERP and Student cloud applications.

problems with growing olive trees, irrigation, or how much money was given to farmers by government for their hard work. I love anything relat-

Oracle is an excellent company, recognizing employee success and

ed to farming and soil. When I retire I see myself spending half the year in

providing right opportunities for career growth. I am a self-driven per-

Turkey taking care of olive trees and other half in the US spending more

son. My job here at Oracle never gets boring. Oracle always provides me

time in technology.

the challenge and excitement that I seek in my job every day. Of course having great colleagues and a supportive manager who encourages a

How do you often travel to Turkey?

work-life balance play critical roles in my loving my job and staying at

Every summer I spend one month in Turkey, half the time vacationing and

Oracle.

the other half working remotely. I have two sons, Atlas and Kaya. I want them to have enough time with grandparents, aunts, cousins and extend-

What are your hobbies besides working hard?

ed family, learn the Turkish language and culture, appreciate all won-

I love the outdoors and physical activity. I strongly believe that making

derful things about Turkey. I have a very strong bond with my sons and I

it a priority actually makes me better at my job. Physical activity allows

would love to keep that bond when they become adults. The only way for

me to clear my head and decompress. I often solve some of my toughest

them to understand me later in life is by learning my past, and knowing

problems when I am out for yoga or a swim. Oracle encourages their em-

the people who played a key role in my life, like their grandmother.

ployees to do just that by providing the right work-life balance. I was very lucky to be surrounded by a group of great female leaders from When I am not evangelizing design at Oracle, you’ll find me swimming,

birth like my mom and grandmother who always told us we could do an-

biking or doing yoga. I completed triathlons, Escape from Alcatraz, raised

ything in life and reach any position we wanted to reach. They also said

money for LLS and for children of SOMA.

never forget where you belong and where you came from.


#19 CIGDEM BALIM

She has also been a senior examiner of Turkish Literature A1 for the International Baccalaureate Organization (examining World Literatures in Translation and Turkish Literature) since 1996. She received her B.A. at Hacettepe University in 1974 and her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 1979. She worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics, Hacettepe University, Turkey from 1979 to 1982. She was advisor to the Turkish Ministry of Education, Secondary and Higher Education in the years between 1982-1987. During that same period, she was the coordinator of Foreign Language Instruction and Chair of Department of Department of Foreign Language Teacher Training at Gazi University, Turkey. Balım was a member of the country representative teams for the OECD, UNESCO and UN and national coordinator of UNESCO- CODIESEE for Turkey (1984 – 1987). She was the founder and coordinator of the Research Group on Central Asia and the Caucasus, University of Manchester, UK (1993 – 2004). She lived in the United Kingdom and was chair of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Manchester. In 2004, she transferred to Indiana University as director of the Center for the Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR). She has lectured at Indiana University since 2005 as a senior lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. She was promoted to senior lecturer for the Center for the Study of the Middle East (CSME) in 2011. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, Russian and East European Institute, and Islamic Studies Program at Indiana University. She is a faculty member of the West European Center at the university.

Çiğdem Balım Harding

Balım is the co-author of eight books about the Turkic-language speaking people of the Central Asian Republics and their relations with Turkey. 60 • TurkofAmerica

36 Year Experıence ın Lınguıstıcs Ç

iğdem Balım Harding is a senior lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. Balım is also the director of graduate studies and the director of language instruction in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

Balım is the co-author of eight books about the Turkic-language speaking people of the Central Asian Republics and their relations with Turkey, Meskhetian Turks, Quick Language Course, and Turkey’s Political, Economic and Social Challenges. She is currently working on editing two special editions of the Women Studies International Forum on Grounding Cosmopolitanism and Authority and Feminism in the Middle East. Balim also is co-authoring a book on Turkish Literature and World Literature in Translation for K-12 teachers of the International Baccalaureate.


#20 PELIN MUHARREMOGLU, CAPITAL ONE

P

elin Muharremoğlu is Senior Finance Manager at Capital One based in Plano, Texas. She is responsible for managing expenses and improving financial analysis for several large teams. A financial services professional with 11 years of diverse and productive experience in the field, Muharremoğlu’s expertise include financial analysis and modeling, project management, and auto finance. Born in Samsun, Muharremoğlu earned her undergraduate degree at Boğaziçi University, in electrical and electronics engineering in 1998. She moved to the United States to attend Boston University, where she earned a graduate degree in electrical engineering in 2000. She graduated from Columbia Business School with an MBA degree in 2004 and forayed into the world of finance directly after business school, when she joined Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, as a Senior Consultant. In 2006, she joined American Express as a Finance Manager, where she prepared the equity analysis and the forecast for the first Stress Test, and was responsible for the forecast of various financial metrics. She led a project that improved the accuracy and reduced workload by 40% for US Operations investment process. She also provided decision support and cost/ benefit analysis for strategic initiatives in US Operations. In 2010, she began working at Morgan Stanley as Senior Manager in the Treasury Department, where she provided decision support to the Senior Management and CFO on capital-related matters; that same year she received the CFO Recognition Award. She joined Capital One in 2013 where she manages and delivers high-impact special projects for Capital One’s Auto Finance and other businesses. Capital One Auto Finance is one of the largest auto lenders in the country, with a portfolio of auto loan assets of approximately $40 billion. Her husband Alp is a professor at the University of Texas in Dallas. The couple has a six-year-old son. She credits her grandparents for having instilled in her a love of learning and having encouraged her to push herself beyond her comfort zone.

Pelin Muharremoğlu is Senior Finance Manager at Capital One based in Plano, Texas.

Love of Learnıng Pelin Muharremoğlu manages and delivers high-impact special projects for Capital One’s Auto Finance and other businesses.

TurkofAmerica • 61


İHSAN BAYTAN, THY NEW YORK MANAGER

İhsan Baytan, the manager of the New York branch at THY’s New York office.

10 Brıllıant Years Wıth Turkısh Aırlınes After working 10 years as the Turkish Airlines New York manager, İhsan Baytan has retired. 10 years ago THY were carrying 160,000 passengers from İstanbul to New York and Chicago; nowadays it has reached 500,000 passengers only to New York. 62 • TurkofAmerica

W

hen Turkish Airlines (THY) first flight was scheduled from Istanbul to New York on August 21st, 1988, it was its 48th destinations and a dream come true for Turks living in America. Until that date, Turkish people had to fly via Europe. Finally they could fly home directly. THY currently flies directly from İstanbul to New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. THY is schedule to fly to Miami on October 25th, 2015 and to Atlanta on May 16th, 2016 as its 8th and 9th destination in America respectively. It has carried almost 1 million passengers between the USA and Turkey as of the end of 2014. With the addition of two more lines, the airline flies to the United States 70 times a week one way. In 2010, THY was carrying only 160,000 passengers from Istanbul to New York and Chicago. The numbers of passengers to New York has increased three-fold and reached 500,000 passengers. The total number of passengers to seven different U.S. cities reached 1.35 million by the end of the 2014.


İHSAN BAYTAN, THY NEW YORK MANAGER

One of the witnesses of the incredible transformation of the company is İhsan Baytan, the manager of the New York branch, who has told his story to TURKOFAMERICA. THY had 54 aircrafts in its fleet in 2003-04. Nowadays the figure exceeds 280. With its global strategy, THY added more large body aircraft to the fleet, opened the world’s most beautiful CIP lounge in Istanbul, and started to fly to more cities all over the world. ‘’As of right now, we are flying into more than 109 countries and 280 cities. In this sense we have the title of the airline that flies to the greatest number of countries in the world. On a global scale, to further grow and expand our flight network to be sure, we’re going to have to increase our presence in the United States under any circumstance. Therefore, our flight destinations in the United States in the next 5 years, we plan to increase to 15. The average aircraft’s age is 2 in our flights to United States. Our young aircrafts fleet and customer service demonstrate that we are very good,’’ İhsan Baytan, General Manager of THY New York branch, says. THY aims to reach a total of 60 million passengers and $ 12 billion in annual sales in 2015. With its 17 subsidiaries, the revenue of THY in 2014 was $ 17.5 billion. THY is a 4-star airline company with a goal of becoming a 5-star airline as soon as possible. Turkish Airlines was recognized at the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards as the “Best Airline in Europe” for the fourth year in a row, and ranked as #5 at the global level. More than 18 million air travelers voted, making Turkish Airlines the only airline in the world to win this accolade for four consecutive years. The airline also won “Best Airline in Southern Europe,” “Best Business Class Catering,” and “Best Business Class Lounge Dining.” In a short period of time, Turkish Airlines turned into a preferred and world-renowned airline. It carries not only Turkish passengers but also Israelites, Greeks, Iranians, Pakistanis, Africans and citizens of the Balkan countries. THY is the one of most preferred airlines for Turkey’s neighbors and regions. The purpose that 18 percent of the passengers fly from New York to Istanbul is for pleasure. Almost half of the passengers on the flight to Istanbul continue to other countries. Baytan says that THY has a popular program, TourIstanbul, for transit passengers. The passengers who fly with THY to Europe have 6 or 9-hour free Istanbul tour and after the tour they go to their countries with another THY flight. “We carry more passengers New York to Istanbul connected to Rome than Adana or Antalya,” he says. Despite the fact that 66 percent of world’s air traffic flies over Turkey, Turkey receives only a two percent share of this traffic. It is an important criterion for THY to look forward to new targets. The company, with a fleet of 460 aircraft, wants to be one of the biggest three airlines in the world in 2023. To reach this target, THY believes that increasing the brand awareness is crucial. THY decided to become a global brand out of being a regional airline. In line with this strategy, the company has launched a worldwide commercial campaign with Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers player, Messi, Barcelona’s star, Drogba, Chelsea’s striker and Caroline Wozniacki, Polish tennis player. Working with these names, the Turkish Airlines brand recognition is well known. “THY also inspires other companies aiming to globalization,” he says.

A 2013 advert from Turkish Airlines, featuring Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant in a selfie battle, has been named the ad of the decade by YouTube. The 2013 spot shows the footballer and the basketball player in a battle of selfies, travelling around the world to outdo the other’s snapshots to represent Turkish Airlines’ tagline: “Flying to more countries than any other airline”. The advert has been viewed almost 141.5 million times on YouTube. Baytan’s role in THY’s rapid growth in the U.S. market cannot be ignored. Asked what is the secret of staying 10 years as a general manager in a city like New York, most managers’ favorite, Baytan says: ‘’There has been an incredible improvement in Turkey. Economic stability in theTurkish economy, the potential of being located in the middle of an international air corridor coupled with THY’s management’s right decisions. And it turned out to be a tremendous success story. My term was just starting at the time of Turkey and THY rising. This was very lucky for me and we as a team worked hard in the U.S. market where we strove to make the brand become worthy. We made an effort to come to the place where the brand is awarded. As anyone who has contributed to this great success story, I’m so happy and proud of it. But, now it is time to leave the post to the young and dynamic people who will come after us.’’ His family is originally Balıkesir, Baytan was born in 1965 in Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s historical district. He came to America for the first time in 1989 to pursue his education. He received a master’s degree from William Paterson University in New Jersey and he returned to Turkey in 1994. After working in the textile business, he started at THY as station manager in 2003 in İstanbul, then became Vice President of Ground Operations. He goes to Turkey 7-8 times per year. ‘’Sometimes I am going in the morning and come back in the evening plane,’’ he says. Baytan is married to anesthesiologist Dr. Sema Baytan and has two daughters aged 13 and 7.

TurkofAmerica • 63


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42nd issue - The 30 Most Influential Turkish-American Women / Ottoman Dynasty in America  

The 30 Most Influential Turkish-American Women. The list includes extraordinary entrepreneurs and visionary CEOS, celebrity role models and...

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