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The Distinguished Friends of Turkey and The Loved Ones Whom We Lost

By Cemil Ozyurt - First time ever we have rewarded the distinguished friends of Turkey in 30 different fields from academia to business, from art to social life. We dedicate this special issue to “Friends of Turkey.” We reward Americans who support and strengthen people-to-people relations between America and Turkey by deepening the understanding and appreciation of our two centuries of friendship. We hope you enjoy reading this issue that involves Distinguished Friends of Turkey.  From Boston to Los Angeles, from Silicon Valley to New York finance world, TURKOFAMERICA highlights the great untold stories of friends of Turkey.

Unity Bank for Turkish-American Community

Unity Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNTY), the parent company of Unity Bank, was one of the top ranked New Jersey community banks on the American Banker magazine list of the Top 200 Publicly Traded Community Banks in 2018. The bank was ranked 19th nationally on the respected industry list, which reviewed 633 institutions throughout the U.S. Clinton-based Unity Bank ranked last year among the nation’s most profitable banks on the smaller end of the industry spectrum — and the most profitable in New Jersey. This made it a headline item in American Banker’s year-end rankings, right on the heels of the bank’s best financial quarter in its history. While employing three Turkish-Americans, the Bank has a very close relationship with the Turkish-American community and James A. Hughes, Unity Bank President and CEO, says that they would like to deepen their relationships with the community. Hughes talked to TURKOFAMERICA about their 2018 performance, relations with Turkish-American community and future.

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"Turks and Korean, We Could Be Brothers and Sisters"

Soh Young Lee-Segredo has been performing all her life. She is a singer, choir director, storyteller and program coordinator. When she was 10 years old, she created ‘Charlie Chapplin Act’ and performed in front of large audience in the street of S. Korea. At age 15, she was vice president of the Red Cross Youth Middle school division, Seoul and experienced first-hand leadership. Via S Korea, to Paraguay, Brazil, Spain, Soh Young Lee-Segredo was exposed to multiculturalism and she learned value of diversity in gender, race, languages, different music and people.

She is a founding member and director of the Multicultural Peace Mission Choir, Soh Young Ensemble and Soh Young and Friends. She sang National Anthems in Madison Square Garden and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Dr Oz and Seval Oz Write About Their Father for TURKOFAMERICA

By Dr Mehmet Oz - My father Mustafa Oz was born October 4, 1925 in the poor farming village of Bozkir near Konya, Turkey.  Although he participated in events that no one in his community and few in his country could have ever imagined, his heart never left this small town and he returned frequently to embrace the buildings that he built for future generations of students. Mustafa earned scholarships at every level of his education, which inspired his support of promising students who cannot afford education.  After graduating Cerrahpaşa Medical School at the top of his class in 1950, he was accepted into the general residency at Western Reserve University residency in Cleveland, USA (where Mehmet was born in 1960) and cardiothoracic training at Emory University in Atlanta (where Seval was born in 1961) before he began training other doctors in Wilmington, Delaware (where Nazlım was born in 1967). His biggest accomplishment was marrying my mother Suna Yıldız Atabay in 1959 and learning to take her advice over a 60-year marriage. He moved back to his beloved Turkey and operated into his 80s at top hospitals in Istanbul including his beloved Florence Nightingale.

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A True Friend of Turkey in Georgia

By Mona Diamond Sunshine - “Three months after I got married, my husband and I traveled to Turkey. At that time, I was given Turkish citizenship as I was married to a Turkish citizen.  We settled in Ankara where I lived for two years before returning to the United States. We settled in Atlanta, Georgia where I had my three sons, Burak, Turan and Kamuran. After we settled in Atlanta, we became very involved with the Turkish community here in Atlanta. At that time, we were only 150 Turkish people living in the city. We were a very close knit group and I helped organize the Turkish American Cultural Association of Georgia. I became vice president on two occasions. I was also a member of ATAA in Washington, DC and would go to the yearly meetings of ATAA.

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Lolita Zinke Will Visit Syrian Refugee Camps in Turkey with A Group of People from Diverse Backgrounds

Lolita Zinke who worked closely with President Trump and served as a member of his Hispanic and women’s outreach committee during the 2016 campaign, has been invited by Serdar Kılıç, Turkish Ambassador to the United States in Washington DC, to visit Syrian refugee camps in Turkey. The group of people from diverse backgrounds who are to come together for this visit will have the chance to see what the Turkish government has done about Syrian refugees. Lolita Zinke, better known as Lola, was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara and California Western School of Law. Afterward, she provided bilingual felony arraignment services for the San Diego Public Defenders Office. Lolita lived in Adana in the late 1980s and she fell in love with the culture, food, and people. She married Ryan Zinke, who served as United States Secretary of the Interior in the Trump Administration between 2017 and 2019, until his resignation.

Dauntless Advocate for Ancient Treasures of Anatolia: Larry The Turk

Lawrence Kaye represents a wide range of domestic and international clients in complex litigations and commercial transactions. He also represented the Republic of Turkey in its successful efforts to recover the fabled Lydian Hoard antiquities, long held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and some 1,800 ancient Greek and Lycian coins which Connoisseur Magazine called "The Hoard of the Century." Larry talked to TURKOFAMERICA.

Prominent Turkish Historian Kemal Karpat Dies at Age 96

Internationally acclaimed Turkish historian Kemal Karpat died on Feb. 20 in the United States aged 96. Karpat, an expert on the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkish history, was an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He had celebrated his 96th birthday on Feb. 15. Professor Karpat taught in Department of History of University of Wisconsin-Madison for 36 years, from 1967 until his retirement in 2003. His research pioneered the study of late Ottoman history, and focused on the rise of ethnic nationalism and Islamic political discourse. He leaves a rich legacy as one of the leading Ottoman historians of his generation.  He also will be remembered for his contributions to the study of Ottoman History in higher education. During his time at UW-Madison, Karpat served as director of the Center for Turkish Studies, and contributed funds to its endowment. Karpat also endowed a professorship in Ottoman and Turkish History, which is currently held by Professor Daniel Stolz.

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The Most Well Written Story of Turkish Tea

How did you meet Turkish people and Turkish tea first? Did you know anything about them before then? 
Before coming to Turkey I had little knowledge about the country, its people or customs. I of course knew the basics: that it was a Muslim country located in the Middle East; that the Ottomans ruled there; that it was famous for baths and strong coffee, but that was about it. I had learned, however, much about its art in my university classes. I remember being fascinated as a child by the image of the camel on the pack of Camel cigarettes my father smoked and always asked to play with the pack. I think the first words I ever learned to read were “Turkish Tobacco” which was written in bold on the pack! But I knew nothing about the tea culture: I assumed that all Turks drank Turkish coffee!

Jim Sparks, The Largest North American Representative of Turkish Borates

American Borate Company (ABC) is a privately held corporation headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia and the Company has marketed borates from Turkey since 1981. ABC has become the largest North American representative of Turkish borates. Jim Sparks, President of American Borate Company has been traveling to Turkey since 1983 for the borate business initially working with Eti Bank, which is now Eti Maden. Jim purchased an air dunnage bag manufacturing operation in city of Amasya. This operation currently employees over 200 people. Since becoming involved in Turkey, his companies have purchased Turkish produced product worth more than 2 billion dollars.

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