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"Politicians from Turkey and the U.S. comment two countries relationship and current problems, foresight future relations... Presidents, Prime  Ministers, Ministers and Members of Parlement  all speak to TURKOFAMERICA, share their experiences and views with our readers. All exclusive interview from Ankara and Washington, D.C...  

 

Turkish-Native American Investment Bill One Vote From Passing House

Image On November 17 the House Committee on Natural Resources voted 27-15 to pass the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Act, H.R. 2362, which will now be reported favorably to the House for a final vote. G. Lincoln McCurdy, President of the Turkish Coalition of America, called the bipartisan vote a major step forward in enacting the first positive legislation toward Turkey in recent memory.

"For the last two years," said McCurdy, "Turkey and Native American Tribes have been developing a unique international relationship that promises to help create jobs and spur economic development in both Indian Country and Turkey. The Natural Resources Committee today voted to support sound policy and respect the economic interests of Native American Tribes. This is a historic step forward."

Ambassador Tan Responses House Foreign Affairs' Action

Statement by His Excellency Namik Tan, The Republic of Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States in response to today’s action in a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Mark-Up, July 20, 2011. “Today, members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved amendments to a State Department Authorization bill that distorts Turkey’s record on religious freedom and preservation of religious sites. Turkey opposes the language in the measure because it presents a biased, one-sided perspective and wholly disregards the constructive steps Turkey has taken to safeguard and expand religious freedom and tolerance and to preserve places of worship belonging to Jews and Christians. 

U.S. War Costs Reach At Least $3.7 Trillion And Counting

Image When President Barack Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America's wars. Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The final bill will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project "Costs of War" by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. (www.costsofwar.org)

In the 10 years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan to root out the al Qaeda leaders behind the September 11, 2001, attacks, spending on the conflicts totaled $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion.

Those numbers will continue to soar when considering often overlooked costs such as long-term obligations to wounded veterans and projected war spending from 2012 through 2020. The estimates do not include at least $1 trillion more in interest payments coming due and many billions more in expenses that cannot be counted, according to the study.

In human terms, 224,000 to 258,000 people have died directly from warfare, including 125,000 civilians in Iraq. Many more have died indirectly, from the loss of clean drinking water, healthcare, and nutrition. An additional 365,000 have been wounded and 7.8 million people -- equal to the combined population of Connecticut and Kentucky -- have been displaced.

COSTS OF WAR

"Costs of War" brought together more than 20 academics to uncover the expense of war in lives and dollars, a daunting task given the inconsistent recording of lives lost and what the report called opaque and sloppy accounting by the U.S. Congress and the Pentagon.

The report underlines the extent to which war will continue to stretch the U.S. federal budget, which is already on an unsustainable course due to an aging American population and skyrocketing healthcare costs.

It also raises the question of what the United States gained from its multitrillion-dollar investment.

"I hope that when we look back, whenever this ends, something very good has come out of it," Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, told Reuters in Washington.

SEPT 11, 2001: THE DAMAGE CONTINUES

In one sense, the report measures the cost of 9/11, the American shorthand for the events of September 11, 2001. Nineteen hijackers plus other al Qaeda plotters spent an estimated $400,000 to $500,000 on the plane attacks that killed 2,995 people and caused $50 billion to $100 billion in economic damages.

What followed were three wars in which $50 billion amounts to a rounding error. For every person killed on September 11, another 73 have been killed since.

Was it worth it? That is a question many people want answered, said Catherine Lutz, head of the anthropology department at Brown and co-director of the study.

"We decided we needed to do this kind of rigorous assessment of what it cost to make those choices to go to war," she said. "Politicians, we assumed, were not going to do that kind of assessment."

The report arrives as Congress debates how to cut a U.S. deficit projected at $1.4 trillion this year, roughly a 10th of which can be attributed to direct war spending.

What did the United States gain for its trillions?

Strategically, the results for the United States are mixed. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are dead, but Iraq and Afghanistan are far from stable democracies. Iran has gained influence in the Gulf and the Taliban, though ousted from government, remain a viable military force in Afghanistan.

"The United States has been extremely successful in protecting the homeland," said George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR, a U.S.-based intelligence company.

"Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was capable of mounting very sophisticated, complex, operations on an intercontinental basis. That organization with that capability has not only been substantially reduced, it seems to have been shattered," Friedman said.

Economically, the results are also mixed. War spending may be adding half a percentage point a year to growth in the gross domestic product but that has been more than offset by the negative effects of deficit spending, the report concludes.

COMPREHENSIVE STUDY

Some U.S. government reports have attempted to assess the costs of war, notably a March 2011 Congressional Research Service report that estimated post-September 11 war funding at $1.4 trillion through 2012. The Congressional Budget Office projected war costs through 2021 at $1.8 trillion.

A ground-breaking private estimate was published in the 2008 book "The Three Trillion Dollar War," by Linda Bilmes, a member of the Watson Institute team, and Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. That work revealed how much cost was added by interest on deficit spending and medical care for veterans.

The report draws on those sources and pieces together many others for a more comprehensive picture.

The report also makes special note of Pakistan, a front not generally mentioned along with Iraq and Afghanistan. War has probably killed more people in Pakistan than in neighboring Afghanistan, the report concludes.

Politicians throughout history have underestimated the costs of war, believing they will be shorter and less deadly than reality, said Neta Crawford, the other co-director of the report and a political science professor at Boston University.

The report said former President George W. Bush's administration was "shamelessly politically driven" in underestimating Iraq war costs before the 2003 invasion.

Most official sources continue to overlook costs, largely because of a focus on just Pentagon spending, Crawford said.

"Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war," Obama said in last week's speech on reducing U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. At the very least, he was rounding down by $200 billion to $300 billion, when counting U.S. congressional appropriations for the post 9/11 wars.

"I don't know what the president knows, but I wish it were a trillion," Crawford said. "It would be better if it were a trillion."

ELUSIVE NUMBER

In theory, adding up the dollars spent and lives lost should be a statistical errand. The U.S. Congress appropriates the money, and a life lost on battlefield should have a death certificate and a casket to match.

The team quickly discovered, however, the task was far more complicated.

Specific war spending over the past 10 years, when expressed in 2011 dollars, comes to $1.3 trillion, the "Costs of War" project found. When it comes to accounting for every dollar, that $1.3 trillion is merely a good start.

Since the wars have been financed by deficit spending, interest must be paid -- $185 billion of accumulated so far.

The Pentagon has received an additional $326 billion to $652 billion beyond what can be attributed to the war appropriations, the study found.

Homeland security spending has totaled another $401 billion so far that can be traced to September 11. War-related foreign aid: another $74 billion.

Then comes caring for U.S. veterans of war. Nearly half of the 1.25 million who have served in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan have used their status as veterans to make health or disability claims at an expense of $32.6 billion to date.

Those costs will soar over the next 40 years as veterans age. The report estimates the U.S. obligations to the veterans will reach $589 billion to $934 billion through 2050.

So far, those numbers add up to a low estimate of $2.9 trillion and a moderate estimate of $3.6 trillion in costs to the U.S. Treasury. No high estimate was offered.

"We feel a conservative measure of costs is plenty large to attract attention," said report contributor Ryan Edwards, an economist who studied the war impact on deficit spending.

Those numbers leave out hundreds of billions in social costs not born by the U.S. taxpayer but by veterans and their families: another $295 billion to $400 billion, increasing the range of costs to date to some $3.2 trillion to $4 trillion.

That's a running total through fiscal 2011. Add another $453 billion in war-related spending projected for 2012 to 2020 and the total grows to $3.668 trillion to $4.444 trillion.

THE HUMAN TOLL

If the financial costs are elusive, so too is the human toll.

The report estimates between 224,475 and 257,655 have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, though those numbers give a false sense of precision. There are many sources of data on civilian deaths, most with different results.

The civilian death toll in Iraq -- 125,000 -- and the number of Saddam's security forces killed in invasion -- 10,000 -- are loose estimates. The U.S. military does not publish a thorough accounting.

"We don't do body counts," Tommy Franks, the U.S. commander in Iraq, famously said after the fall of Saddam in 2003.

In Afghanistan, the civilian death count ranges from 11,700 to 13,900. For Pakistan, where there is little access to the battlefield and the United States fights mostly through aerial drone attacks, the study found it impossible to distinguish between civilian and insurgent deaths.

The numbers only consider direct deaths -- people killed by bombs or bullets. Estimates for indirect deaths in war vary so much that researchers considered them too arbitrary to report.

"When the fighting stops, the indirect dying continues. It's in fact worse than land mines. The healthcare system is still in bad shape. People are still suffering the effects of malnutrition and so on," Crawford said.

Even where the United States does do body counts -- for the members of the military -- the numbers may come up short of reality, said Lutz, the study's co-director. When veterans return home, they are more likely to die in suicides and automobile accidents.

"The rate of chaotic behavior," she said, "is high."

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Missy Ryan, Brett Gering, Laura MacInnis and Sharon Reich; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

TCA Hosts Istanbul Technical University President in D.C.

Image
ep. Cole with President Sahin and TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy.
June 18, 2011, Washington, DC - The president of Turkey's Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Professor M. Sahin, visited Washington, DC June 14-15, 2011 to promote ITU’s generous scholarship program for Native American students and to raise awareness for a new initiative to facilitate infrastructure development in Indian Country.
 
In collaboration with TCA, ITU launched a scholarship program in November 2009 to award 10 comprehensive scholarships to Native American students each semester. ITU’s new initiative, announced this year, will bring five additional Native American representatives to Turkey for an intensive, all-expenses paid workshop on infrastructure financing and development to support economic growth on tribal lands in the U.S.

Pelosi to Meet Representatives of Turkish American Community Ahead of Armenian Resolution

Image Ahead of discussions at the US Congress regarding another Armenian resolution,  Speaker of Democratic Party in the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, warmly approached the demand of Turkish American community to have a meeting to listen Turkish thesis regarding the incidents happened at the final days of Ottoman Empire.

Welcoming the representatives of Turkish American community during the opening ceremony of US Conference of Mayors, Pelosi promised Turkish group to make time for a meeting with Turkish representatives.

Nancy Pelosy (D – CA) was one of the leading figures in the U.S. House of Representatives working towards passing the bill recognizing so called Armenian genocide, which causes strain in Turkish American relations each time it is introduced by pro-Armenian politicians. One of the prominent figures in the domestic policy of U.S., Nancy Pelosi supports the meetings of Armenian diaspora and is towards using the term “genocide” for the incidents of 1915. Insisting on the Armenian bill which was opposed by US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi used to delay or reject Turkish community’s demands towards meeting.


Turkey's Ruling Party Wins Election

Image ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's ruling party surged to a third term in parliamentary elections Sunday, setting the stage for the rising regional power to pursue trademark economic growth, assertive diplomacy and an overhaul of the military-era constitution.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters gathered in front of his Justice and Development Party headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, late Sunday.

However, the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fell short of a two-thirds majority in parliament, a shortcoming that will force it to seek support for constitutional change from other political groups. Despite a record of democratic reform, the government has faced increasing criticism that it has sought to consolidate power at the expense of consensus-building.

Erdogan sought to allay those concerns in his victory speech, delivered from the balcony of the ruling party headquarters to thousands of ecstatic supporters who gathered below, chanting slogans and waving Turkish flags.

"We will be humble," said Erdogan, who pledged to start work on a new constitution. "We will be seeking consensus with the main opposition, the opposition, parties outside of parliament, the media, NGOs, with academics, with anyone who has something to say."

Erdogan's party won 50% of the votes, according to TRT, the state-run television. It said the Republican People's Party, the main opposition group, had 26% of the vote.

Hope Is High for Man Who May Become Turkey's First Christian MP for 50 Year

Image İstanbul - A 47-year-old former refugee has a chance to become the first Christian member of the Turkish parliament in half a century.

If he succeeds in parliamentary elections on Saturday, Erol Dora, an attorney, could also go some way in adjusting the electoral status quo in this mostly Muslim nation that critics say does not provide its religious minorities with fair representation.

"There has not been a Christian MP since the 1960s," Mr Dora said in an interview from his campaign in the south-eastern city of Mardin this week. "I don't think that's normal."

Mr Dora is a Syriac Christian, an ancient community that numbers about 13,000 in Turkey and that still uses Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.

The region around Mardin is the traditional home of Syriac Christians, but many fled to Istanbul or western Europe when Turkey's south-east became a battleground between Kurdish rebels and the government in the 1980s.

If elected, Mr Dora has promised to speak for Syriac Christians in the national assembly and "work for democracy as a Turkish citizen".

Mr Dora is running as an independent backed by the Party for Peace and Democracy, or BDP, Turkey's main Kurdish party.

Political parties in Turkey must gain at least 10 per cent of the national vote to enter parliament, but that clause does not apply to independent candidates.

The BDP, which holds 5 to 6 per cent in the polls, hopes to send deputies to Ankara by having them run as independents.

In Mardin, a region with an ethnic and religious mix of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Muslims, Christians and Yezidis, Mr Dora has a chance of being among the five deputies the province will send to Ankara.

His life story resonates with voters in the region. Mr Dora was born in a Syriac village that was evacuated by the military during the fighting between rebels and soldiers in the 1990s.

TBMM Baskani Sahin, 4. Geleneksel Dostluk Yemegi'nde Konustu

Friday, 25 March 2011 - Image Ali Cinar-New York, Mehmet Ali Şahin, New York'ta Türk Kültür Merkezi ve Türk Amerikan Dernekleri Konseyi tarafından düzenlenen ''4. Geleneksel Dostluk Yemeğine'' onur konuğu olarak katıldı.
Programa , New York Senatoru Kristen Gillibrand, Philidalphia Senatoru, Bob Casey, New York Kongre Uyesi Ed Towns, NYPD Baskani Ray Kelly, New York Eyalet Meclisi Üyesi Steven Cymrowitz gibi isimlerde katildi.
TBMM Başkanı Mehmet Ali Şahin, ''Türkiye ve ABD'nin çok geniş bir coğrafyada, kritik önem taşıyan  konularda, kapsamlı bir işbirliği yürüten iki dost ve müttefik ülke olduğunu, ancak iki demokratik ülke aralarında zaman zaman görüş ayrılıklarının yaşanmasının da doğal olduğunu'' söyledi. Friday, 25 March 2011 -

Hocali Katliami Anildi

02/26/2011  Image Ali Cinar - New York Ermenistan BM Daimi Temsilciliği binasının karşısındaki protesto gösterisi, Genç Türkler Derneği ve New York Azerbaycan Derneği tarafından çeşitli derneklerin de desteğiyle düzenlendi. Ellerinde Türk ve Azerbaycan bayrağı bulunan göstericiler yağmurun altında "Terörist Ermenistan" diye bağırdı ve "Hocalı İçin Adalet" yazılı pankartlar taşıdı.

Hocalı katliamı, 19. yılında New York'ta Ermenistan'ın BM Daimi Temsilciliği binası ve BM binasının önünde protesto edildi. Dünyanın birçok bölgesinde düzenlenen törenlerle katliamda hayatını kaybeden Azeriler anıldı.
NYPD gorevlileri protesto’da bir sorun olmamasi icin onlemini alirken,hava muhalefeti dolayi ise katilim cok istenilen duzetinde olmadi.

 

Online Sex Videos Force Resignations of Six Members of Turkish Opposition Party

Just weeks before general elections in Turkey, six leading members of an opposition party were forced to resign from Parliament on Saturday after sexually explicit videos of one of them were posted on the Internet.

The Web site that posted the videos had threatened to release others that it said showed the five other members who resigned.

The resignations could severely weaken the Nationalist Movement Party, the second largest opposition group in Parliament, which is struggling to win the minimum of 10 percent of the vote required to be seated in Parliament.

Four members of Parliament from the same party resigned earlier this month after similar videos were posted on the same Web site.
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