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The July 15 Coup Attempt in Turkey: One Year On

THO and a distinguished panel of experts on July 13 for a new look at the July 15 coup attempt one year later and its ongoing impact on the U.S.-Turkey relationship as well as Turkey's regional outlook. Last year's failed coup attempt, carried out by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), took a considerable toll on the Turkish nation and created enormous domestic, regional, and international risks.

Comodo and e-Safer Certificate Division TrustCert Partner to Expand Cybersecurity Solutions in Brazil

CLIFTON, N.J., July 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Comodo, a global innovator and developer of cybersecurity solutions and the worldwide leader in digital certificates, and TrustCert, a Brazilian division of e-Safer specializing in TLS/SSL digital certificates, today announced a new partnership to provide Comodo digital certificates solutions and managed security services to the Brazilian market. The partnership supports Comodo's strategy to expand its reach into fast-growing global markets by establishing partnerships and enabling strategic relationships with local technology companies.


TrustCert is led by the same founders of e-Safer, one of the fastest growing information security companies in Brazil, and will be one of the first to offer Comodo's newest managed security service for websites and applications, Comodo cWatch Web, in the region.

"Monitoring and maintaining current security practices has become increasingly complex in Brazil," said William Bergamo, president of e-Safer and co-founder of TrustCert. "Our partnership with Comodo helps us solve this problem and deliver innovative new solutions, such as cWatch Web, so our customers can trust their businesses and protect against online threats."

Michael Fowler, president of Comodo CA, said, "Expanding Comodo's solutions in Brazil through TrustCert, with deep security background from its parent company e-Safer, will provide customers with advanced cybersecurity solutions from a local specialist. This is necessary in the environment and will further Brazil's internet safety overall. We are excited to collaborate with the TrustCert team and to strengthen its ability to provide PKI certificate management platforms, a full suite of PKI products, and managed security services that cater to businesses of all sizes."

Comodo solutions will be available through TrustCert in the summer of 2017 at http://www.trustcert.com.br/.  

About Comodo
The Comodo organization is a global innovator of cybersecurity solutions, protecting critical information across the digital landscape. Building on its unique position as the world's largest certificate authority, Comodo authenticates, validates and secures networks and infrastructures from individuals to mid-sized companies to the world's largest enterprises. Comodo provides complete end-to-end security solutions across the boundary, internal network and endpoint with innovative technologies solving the most advanced malware threats, both known and unknown. With global headquarters in Clifton, New Jersey and branch offices in Silicon Valley, Comodo has international offices in China, India, the Philippines, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit comodo.com.

Comodo and the Comodo brand are trademarks of the Comodo Group Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. The current list of Comodo trademarks and patents is available at comodo.com/repository.

Keep up to date with the latest Comodo News from the Comodo blog at https://blog.comodo.com/ and on Twitter @ComodoNews.

Connect with Comodo on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/comodo.

About e-Safer and TrustCert
e-Safer is a company specializing in information security and digital transformation solutions. Founded in 2012, it has experienced rapid growth and expansion of its activities throughout the Brazilian market. Within the focused and highly specialized work strategy, the founders of e-Safer created TrustCert, a company focused on TLS / SSL digital certificates, delivering a specialized reseller in guiding the customer to the best certificate for their profile and supporting them with  highly specialized technical support. Through workshops and lectures on the subject, TrustCert seeks to raise awareness among all web users about the importance of using SSL and TLS.

Yildirim to Sell CMA CGM Stake as Plans to Buy Ports America

(Bloomberg) -- Yildirim Holding AS is seeking buyers for its stake in the world’s third-biggest container shipper as the family-owned Turkish company presses ahead with a plan to acquire Ports America Holdings Inc., a U.S. maritime-terminal operator. Yildirim mandated China Citic Bank Corp. to find investors from Asia or the Persian Gulf for its 24 percent interest in CMA CGM SA, Chairman Yuksel Yildirim said in an interview in Istanbul on Monday. Investment banks have valued the holding, which Yildirim bought for $600 million over a period spanning 2010 and 2011, at $2.5 billion to $3 billion based on recent deals in the industry, he said.


“We will either exit our investment completely or remain as an ordinary shareholder,” Yildirim said. A plan to sell the stake in the French company back to its majority owners failed in 2015, he said. 

Yildirim is seeking a financial investor to join a bid by its Yilport Holding AS unit for Ports America as part of a plan to be among the 10 biggest container-terminal operators in the world by 2025, the chairman said. Ports America, the largest independent maritime terminal operator on the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts with 42 locations, is owned by Oaktree Capital Group’s private-equity unit, Highstar Capital.
Facing Challenges

Yilport, which has $1.7 billion including bank loans and equity to finance its share of the acquisition, is facing difficulties in finding a financial partner for the New Jersey-based operator, Yildirim said. Yilport operates 26 maritime terminals in Turkey, Portugal, Ecuador, Sweden and Malta, among others.

“Alliances and consolidations in the container-shipping industry in the past year have widened the difference between what buyers expect and what sellers are ready to pay,” reducing returns for financial investors, he said. Yilport has an exclusivity agreement signed in April with Oaktree that will expire at the end of July, and aims to complete the acquisition by the end of this year, Yildirim said.

Yildirim said he will also hold talks soon with six strategic investor groups in China to sell half of its stake in a $5 billion project to develop a coal mine, build a railway link and a port in Colombia after his Best Coal Co., a unit of Yilmaden Holding AS, bought the assets from CCX Carvao da Colombia SA in 2014.

Best Coal has a lifespan of about 35 years and the coal could be sold to buyers in Turkey, China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, he said. “We can even sell a majority stake to the investor if we get a good price for this project.”

A series of talks with private-equity firms including companies from the U.S., Europe and China to sell a minority stake at Yilport failed after potential investors adapted a “wait-and-see” policy toward Turkey because of political uncertainty in the country, Yildirim said. JPMorgan Chase & Co., which managed the process of negotiations, is still mandated should a “new window of opportunity opens up,” he said.

Yildirim Holding aims to achieve $2.2 billion of sales this year from $1.6 billion a year ago, while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, is expected to rise to $719 million from $465 million in 2016, Yildirim said. Yilport’s revenue is forecast to reach $650 million with Ebitda rising to $208 million this year from $560 million and $140 million, last year, he said.


Chobani Founder Launches Fund to Support Young Turkish Entrepreneurs

The Turkish-born businessman who established one of the most successful food businesses in the U.S. has set up a $5 million fund to support young Turkish entrepreneurs and start-ups for five years. Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of U.S. yogurt brand Chobani, launched the Hamdi Ulukaya Initiative, known as HUG in Turkish, to give education and consulting support for 24 entrepreneur candidates and 12 start-up firms. Ulukaya moved from Ankara to the United States in 1994 where he transformed a shuttered factory into a flourishing yogurt company. Chobani now employs people in areas where jobs were formerly scarce, such as south-central Idaho and upstate New York.


"This initiative has a very special place for me because this time our aim is to make a difference in Turkey and realizing it through entrepreneurship," Ulukaya said in a statement.

Emphasizing that speaking English or a college degree was not required to participate in the program, Ulukaya said that they would rather ask candidates about their dreams or whether they had participated in social responsibility projects.

In its maiden year, the fund received applications from 3,330 entrepreneurs and 394 start-ups for the Entrepreneur Candidate Support Program and the Start-up Support Program. Winning applicants began business training in Istanbul, and during the three-week-long part in the U.S. that began Monday, they will attend workshops at Chobani facilities, seminars at the University of New York and visit several company and start-up headquarters. Start-ups will also be allowed to develop their own companies at the Chobani Incubation Center based in SoHo, New York.

Ulukaya added that since the time he founded Chobani, he has measured his commercial success with social benefits. Known for his philanthropy, last year Ulukaya gave 10 percent of his own stake in the company to its 2,000 employees. He also hired hundreds of refugees to work for the company and established the Tent Foundation, dedicated to improving the lives and livelihoods of the world's displaced people.

He was named among Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in 2017. The following six startup companies were chosen to receive support through the program:

Otsimo: A mobile platform that aims to provide free education for children with autism through various games based on applied behavioral analysis.
E-Bursum (E-Scholarship): An online platform that brings together students, companies and individual supporters to increase students' access to scholarships.
Reflect: A design company that aims to create sustainable clothing designed based on experiences of people in need.
AgriKey: The company uses biotechnology to produce special plant food and plant protection products to improve productivity.
Unibble: A food-technology start-up aiming to deliver natural and innovative snacks through a membership system.
Hamamlook LLC: A beachwear company that imports handmade textile products produced in Turkey.

Turkish Airlines off U.S. Laptop Ban List

Emirates and Turkish Airways said on Wednesday they have also been exempted from a U.S. ban on laptops in airplane cabins, joining Etihad in satisfying American security concerns that had cut into the long-haul carriers' business. It remains unclear how the airlines addressed fears that the Islamic State or other militant groups might smuggle explosives in electronic devices. But in Turkey, authorities now use CT scanners to take cross-section images of passengers' electronics just before they board airplanes heading to the U.S.


Both airlines alerted the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees airplane safety in the United States, that "they are ready to comply with the enhanced security measures," said David Lapan, a Homeland Security spokesman in Washington. He declined to discuss specifics.

"Protecting the American people and raising the global baseline on aviation security remains the top priority," Lapan said. "We will continue to closely observe operations in these airports to ensure these enhanced measures are implemented effectively and to the required levels." Emirates' hub at Dubai International Airport has grown into the world's busiest for international traffic, in large part thanks to Emirates' expansion.

On Wednesday, Emirates said in a statement that it had worked to "implement heightened security measures and protocols" to satisfy American requirements. It did not elaborate, following a similar precedent set by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which American officials cleared on Sunday.

"We would like to express our gratitude to the U.S. and local authorities for their support and thank our customers for their understanding and patience during the last few months when the ban was in place," Emirates said.

In Istanbul, Turkish Airlines tweeted that passengers aboard its U.S.-bound flights should "fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your own electronic devices." A statement from the airline said it had taken over 81,000 electronic devices away from passengers to store them in specially protected baggage during the 102 days the ban was in place.

The U.S. laptop ban, first announced in March as a security measure, now applies to nonstop U.S.-bound flights from seven international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Cairo; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; and Doha, Qatar. In May, U.S. President Donald Trump shared highly classified intelligence with senior Russian officials visiting the White House about the Islamic State group wanting to use laptops to target aircraft.

Qatar Airways, the last of the three major Gulf long-haul carriers on the list, declined to answer questions Wednesday about the ban. That airline already has been blocked from much of its neighbors' airspace over an ongoing dispute with four Arab nations.

Speaking in London, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that American TSA officials were "already in Doha."

"I think they arrived yesterday," Sheikh Mohammed told a crowd at Chatham House. "This is an ongoing process and I think irrelevant to the entire" political crisis.

Saudi Arabian Airlines has said it hopes to be off the ban list "on or before July 19."

There is a precedent for concern over laptops being used as bombs. Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab said it planted a bomb inside a laptop-like device that exploded on a plane leaving Mogadishu in February 2016, killing only the bomber.

However, the security concerns also come amid a wider dispute between Gulf airlines and American carriers, which accuse the Middle East airlines of flooding the market with flights while receiving billions of dollars of unfair government subsidies. The Gulf carriers all vigorously deny that.

The laptop ban, coupled with the Trump administration's travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries, has hurt Middle Eastern airlines. Emirates, the region's biggest, said it slashed 20 percent of its flights to America in the wake of the restrictions. The airline said Wednesday it now flies 103 flights a week to the U.S.

Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune

Turkish NGOs Warn US Against Cooperating with FETO

Turkish groups on Tuesday published a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post newspaper urging U.S. President Donald Trump not to cooperate with terror groups. The open letter by the Turkish-American National Steering Committee (TASC), which represents nearly 150 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) based in the U.S., emphasized the strengths of the Turkey-U.S. partnership in security and trade. The letter was published on the same day that President Trump hosted his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdo

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump Hold Talks

Meeting between Turkish and US leaders comes just days after Trump's decision to arm Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held talks on a range of bilateral issues at the White House with US President Donald Trump. The main two topics on Tuesday's agenda were Trump's decision to send weapons to Syrian Kurdish forces of YPG and Turkey's request for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim leader.

Hafize Gaye Erkan Is Named President of First Republic Bank

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC), a leading private bank and wealth management company, today announced that its Board of Directors ratified the appointment of Hafize Gaye Erkan as President. As President, Erkan will work closely with all members of the executive management team in executing and further improving the Bank

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