A member of the Democratic Party from New Jersey, Taskin is hopeful for a healthy relationship between the US and Turkey, the country of her origin.

In US Presidential elections, voters select delegates instead of directly voting for a candidate. The US Electoral College consists of 538 electors who cast their official votes for president and vice president by being selected at the state level every four years.

An absolute majority of more than 270 Electoral College delegates is required for a presidential candidate to claim victory. Taskin belongs to the US state of New Jersey, which has 14 electors, and her elevation as a Democratic Party delegate is historic, given her Turkish background.  

Taskin, a businesswoman and politican, has been living in the US for 25 years and has served as the deputy mayor of Paterson, one of the largest cities of New Jersey. She is also an executive committee member of the National Coalition of Turkish-American Women Political Action Committee.

Her participation as a delegate, along with other 538 electors, will be marked on 10 December as they cast their official votes for president and vice president. 

Speaking to TRT World, Taskin said she gravitated towards American politics during her college days when she was studying Criminal Justice and Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University. 

“I read and learned more about the United States system, I wanted more involvement.  I contacted my local party and started passing out fliers and going door to door during the local election.  As time passed, I wanted to make more of a difference because I started to help my community who did not speak English to fill out forms and take advantage of certain benefits the state offered.  This brought me to the idea that with politics I can do more, but I had to start from the bottom and this is what I did,” Taskin said.  

For the last two years, she has been a treasurer at the Passaic County Women Democratic Organization, as well as an elected delegate in the Paterson Democratic Party.

“As part of a minority of female Muslims I had difficulties but those difficulties made me stronger and motivated me to work harder.   I just want to make a difference in people’s life and help and I believe I am doing this at least motivating people to get into politics and be more active,” she told TRT World. 

Taskin said she is proud of being a member of the US Electoral College and feels that her years of hard work at the Democratic Party have paid off. 

Speaking of her experience with her fellow Democratic Party members, she said the relationship is based on respect and trust. 

“They respect my culture and my identity and most importantly I gained my colleagues and my party’s leadership trust thus that they appointed me to this very important position. 

My colleagues in the Democratic Party are very interested in our Turkish food and they love eating our food and knowing about our culture and our holidays,” she said. 

As a Muslim Democrat, Taskin said American democracy has taken a massive hit under Trump’s presidency. 

“As a woman it doesn't matter whether democrat or republican, President Trump has no respect for women and also, he has no respect for men, he does it in a way not only verbally but the way he looks at women.  Trump is someone that he does not feel sorry or remorse for removing immigrant mothers from their little babies,” she said.   

“Trump’s own family turned against him. His own niece wrote about his attitude toward women. As a woman of Turkish origin, we grew up respecting our mothers; they are our everything. When I look at Trump’s attitude, I think no one can act in this manner to damage the great example of freedom and human rights the US shows”. 

Taskin hopes that with the new president in place, relations between America and Turkey will strengthen. 

“Turkey and US relations go back decades and have strong foundations.  During Trump’s term Ankara and Washington DC had fallen apart on certain issues. Now a new era is beginning with President Biden’s term.” 

President-elect Joe Biden understands the importance of NATO and the UN, says Taskin.

“Turkey and the US are two mutually allied countries with strong NATO and UN presence”. 

Source: TRT World