Turkish American National Convention A Success
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), lead by President Ergun Kirlikovali, completed yet another successful annual convention, and made history once again by uniting all major Turkish and Turkic American national organizations in the common cause of empowering Turkish and Turkic Americans.
Over the course of three days, more than 300 Turkish and Turkic community leaders from across the country convened in Washington DC to discuss the continued empowerment of the Turkish American community within the principles of "solidarity within diversity", coined by ATAA Former President and Convention Chairman Gunay Evinch.
Major sponsors of the Convention included the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) lead by Lincoln McCurdy and the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commerce (TOBB-USA) lead by Rifat Hisarciklioglu.
Other participants included the Ahiska Turkish American Community Center (ATACC) lead by Islam Shakbandarov; Azerbaijan Society of America (ASA) lead by Tomris Azeri; Azerbaijani American Council (AAC) and Pax Turcica Institute (PTI) lead by Javid Huseynov; United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) lead by Meto Koloski, as well as the Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
Also participating were representatives from the American Somali, Uzbek, Kazak, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Tajik, Crimean, Arab, and Jewish communities.
The Convention was an unprecedented show of solidarity within diversity ranging from Anatolia and the Balkans to the Caucasus and Central Asia, and from the Middle East to Africa. The Convention synthesized universal principles as, "Peace at Home, Peace around the World" as set expressed by great Atatürk, with the great American tradition of all politics being local, which inspired the theme of the conference "Think Globally, Act Locally".
The first day of the Conference was hosted by Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) and covered key public advocacy programs such as lobbying by Congressman Mike McMahon, PACs by Lydia Borland, and legal defense strategies by Bruce Fein. ATAA Civic Engagement Director Yenal Kucuker spoke regarding the mission of the Turkish American Broad Advocacy Network (TABAN).
The second day commenced with webcam welcoming remarks by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (video)and Turkish Ministry Egemen Bagis (video). The first panel concentrated on Turkish American public advocacy in "3D" and "HD', where in a panel organized by Bulent Aliriza of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and including U.S. Department of State Director of Southern European Affairs Kathleen Allegrone, former Congressman Mike McMahon, and media representatives discussed the growing comparative advantages of the Turkish American lobby in the Executive Branch, Capitol Hill, law and media.
In the second panel, Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan and Former Ambassador Ross Wilson of the Atlantic Council discussed the multi-dimensional importance of the US-Turkish Partnership.
Luncheon Keynote Speakers were the Washington Representative of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ambassador Ahmet Erdengiz, who spoke on the legacy of the the late Rauf Denktas, and Thoms Goltz who spoke on the brutal occupation of Western Azerbaijan by Armenian forces and the subsequent problem of 1 million refugees.
The third day, Young Turks Days, commenced with a webcam message from Cenk Uygur, host of the Young Turks program on Current TV. Panels covered issues of immigration, civil rights and obligations, and Turkish American student associations. Over 100 Turkish student association leaders from across the country received grants to attend the Convention. Convention Chairman and former ATAA President Gunay Evinch thanked TOBB for their generous support, and the White House Office of Civic Engagement and Homeland Security for their participation. President Kirlikovali expressed, "My first and foremost goal as ATAA President has been and shall continue to be to pass the torch to the Turkish and Turkic American youth as well as support the empowerment of Turkish and Turkic American women.
The detailed program can viewed here.
Congratulations to the National Convention Planning Committee and its Chairman ATAA Past President Gunay Evinch for this excellent convention.
The Convention Hosts expressed their gratefulness for the continued and strong support to Ambassador Namik Tan and Madame Fugen Tan, the Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce (TOBB), Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF), Turkish Airlines, (THY), Turkish American Business Association (TABA), American Friends of Turkey (AFOT), American Turkish Council (ATC), Direct From Home TV (DFH), Turkish American Television Hour (TATV) and the staff, directors, and trustees of ATAA, FTAA and TACC.
32. Geleneksel Türk Amerikan Konferansı Sona Erdi