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April 30, 2012: Issue 24

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The ATAA, representing over 60 local chapters and 500,000 Turkish Americans throughout the United States, serves locally and nationwide to develop an informed and empowered Turkish American community, and to support strong U.S.-Turkish relations. The ATAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed under the laws of the District of Columbia. To learn more about ATAA, please visit us at
By becoming a member you will be part of a network of Turkish-Americans and friends of Turkey who care about the historic relationship between the two peoples and who are aware of the crucial role each one of us plays in strengthening the relationship and promoting an accurate and fair picture of Turkey and Turks. [Join ATAA]

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.

ATAA's traditional 32nd Annual Convention for the second year in a row included the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA), lead by President Ali Cinar. Joining this year was the third main sponsor, the Turkish American Community Centers and Mosques (TACC) lead by Secretary General Adem Buyukacar.

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 Ankara representatives of the newly established Turkish Prime Ministry Directorate of Turks Abroad gave a report on their activities to support Turkish integration and leadership in North America and Europe.

In the evening Ambassador Tan and Mrs. Tan hosted a warm reception for all the attendees of the Conference in the palatial Turkish Embassy Residence.

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 third day ended with a Gala attended by over 200, as Turkish folk and pop singer Esref Inceoglu and the NY Gypsies entertained with the music of Turkey and Azerbaijan. Keynote speaker and multi-millionare, Keystone CEO Ersal Ozdemir, spoke on the "Turkish American Dream". Ozdemir presented the Convention Excellence in Humanity Award to Rauf Denktas, which Rauf Denktas Jr. received on behalf of Denktas family.

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.

In the news:

32. Geleneksel Türk Amerikan Konferansı Sona Erdi
32. Geleneksel Türk Amerikan Konferansı Başladı
32. Geleneksel Türk Amerikan Konferansı
32. Türk Amerikan Ulusal Kongresi

32. Türk Amerikan Ulusal Kongresi Resepsiyonu
32. Türk Amerikan Ulusal Kongresi

Photo Credits:TurkishNY

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