Monthly Newsletter
February 21, 2011 / Issue 12
In This Issue
Texas Drops Greek Patriarch Bill
Ambassador Ricciardone Receives ATAA
Çatı dernekler Ricciardone onuruna resepsiyon verdi
The Fourth Annual Turkish Canadian Youth Congress
ATAA TABAN Mobilizes Texan Turks
3rd Annual Macedonian-Turkish Friendship Happy Hour
Turkish Student Reception at Turkish Consulate
StarTurk
ATAA Remembers Frank Ahmed
Maryland American Turkish Association
ATAA in the News
Upcoming Events
The Recognition and Remembrance of the 1992 Khojaly Massacre
The ATAA serves as an information resource center for its members and component associations throughout the United States, while working locally and nationwide to develop an informed and effective Turkish American citizenry.  The ATAA is a major resource for experts, policy makers, and media who seek a deeper and broader understanding of U.S.-Turkish relations.  The ATAA is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed under the laws of the District of Columbia. To learn more about ATAA, please visit us at www.ataa.org. 

President's Message

Dear Turkish Americans and Friends of Turkey:
 
On March 16-19, 2011, ATAA and FTAA will jointly host the first Turkish American National Leadership Conference, Empowering Turkish Americans at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia.  March 17 Turkish American Capital Day will be dedicated to panels on US-Turkish Relations and Grassroots, and include Congressional visits.  March 18, Turkish American Solidarity Day will be dedicated to civic engagement education and training.  March 19, Young Turks Day, will be dedicated to more than 15,000 Turkish students who are attending college in the United States and Turkish Student Associations nationwide.
 
FTAA President Kaya Boztepe and I are grateful to Ambassador Namik Tan and Madame Tan for their strong support for Turkish American solidarity.  President Boztepe and I are working hard to provide a great conference at a great price, so that the broadest possible of spectrum of Turkish Americans and their local and national leaders will be able attend.  Please register now and take advantage of great room rates!
 
Conference highlights include MSNBC and the Young Turks TV show host Cenk Uygur speaking on "Empowering Turkish American".  Congresswoman Virginia Foxx will provide opening remarks on behalf of the Turkish Caucus, hopefully joined by MP Suat Kiniklioglu who Chairs the Turkish Grand National Assembly Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.  Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille will also provide opening remarks, hopefully joined by Arlington County Chairman Chris Zimmerman, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, and the venue's host district Congressional member, Jim Moran.
 
Probable keynote speakers include Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu.
 
Professor Justin McCarty will discuss his new book "The Turk in America"; World Affairs Councils of America National Chairman Ambassador Marc Grossman to discuss the importance of educating grassroots America about Turkey; Birmingham International Center Director Iris Gross to discuss spotlighting Turkey in state education; documentary producer Marty Callaghan has been invited to discuss Turkey-related programming on PBS; Former Istanbul Consul General Sharon Wiener to discuss American diplomatic corp's broader mission in Turkey; and, Turkish Consuls and Honorary Consuls General nationwide to discuss public services provided by the Consulates to Turks in America.
 
All members of the Congressional Turkish American and Azerbaijan American Caucuses, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee have been invited.  Ambassador Namik Tan and Madame Tan will host a dinner for all participants at their historic residence.  Entertainment will be a surprise, which we will share with you soon!
 
On a separate, but equally important matter, as you aware, the ATAA election process has commenced.  Turkish Americans are sending in their recommendations to the ATAA Nominating Committee, which is bound by the ATAA bylaws to nominate the best possible candidates for the open positions, one of which is President-Elect.  The person we elect as ATAA President-Elect for the term June 2011 - June 2013, will be ATAA President in 2015, a year which will require the best Turkish American advocacy to rebut Armenian allegations.  Simultaneously, Congressional terms leading to April 2015 will be the current 112th, which is Republican dominated and is expected to be adverse to Armenian resolutions, and the 113th (January 2013 - January 2015) and 114th (January 2015- January 2016).
 
While the ATAA has achieved unprecedented performance and Turkish American solidarity, and produced a formidable Turkish American voice at the nation's capital, the ATAA's President for the term June 2013 - June 2015, will need to command spoken and written English, be a well integrated Turkish American, possess solid knowledge of history and current events, provide public statements and interviews on demand and often without the assistance of an advisor.  A strong pedigree of ATAA officers will be on duty to back the ATAA's 16th President, but the ATAA President will have to lead us and the community like no other who has preceded.
 
Respectfully yours,
 
Gunay Evinch (Övünç)
President
Assembly of Turkish American Associations

Texas Drops Greek Patriarch Bill

In a decision welcomed by Turkish Americans in Texas and religious freedom advocates alike, Texas decided to drop Concurrent Resolution SCR No. 4 which called for ecumenical status for the Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul, Turkey.  The bill's sponsor, Texas Senator Joan Huffman, and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced their decision not to take the measure to a floor vote on February 2, 2011.
 
In a joint letter to Texas Lt. Governor, President Gunay Evinch of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) and President Kaya Boztepe of the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA) expressed that the bill interfered with US - Turkish foreign affairs; discriminated against Turkish Muslims, Jews, and Christians who are not Greek Orthodox; and dangerously advocated against the secular democracy of Turkey which is based on European law and traditions.  While ATAA Regional VP Sibel Pakdemirli and Trustee Kursad Dogru lead state efforts, local chapters including TURANT Dallas lead by Saduman Gurbuz, ATA-Houston led by Gurcan Gulen, and the faith-based Turquoise Council lead by Kemal Oksuz ensured tremendous grassroots impact.  One of Texas' leading businessmen, Demir Karsan, who also heads Turkish PAC, mobilized hundreds of activists to visit their senators.  Given extremists are readily eager to sneak through anti-Turkish resolutions, ATAA and FTAA and their local chapters will continue to monitor this and similar anti-Turkish efforts.
 

Texas Eyaleti Rum Patrikhanesi ile ilgili tasarıyı durdurdu

Texas Eyalet Senatosunun  Türkiye'yi, Istanbul'daki Rum Ortodoks Kilisesini "ekümenik" kabul etmesini zorlayan ve teŞvik eden "BirleŞik SCR No. 4" sayili  tasarıyı durdurması Amerikalı Türkleri ve din özgürlüğünü savunan herkesi sevindiren bir karar oldu. Tasarının sunucusu Texas Eyalet Senatörü  Joan Huffman ve Texas Vali Yardımcısı David Dewhurst Texas'taki Türklere bu tasarıyı Senatoda oya getirmeyeceklerini bildirdiler.
 
Türk Amerikan Dernekleri Kurulu (ATAA) baŞkanı Günay Evinch ve Türk Amerikan Dernekleri Federasyonu (TADF) BaŞkanı Kaya Boztepe'nin 12 Ocak 2011 tarihinde birlikte yazdıkları ve Texas Senatosuna hitap eden mektupta bu eyalet tasarısının Türk-Amerikan iliŞkilerine müdahale ettiğini, Türk Müslüman, Türk Yahudi ve Yunan Ortodoks olmayan Türk Hıristiyanlarına karŞı ayırım yaptığını, ve Avrupa kanunları ve gelenekleri üzerine kurulmuŞ  laik demokratik  Türkiye Cumhuriyeti sistemini tehdit ettiğini belirtmiŞlerdi.
 
ATAA Texas BaŞkan Yardımcısı Sibel Pakdemirli, Texas'ta oturan ATAA Mütevvelli heyeti üyesi KürŞad Doğru'nun çalıŞmaları yanı sıra yerel dernekler son derece kuvvetli bir taban çalıŞmasıyla çok etkili oldular. Dallas Şehrinden Şaduman Gürbüz'ün baŞkanlık ettiği TURANT derneği, Houston'dan Gürcan Gülen'in baŞkanı olduğu ATA-Houston derneği, ve Kemal Oksuzun BaŞkanı olduğu Turkuaz derneğinin yoğun faaliyetleri çok tesirli oldu. Texasta önemli bir is adamı  ve ayni zamanda Turkish Pac'in lideri olan Demir Karsan, yüzlerce Türkü senatörlerini ziyaret için harekete geçirdi.
 
AŞırı militan etnik grupların sinsi bir Şekilde Türk aleyhtarı tasarıları gizlice eyalet meclislerine sokuŞturma adetlerini iyi tanıyan ATAA, FTAA ve yerel dernekler bu tip Türkiye aleyhindeki faaliyetleri yakından takip edeceklerdir.
Ambassador Ricciardone Receives ATAA 

On January 12, US Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, accepted ATAA for a special meeting at the Department of State.  Trustee Esma Akin and Capital Regional Vice President Demet Cabbar joined President Gunay Evinch.  President Evinch expressed that ATAA supports the Turkey - Armenia Protocols on a parallel track with the ending of the Armenian occupation of western Azerbaijan and the safe return of over one million Azeri refugees to their homes.  ATAA expressed that on the island of Cyprus, ATAA supports a bi-zonal, bi-communal state solution based on the equality of the two island communities and the easement of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, or in the more realistic alternative, the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.  ATAA expressed that in the Aegean Sea, ATAA supports six-mile territorial seas and air space, in order to maximize the benefits of Aegean waters and skies for both Turkey and Greece, along the lines of the Torres Straits compromises between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.  ATAA welcomed recent U.S. court decisions against PKK terrorism, and emphasized ATAA's universal application of the term "terrorist" to all organizations which engage in political violence against civilians and countries.  ATAA further expressed ATAA's concern that an Ecumenical status for the Greek Orthodox Church would run counter to European secular democracy, particularly in Turkey where religion is traditionally private and in the Balkans and Middle East where religion can be volatile.  Finally, ATAA affirmed ATAA's policy to lead mainstream Turkish Americans based on the principle of solidarity within diversity in support of an empowered Turkish American community and ever stronger US-Turkish relations. 
Çatı dernekler Ricciardone onuruna resepsiyon verdi
 
Türk Amerikan çatı dernekleri, ATAA, FTAA ve TA  Ankara'ya tayin olan Büyükelçi Francis Ricciardone için büyük bir resepsiyon düzenlediler.
 
Washington'un en güzide bir mekanı olan Cosmos Club'ta üye olan ATAA Mütevelli Heyeti Üyesi Profesör Doktor Esma Akın'ın yardımıyla düzenlenen resepsiyona Washington'dan ATAA BaŞkanı Gunay Evinch ve Washington, Maryland, Virginia dernek temsilcileri New York'tan FTAA BaŞkanı Kaya Boztepe ve New York ve New Jersey den  Türk dernek temsilcileri, ve Turkic Alliance BaŞkanı Faruk Taban ve dernek temsilcilerinin bulunduğu toplantıya Büyük Elci Namık Tan, Askeri AtaŞe Tuğgeneral Murat Yıldırım ve eŞi, yeni TRNC Temsilcimiz Dilek Yavuz Yanık, AFOT BaŞkanı eski Büyükelçi Alan Lukens, eski Büyükelçi Henrik Liljegren, eski İstanbul Konsolosu Sharon Wiener, Makedonya, Yahudi, Kuzey Kıbrıs, Azeri toplumlarının liderleri ve gazeteciler katıldılar.
 
Büyük Elçi Namık Tan Türk toplumunun birleŞik bir Şekilde çalıŞmasından cok memnun olduğunu belirtti. Yeni Büyükelçi Ricciardone'yi çok eskiden tanıdığını  ve ona Ankara'da çok verimli ve baŞarılı bir görev süresi dilediğini söyledi.
 
Büyükelçi Riccardione de Türk Amerikan  iliŞkilerinin iki memleketin kendi çıkarlarına öncelik veren bir politikayla daha realist ve olgun bir devreye girdiğini belirtti.
The Fourth Annual Turkish Canadian Youth Congress
 
The Fourth Annual Youth Congress organized by CTC (Council of Turkish Canadians) in Vancouver, Canada between January 14 and 16 was a resounding success.  More than 200 young Turkish Canadians from all corners of Canada attended the 3-day event full of educational conferences, scholarly panels, motivational contests, Turkish food, music, and dances. 
 
Organizers Zahide Sezermen, Banu Pamukcu,  Lale Eskicioglu, Murat Saatcioglu, Yashar Mugan, Ilke Hincer, Ozay Mehmet,  Kevser Korhan, Demet Edeer, Kenan Tan, and many others created an excellent program that financed the costs of the conference including travel and accommodation for the about 200 Turkish-Canadian youths, guests and some panelist.  While TCA helped with financing with a generous grant to this exquisite cultural event,  majority of the financing of the congress came through donations by numerous Turkish Canadian businesses and individuals, making it a genuine grassroots event. 
 
Vancouver MP, Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh, also a member of the Canadian cabinet, addressed the opening.

Scott Taylor, former Canadian soldier and hostage in Iraq, author, and editor and publisher of Esprit De Corps, was at hand to talk about his upcoming documentary, made by National Geographic, where he was saved by a Turkish female journalist and co-hostage from certain death by beheading at Fallujah in 2004.  The congress attendees were treated to a preview of the 50 minute film on Sunday, the last day of the Congress.  He also introduced two of  his new books and he should be invited to an ATAA event soon for a repeat performance. 

Berkan Pazarci, Deputy Head of Turkish Mission at Ottawa, brought with him the congratulatory message of the Turkish Ambassador who happened to be visiting Turkey.  
 
  
Prof. Justin McCarthy of U of Louisville made a very impressive power point presentation on "Countering the Historical Falsehood."
 
Prof. Umut Uzer of University of Utah on Identity and Turkish Policy and Its Effects on Turkish Youth Living Abroad." 

ATAA's President Elect Ergun Kirlikovali talked about "Challenges Facing Us in North America and Building Support For Turkish Community" giving examples of bias and bigotry drawing from personal experiences and ending with a message "even one person can make a difference and that person is you,"  stirring the audience into a standing ovation. 

Lale Eskicioglu's election experience was an eye opener for all.  The amount of bias, bigotry, and vitriol this brave Turkish-Canadian lady endured and how she fought back is a lesson for all of us. 

Young psychiatrist Alper Caglayan mesmerized the audience with his new technique he is pioneering on "Compassionate Communication for Successful and Fulfilling Lives in Canada" was very inspiring. 

There are about 50,000 Turkish-Canadians and about 500,000 Turkish-Americans, i.e. ten times as many.  Yet, this congress, the fourth consecutive one in its series, held at a different corner of Canada each year, gathering different representatives of Turkish-Canadian youths to educate, motivate, and mobilize them into public advocacy promoting better understanding of Turkish heritage and improvement of Turkey-Canada relations, was certainly something Turkish-Americans can learn from.  The professionalism the dedication, the determination, the sophistication, and perhaps most importantly, the passion, were second to none. 
ATAA TABAN Mobilizes Texan Turks
 
ATAA's Turkish American Broad Advocacy Network (TABAN) grassroots training program attracted over 50 Texan Turkish activists in Houston, including local leaders and volunteers, and strong student representation from Dallas.  ATA-Houston President Gurcan Gulen organized the event, working closely with ATAA Grassroots Coordinator Yenal Kucuker, Regional VP Sibel Pakdemirli, and ATAA Trustee Chairman Kursad Dogru.  ATAA President Gunay Evinch opened the program with a presentation on the ever strengthening and effective Turkish American public advocacy network, which today includes three separate fields of expertise and independent activity, including public education, campaign financing, and law.  Evinch stated that ATAA was proud to be a leading national organization in the field of public education on issues that effect Turkish Americans and US-Turkish relations.  Evinch expressed that ATAA was working in solidarity with two other major Turkish American national membership organizations, the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA) led by President Kaya Boztepe and the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) led by President Faruk Taban.  Evinch stated that the expertise and grant support of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), led by Lincoln McCurdy, was invaluable.  Evinch expressed his gratitude to the Turkish American activists:  "The brunt of a community's interest is defended and promoted generally by less than 5% of the population of that community -- we call this the critical mass.  You are the Turkish American critical mass in Texas, and the community is forever grateful to you.  ATAA is at your service and thanks you."  
 
ATAA Grassroots Director Kucuker followed with a presentation that summarized the TABAN activities in 2010 and emphasized the importance of continuing these activities and increasing community awareness and activism through systematic public education and advocacy. Houston was ATAA's 40'th TABAN program since 2008, and Kucuker's 10th in 2010.  The students particularly, welcomed Kucuker's knowledge, experience, bilingual articulation, youthful energy, and great enthusiasm for the community.
 
Special guest was Ambassador Namik Tan, who briefed the audience on the state of US-Turkish affairs, and the various consular services provided by his Embassy and Consulates to Turkish citizens nationwide.  The community was very appreciative of the Turkish Foreign Mission's strong community outreach, and of Ambassador Tan's warmness, sincerity and approachability.
 
Consul General Oktem's Reception Mobilizes Solidarity
 
Following the TABAN program, over 200 Turkish Americans gathered at Consul General Oktem's magnificent residence for a Turkish wine and cheese reception.  ATAA, FTAA and TAA local chapters that were represented were ATA Houston, ATA San Antonio, TURANT Dallas, and the faith-based Raindrop Group.  Consul General Oktem, loved by all for his kindness and deep care for the community, was a gracious host and was noted for bringing together Turkish Americans from all walks of life under one roof.  A popular diplomat in Houston, Consul General Oktem also attracted the Consul Generals of many other countries, as well as top city officials.
3rd Annual Macedonian-Turkish Friendship Happy Hour
 
On January 24, 2011, The Assembly of Turkish American Associations and the United Macedonian Diaspora held the 3rd Annual Macedonian-Turkish Friendship Happy Hour at ATAA's Turkish House Washington, D.C.  Over 80 guests joined in the festivities, which featured Macedonian and Turkish wine and cuisine, and traditional music and dancing, making it the most attended ATAA Macedonian-Turkish Friendship Happy Hour thus far.
 
ATAA President Gunay Evinch welcomed the guests, "The Turkish House is your house.  Turks and Macedonians share a common heritage from the Ottoman centuries.  Today, Turkey is a main supporter of Macedonia, and Macedonia is a gem in the Balkans.  ATAA is personally committed to supporting Macedonian Americans and Macedonia.  I am personally dedicated, for my grandparents came from Skopje and Kumanovo, Macedonia to Manisa, Turkey, and from Turkey to the United States.  I am a proud Turkish American of Ottoman Macedonian heritage, and now we are all proud Americans in this great country!"
 
"The Turkish-American community, through its representative organizations like ATAA, has been a true and strong supporter of the Macedonian-American community, and our homeland Macedonia," said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski.  "The partnership between our two people will only grow in the years to come...the Happy Hour has become larger every year, and provides a perfect opportunity for Macedonian- and Turkish-Americans to network, learn about one another, and form greater friendships with each other."
 
Representatives of both the Macedonian and Turkish Embassies in Washington, D.C. attended the Happy Hour.  The Macedonian Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission Milan Spiridonovski gave remarks during the Happy Hour and thanked the Turkish-American community for their strong friendship citing his personal relationships with Turkish people.  DCM Spiridonovski, who attended with his wife Aneta Spiridonovska, greeted the audience with a few Turkish words impressing everyone in the room. 
 
The night ended with Macedonian-Americans, Turkish-Americans, and friends of Macedonia and Turkey joining together to dance to traditional and modern Macedonian and Turkish music.  "Culture and music are the best ambassadors for Macedonia and Turkey, and the joining of hands in these dances symbolized our strong bonds of friendship," commented Koloski.
 
United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is a leading international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
 
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) represents Turkish American local chapters nationwide on issues effecting the Turkish American community and US-Turkish relations by educating the public and supporting informed decision making in government and informed reporting in the media.
Türk Amerikan Dernekleri Kurulu (ATAA) ve BirleŞik Makedonian Diaspora (UMD) grubu son senelerde  beraber verdikleri  dostluk partilerinin üçüncüsünü  ATAA Türk evinde 24 Ocakta yaptılar. 80'den fazla kiŞinin geldiği bu parti Türk ve Makedon yemekleri, Şarapları, müziği ve dansları ile Şimdiye kadar yapılan en kalabalık ve  eğlenceli bir toplantı oldu. 
 
ATAA BaŞkanı Günay Evinch misafirleri Şu sözlerle karŞıladı: "Türk evi sizin de evinizdir. Türk ve Makedonların Osmanlı İmparatorluğundan kalma güzel bir beraberlikleri ve geçmiŞleri vardır. Bugün Türkiye Makedonya'nın bas destekçisidir ve Makedonya Balkanlarda bir mücevher gibidir.  ATAA da  Makedonya ve Makedonyalı Amerikalılara destek vermeye kendini adamıŞtır. Benim ecdadım Makedonya'nın Üsküp ve Kumanovo Şehirlerinden Manisa, Türkiye'ye gelmiŞler, ben de Türkiye'den Amerika'ya geldim . Ben aslımın Osmanlı Makedon olmasından ve simdi de bir Amerikalı Türk olmaktan gurur duyuyorum.
 
UMD'nin baŞkanı Meto Koloski de Amerika'da Türk Amerikan toplumunun temsilcisi olan ATAA, Makedonyalı Amerikalılara ve Makedonya'ya çok yakınlık göstermiŞ ve destek vermiŞtir dedi. İki toplum arasındaki bu güzel dostluk gittikçe kuvvetlenecek, toplantılarımız daha da büyüyecektir diye ilave etti. İki toplum arasındaki iletiŞim ağı ve dostluk çoğalacaktır diyerek sözlerini bitirdi.
 
Türk ve Makedon Elçiliklerinden gelen temsiciler de dostluk partisine katıldılar. Makedon Elciliğinin Elci MüsteŞarı Sayın Milan Spiridonovski da kısa bir konuŞma yaparak Türk Amerikan toplumunun dostluğuna teŞekkür etti, ve Türklerle olan Şahsi iliŞkilerinden bahsetti. EŞi sayın Aneta Spiridonovska ile beraber gelmiŞ olan diplomat konuŞmasında Türkçe kelimelerle  herkesi etkiledi.
 
Gece bütün grubun Türk ve Makedon havalarıyla dans etmesiyle devam etti. Koloski kültür ve müziğin iki toplum arasında  en önemli birleŞtirici unsur olduğunu ve el ele tutuŞup dans etmenin dostluğu simgelediğini söyledi.
 
Washington Türk toplumundan ATA-DC'nin gönüllüleri Türkler arasında büyük çoğunluğu teŞkil ediyordu.
Turkish Student Reception at Turkish Consulate

Turkish Consulate of New York has organized a student reception in New York City. There were over 300 students from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. Ali Cinar, Northeast VP of ATAA has also made a speech regarding ATAA grassroots activities. He indicated that students should communicate with ATAA and FTAA if there are conferences or events against Turkey in their universities. Turkish Students are the future of Turkish-American Diaspora said Ali Cinar. ATAA is planning to organize  a student event at Harvard University in March 4, 2011.

Fahir Atakoğlu
An Award-winning  Turkish Composer and Pianist

A native of Turkey, born in Istanbul, award-winning composer and pianist Fahir Atakoglu is well known for his ambitious symphonic works and music for film. He has composed music for many of Turkey's top musicians, and earned a loyal international following through the release of eighteen albums, including the critically acclaimed If (2005) Istanbul in Blue (2008), and his latest release Faces & Places (2009), all featuring jazz/rock fusion with traditional Turkish influences. Both Istanbul in Blue and Faces & Places reflect the growth in Mr. Atakoglu's North American fans and growing market and both albums have made it to number 1 on the JazzWeek Charts. Employing unique rhythmic, melodic and harmonic sensitivities, Atakoglu's music reflects his many different cultural influences, which combine to create compositions with striking originality that still play in tune with the culture of his motherland. Amongst his many awards, he won First prize for Documentary at the Milano Film Festival 2000 for "Exile in Buyukada" and the best Song Award of Mega Channel, Greece, 2002, with Telos Dios Telos, sold over 400.000 copies. Ahmet Ertegun, of Atlantic Records, referred to Fahir Atakoglu as" .. one of the outstanding pianists and composers in Europe today ... at the cutting edge of the world music.


Esra Özben
A Turkish American Appointed To High State Office

Esra Özben was appointed Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary (ADAS) for Human Resources Operations by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki on December 5, 2010.
 
In this capacity, she advises and works closely with the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Human Resources Management, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and Assistant Secretary for Human Resources & Administration in managing day-to-day HR operations. As ADAS, Ms. Özben provides leadership and oversight for five HR service organizations: Central Office Human Resources (COHRS), Human Resources Information, Veterans Employment Coordination, Resources Management and Child Care Subsidy.

A native if Istanbul, Turkey, Ms Özben graduated from Ankara State Conservatory, where she was trained as a classical ballerina. Upon graduation, Ms. Özben performed with several dance companies in Europe before moving to U.S. where she started her Federal career as Department of the Army HR intern.
 
Ms. Özben has over 20 years of experience in the human resources profession. Prior to her SES appointment, she served as the Director of VA Central Office Human Resources Service (CHORS) where she managed and oversaw the day-to-day HR operations for Central Office and led COHRS' Human Capital Investment Plan initiatives. Immediately prior to her VA career, Ms. Özben served in several senior leadership positions in Department of Transportation (Federal Aviation Administration), Department of Treasury (Internal Revenue Service), and Headquarters, Department of the Army (Pentagon).

Ms. Özben obtained her HR Certificate from University of Virginia and graduated from the Federal Executive Institute, Leadership for a Democratic Society program. Her many recognitions and awards include Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service and Department of Transportation, Secretary's Award for Partnering for Excellence.
 
Ms. Özben has been a model citizen and ATAA is proud to have her as a member wishing her much success in future.  
 
 
As a part of the ATAA's  Community Information Service (CIS), the ATAA Executive Committee has decided to run the ATAA StarTURK program to recognize and commend successful Turkish Americans in the sciences, medicine, arts, business, literature, politics, sports and general vocations.  We invite the Turkish American community to participate in this program by writing to assembly@ataa.org regarding successful Turkish Americans in your communities.  
ATAA Remembers Frank Ahmed
 
Our beloved elder, Frank Ahmed, died in Fairfax Virginia on January 21 at the age of 86.

According to the Washington Post, "He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Mary Lou Ahmed, and children Ann Marie MaCauley, Robert Frank Ahmed, Alison Ahmed-Regen, their spouses, nine grandchildren, and his brother George Ahmed of Salem MA and family. Service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of the Salem Public Library, 370 Essex St., Salem MA 01970."
 
Well before the founding of the ATAA, Frank was a strong voice in the Turkish American community.  Turkish Americans have been inspired and strengthened by his insights and guidance. His solid American patriotism and openhearted internationalism was in the finest tradition of the Turkish immigrants who have worked to adapt and apply the best of their ancestral heritage to the enrichment and strengthening of our American life.
 
Frank's father, Yakup Ahmed, immigrated from Harput, roughly 50 miles east of the Euphrates River, to the United States as the Armenian Revolt sought to create an ethnically, religiously and politically homogenous Armenian state in eastern Ottoman Anatolia.    He married Frank's mother, Olive LeMount, a French-Canadian immigrant. They settled in Salem, Massachusetts.
 
In 1993 Frank published TURKS IN AMERICA: The Ottoman Turk's Immigrant Experience (Library of Congress Call Number: E184.T9 A38 1993; LC Control No 00321635. Published by Columbia International, Greenwich CT: 1993) regarding early Turkish American immigration and his family's personal experiences.  In various places, the book also provides readers with a general description of the basic teachings and principles of Islam. 

As a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Frank - and his family - spent three years in Turkey (1968-71).  The American and Turkish Veterans Association (ATVA) recognized Frank's military service in 2006.  The November theme page includes a photo of Frank taken during the World War II Battle of Bougainville, where he received a Purple Heart while serving with the United States Army's 23rd Infantry Division, the "Americal Division."

We can judge Frank's humanitarianism by the fact that he began his book's Preface with a quotation by another American patriot, Thomas Paine, who wrote:  "In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, other than that he divest himself of prejudice and prepossession for themselves; that he will put on, or rather that he will not put off, the true charter of man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day." (Common Sense, 1776)

Frank's sentiments are embodied in the work of ATAA. Thank you Frank.  May God keep your soul in peace, and bless your widow, children and grandchildren.
ATAA Component Association Spotlight
Maryland American Turkish Association - MATA

The Maryland American Turkish Association (MATA) was founded in 1964, and incorporated in the State of Maryland in 1967 as a non-profit charitable, cultural, educational, and religious organization.   MATA is a local organization which has attempted to convey a sense of community to those individuals of Turkish-American heritage and those individuals interested in Turkish culture and issues.
  
Contact Information:
President: Orhan H. Suleiman
Address: P.O. Box 762,Columbia, MD 21045
E-mail: info@atamd.org 
Website:www.atamd.org
Opportunities to Advertise in the ATAA E-Newsletter
 
The ATAA e-Newsletter reaches approximately 16,000 individuals throughout the United States, Canada and Turkey. The ATAA is now accepting banner ads from businesses that wish to reach the Turkish-American community.  For advertising rates and options or other advertising related inquiries, please e-mail to advertising@ataa.org
ATAA in the News
  • Devlet Bakanı Yazıcı, ABD'de Türk Toplumu Temsilcileriyle Biraraya Geldi
    TurkishNY, February 7, 2011
  • Bıraktığım Türkiye ile Şimdiki çok farklı
    ntvmsnbc.com, February 2, 2011
  • Ricciardone: Türkiye, Çok Farklı
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  • ATAA, TADF ve TAA, Ricciardone Onuruna Resepsiyon Verdi
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  • AFOT ile "Efes'te Bir Aksam"
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  • Washington`da Türk - Makedon Dostluk BuluŞması
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  • ATAA ve TADF`den Texas Vali Vekiline Mektup
    AmerikaliTurk, January 25, 2011
  • BaŞkonsolos Samsar'dan Türkevi'nde Ögrenci Resepsiyonu
    TurkishNY, January 23, 2011
  • ABD'de Türk Dernekler Bir Araya Geldi
    TurkishNY, January 23,2011
  • ABD Yüksek Mahkemesi Soykırım dersleriyle ilgili davayı geri çevirdi
    AmerikaliTurk, January 21, 2011
Upcoming Events
2011 Khojaly Memorial Presentation
Friday, February 25, 2011
7:00pm
The George Washington University
Marvin Center, Room 307
800 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
For more Information: khojaly-dc.eventbrite.com 
 
2011 Khojaly Memorial Rally
Friday, February 25, 2011
12:00PM - 2:00 PM
In front of the Embassy of Armenia
2225 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Info: bedir@usazeris.org
Organizers byAzerbaijani community in Washington, DC and U.S. Azeris Network (USAN)


ATAA Winterfest Fundraiser
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Turkish Embassy Residence
405 E 42nd St. NY, NY 10017
Registration Form: www.ataa.org

Turkish American National Leadership Conference
Empowering Turkish Americans
March 17-19, 2011
Washington, DC
For more information: www.ataa.org
The Recognition and Remembrance of the 1992 Khojaly Massacre

On February 26, 2011, Azerbaijani- and Turkic-Americans will mark the 19th anniversary of the massacre committed by the Armenian forces during the occupation of the town of Khojaly, in the course of 1991-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to the Human Rights Watch, 613 Azerbaijani civilians including 106 women and 83 children were massacred with varying degrees of brutality by the occupying forces. The perpetrators of this crime preceding Srebrenica massacre were never investigated or brought to justice. Join all Azerbaijani and Turkic-Americans to request an official remembrance on the 19th anniversary of Khojaly Massacre, and to call for justice to the victims and the perpetrators of this war crime. TAKE ACTION NOW!
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 countries 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. Please visit www.ataa.org for more information.