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The objective of the Assembly is to coordinate the activities of member Turkish American associations and individual members of the Assembly for the purpose of presenting a more balanced view of Turkey and of the Turkish people, and emphasizing the importance of enhanced understanding between Turkey and the United States. [more]


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PKK/KONGRA-GEL and Terrorism

ATAA President's Letter on PKK Terrorism

Dear Members of the Turkish American Community:

The ATAA Public Outreach Committee continues to work hard on issues related to U.S.-Turkish relations. Below is ATAA's letter to each member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as to the White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, and National Director of Intelligence providing education regarding PKK terrorism, Turkey's right of self defense against terrorism, and urging the United States to assist Turkey in taking out PKK terrorism now and forever by at least demonstrating the trust that Turkey can effectively defend itself.

In Turkey's time of need, the ATAA encourages all of you to write to your legislators and the President of the United States. We also ask for your generous contributions to help ATAA continue its mission of public education and advocacy on issues related to U.S.-Turkish relations.


Nurten Ural
ATAA President

Dear Congressman-woman/Senator:

I serve as President of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), which is the voice of over 250,000 Turkish Americans and 60 local Turkish organizations nationwide.

I am writing to express our grave concern regarding the PKK Kurdish terrorist organization that is staging attacks from Iraq into Turkey, a strategic military and political ally of the United States and NATO member. In the last 30 days, the PKK has claimed over 40 lives in Turkey. To date, over 35,000 persons, more than ten times the death toll of the 9/11 Al Qaeda attack, have died from PKK terror. The PKK once operated from Syria, a state-sponsor of terror. Today, the PKK operates from Iraq, where it receives safe haven, weapons, ammunition as well as logistical and financial support.

For good reason the PKK is listed by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization as dictated by U.S. law. It is a crime for persons or states to support the PKK in any manner. It is the duty of the United States to enforce this law here and abroad, particularly in countries, such as Iraq, that harbor terrorist organizations such as the PKK within their borders.

Fortunately, the PKK has not succeeded in causing inter-ethnic strife in Turkey. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens of all ethnic and religious backgrounds have joined massive anti-PKK demonstrations. This speaks clearly for the equality, economic and political empowerment, and integration of Turkish citizens under Turkish laws and European Council conventions. It also underscores the evil of the PKK, which crudely claims to represent Kurds in Turkey.

The ATAA supports the Turkish state's right to defend itself against PKK terror emanating from neighboring Iraq, as much as we would support any action to defend America if Al Qaeda was staging attacks against the United States from a country just south of the border and taking a proportional 150,000 American lives. As you can see, terrorism of any sort is deplorable and unacceptable.

Moreover, it is the policy of the United States to combat terrorism as a universal threat. Recently, the ATAA participated in a meeting held by the Director of National Intelligence, which serves as the overseer of 16 United States intelligence agencies. Over 20 Heritage (ethnic/religious) American communities met with the Intelligence Community (IC). Our President-Elect, Gunay Evinch, discussed the matter of PKK terrorism with other Heritage communities. He reported that according to the IC, since the fall of the Soviet Union and especially, since 9/11, the security paradigm has changed from a bi-polar threat of conventional warfare to a multi-polar threat of sophisticated terrorism.

At the IC - Heritage meeting, Director of National Intelligence John McConnell stated that after WWII's fascism and the Cold War's communism, the threat is now multi-polar terrorism. He did not single out or ignore any terrorist organization, as he referred to all terrorism as a universal threat. Experts at the IC reported that by 2030, the multi-polar threat is anticipated to grow into an "Arc of Instability" that will include South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia. The growth of instability will be due to population increases, disproportionate distribution of wealth, and poor political empowerment of the people. According to "The Ends of the Earth" and "The Coming Anarchy", by Robert Kaplan, Turkey will be an island of strength and peace in this ocean of turbulence, due to Turkey's secular democracy, economic vitality, and cultural strengths. Indeed, Turkey is located in the eye of a coming perfect storm, and the United States and Turkey are fortunate to have each other as lighthouses and anchors of the free world, and Turkish Americans -- particularly ATAA -- is proud to be a key Heritage Community.

The war on terrorism is a common goal of the free world, and an integral part of preparing for the challenges of the next 25 years. The United States must act decisively, employing its best assets and abilities in the interest of sustainable peace and security in the Middle East. The United States must engage Turkey's strategic abilities to this end, just as Turkey has contributed to security and stabilization programs in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

Indeed, Turkey is a frontline state and America's closest friend in the war against terrorism. Turkey has the right to defend itself against PKK terrorism, wherever the PKK may be. The United States has the duty to help Turkey help itself to incapacitate the PKK.

Taking out the PKK now and forever is the right thing to do, if eradication of the war against terrorism is a common goal among allies, and if we are not to sacrifice long term security and stability requirements in the Middle East for short-term tactical interests in northern Iraq.

Please contact me with any questions or assistance. As I stated, the Turkish American community, particularly ATAA, is proud to be a key Heritage Community.


Nurten Ural


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