Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), representing over 50 local chapters is the largest, democratically elected Turkish American membership organization in the United States. Established in 1979 to fight defamation and attacks on Turkish Americans, ATAA has evolved to be the most influential grassroots umbrella organization for the Turkish American community in the United States. ATAA’s mission is to create cohesion and cooperation between the social and cultural Turkish American organizations around the United States to establish an informed national Turkish American community that can help foster the United States – Türkiye relations and take an active part in promoting a balanced and truthful picture of Türkiye in the United States. As a non-faith-based organization, ATAA is open to people of diverse backgrounds. ATAA is governed by the Board of Directors with executive responsibility and a Board of Trustees that provides financial guidance and oversight. ATAA is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on membership dues, private donations, as well as private and public grants.

What is ATAA?

The founding principle of ATAA was the need to create cohesion and cooperation among the large numbers of social/cultural Turkish American organizations around the US. The Assembly’s main goal is to be a link between all communities, large or small, and pursue their interests in Washington and beyond. The main objectives of ATAA are two-fold. One is to create an informed national Turkish American community that can help foster U.S. – Türkiye relations and take an active part in promoting a balanced and truthful picture of Türkiye in the US. The other is to educate Americans in government, the media and the public at large about Türkiye and issues that concern us as Turkish Americans.
In pursuit of its mission and objectives, ATAA undertakes a number of activities, such as annual conferences on contemporary political, social and economic issues related to Türkiye and U.S. Turkish relations; educational seminars for Turkish American communities on grassroots advocacy and civic leadership; and cultural events to promote Türkiye’s rich traditions, art and heritage.  Working as an information clearinghouse, ATAA regularly publishes reference material on issues that concern the Turkish American community. ATAA e-bulletins, including Community Information Services (CIS), Grassroots Information Services (GIS) and newsletters, reach tens of thousands of readers from the United States to Türkiye, as well as many other countries.
Turkish Americans from all walks of life and the business community have benefited directly and indirectly from the work of ATAA in the nation’s capital. The community-building work of ATAA around the nation and its representative role in the nation’s capital have created greater visibility for the Turkish American community and a better image for its members; its educational efforts have contributed to better understanding of Türkiye and U.S. – Türkiye relations; its vigilance regarding discrimination and defamation against Turkish Americans assure the protection of our rights. ATAA works to create a better future today for generations of Turkish Americans to come.
By becoming a member you will be part of a network of Turkish-Americans and friends of Türkiye 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 Türkiye and Turks. For more information, please click here.
ATAA Bylaws: Click here to view.

ATAA Regional Map

With 10 regional vice presidents nationwide, ATAA represents local Turkish American associations coast-to-coast, as well as member associations in Canada and Turkey. Mid Central Region (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio); Midwest Region (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin); New York Region (New Jersey, New York, Canada); Mid Atlantic Region (Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia); Northeast Region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont); Southwest Region (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas); Western Region (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah); Capital Region (Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Türkiye); Southeast Region (Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina); Northwest Region (Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, Idaho)

ATAA Leadership

The ATAA Board of Directors is composed of the following elected officers: a president, a president-elect, 8 regional vice-presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and the immediate past president.

Board of Directors (2024)

Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin
Dr. Nilüfer Esen-BilginPresident
Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin was born in Giresun and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Marmara University Medical School in Istanbul in 1990, and got a specialty degree in physiology at Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical School in 1995. She worked as a faculty at Kocaeli University Medical School Department of Physiology. In 2002, she moved to the United States, and lived in Arkansas for 6 years and worked at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Since 2008 she has resided in Michigan. She worked as a Research Associate at Wayne State Medical School Department of Neurology until her retirement in 2021. She served at the ATAA Board of Directors since 2017, first as the Mid-Central Region Vice President (V.P.),  and then as the First V.P of ATAA and the Secretary General of ATAA. Since 2022 she has been serving as the President-Elect of ATAA. Before joining the ATAA board, she was actively involved with the Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM). She served as the president of TACAM between 2015 and 19, during which her leadership increased the awareness about the Turkish culture in the community, and increased the membership to the association. She initiated and completed the Atatürk Park Project in Michigan which was opened in 2019 as the largest park named after Atatürk in the USA. In addition, she actively participates at the Michigan based Turkish folk dance group Mozaik Dance Group, and the USA branch of KAHEV (Kadin Hekimler Egitime Destek Vakfi).
Alev Wieland
Alev WielandPresident-Elect

Alev Wieland has Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of Cincinnati, OH. Worked for Balcan Engineering at Proctor of Gamble as Project Engineer for 7 years.  She retired from PepsiCo, Inc-AMEA Capability Director in 2012.

Alev has extensive experience in Lean Manufacturing, Lean Product Life Cycle Management, Equipment and Processes Development. Project Management, Construction Management, Food Manufacturing, Paper Converting, Cosmetics and Laundry Soap Industries. She has solid understanding of Engineering, Manufacturing and Operations Processes.

She is an expert in ISO 9001 and GMP Certifications and Standards.  Alev is the CEO of Manufacturing Excellence Technical Services and Alev Cosmetics.

Alev has been serving as the President-Elect of ATAA since May 2024.  She served on the ATAA Board of Directors as the Southwest Region Vice President from 2020 to 2024 and as First Vice President from October 2023 to May 2024. Alev also serves as the co-Chair of the ATAA UN Relations Committee and Chair of the ATAA Newsletter Committee.

She is the Secretary General and NGO Relations Director Contemporary Education Foundation (COEDFO) since 2013, has been responsible for organizational communication, meetings management, documentation, website management. As the Trustee and active member of the Turkish American Association of Northern Texas (TURANT), she has been providing organizational operations support to its elected board members and helping with executions of projects since 2000.

Since 2008, Alev takes active role at her local Main Street Organization and International Community, helps with organizations of the major festivals that is proven to become the key events that provides income to the city. She served as President of Cincinnati Turkish American Association (CTAA) from 1994 to 1996.

Mazlum Koşma
Mazlum KoşmaPast President
Currently serving as the president of ATAA, Mr. Mazlum Koşma studied at Corum Ilkogretmen Okulu, Ankara 19 Mayıs Gençlik ve Spor Akademisi and Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi (ODTÜ). Before he moved to the US in 1984, he worked as a teacher and administrator at Ministry of Education in Türkiye. He received his graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) and Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, FL. He has been living in Atlanta and working as an administrator at Georgia Institute of Technology since 1995. He has been actively involved in Turkish American communities and organizations. This active involvement has led him to the roles of President of Turkish American Cultural Association of Georgia (TACA-GA), ATAA Vice President for Southeastern Region, ATAA Treasurer, ATAA President-Elect, and currently the President of ATAA since 2021. Mr. Koşma will continue serving on the ATAA Board of Directors as the past president as he is completing his term as president. Besides Turkish-American organizations, he has been a member of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and the Georgia Council for International Visitors as a Citizen Diplomat. He has also been working with Turkish-American Political Action Committees visiting local and state level elected officials, congressmen, congresswomen and senators in their local offices and Washington, DC to inform them of the view of Turkish-Americans at their districts. He has also been an ambassador of Turkish culture as a musician, folk dancer and folk dance teacher and been involved in many international festivals in Turkey, Europe and in the USA. He is married to his ballroom dance partner, Winnie Koşma. They have one daughter, Eda, who is finishing her graduate studies in Diplomacy and Law at Tufts University.
Dr. Mehmet E. Yaya
Dr. Mehmet E. YayaTreasurer
Mr. Mehmet E. Yaya was born and raised in Turkey. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Bogazici University before he moved to United States in 2003. He obtained his MBA from Auburn University, then received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Alabama. He moved to Michigan in 2009. He is currently the Professor of Economics and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Economics at Eastern Michigan University. His research focuses on immigrants, income inequality, and poverty and he has published number of articles in well-respected academic journals on these topics. Mr. Yaya has actively been involved with Turkish American organizations. He was the founder of Turkish Student Association at the University of Alabama before he moved to Michigan. In Michigan, he has been a diligent volunteer for the Turkish American Cultural Association (TACAM); served as a board member for 2 years and treasurer for the last 4 years. Currently, he is serving as the president of TACAM. His involvement with TACAM specifically encompasses the education, political outreach, Ataturk Park and fundraising activities of TACAM. Mr. Yaya is married with two children ages 3 and 6. In his free time, he enjoys camping, playing soccer, riding his motorcycle, and spending time with his kids.
Erdal Sipahi
Erdal SipahiSecretary
Mr. Erdal Sipahi was born in Ankara and came to United States in 1979. He received his BBA degree in System Analysis from University of Texas at Arlington. Mr. Sipahi has been working in Oncology Centers since 1980, namely Wadley Institutes of Molecular Medicine in Dallas, Moncrief Radiation Center in Fort Worth, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge and U.T. Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He has been consulting with Health Care facilities the past few years in electronic health records integration and implementing technology projects such as Digital Health. His specialty is Oncology Information Systems specifically in high dose radiation treatment systems and integrating workflows with hospital information systems. Mr. Sipahi currently serves as the President of Turkish American Association of Northern Texas (TURANT). Mr. Erdal Sipahi was appointed as ATAA Secretary General on June 14, 2022. He served as ATAA Southwest Region Vice President from 2016 to 2020. He has proudly served as Vice President of TURANT-Dallas in 1992, President of TURANT in 1993, ATA Houston V.P. of social events in 1996, and Fundraising Chairman of ATA Houston in 2014. Erdal is married to Turkan Bayulken and they have three children between them, Maddy 31, Deniz 24, and Selin 14.
Seda Arık
Seda ArıkCapital Region V.P.

Seda Arık, a native of Bursa, is an attorney at law and received a law degree from Istanbul University and a Masters of Laws degree from University of Minnesota. She is pursuing an MBA degree. She was elected and served as a city council member in Bursa, Türkiye and also served as a board member in many associations. She is a board member of American Turkish Association of Washington, DC (ATA-DC) and continue to support the American-Turkish community. Her goal is to contribute to the American-Turkish community with her experience and strong relationships with Türkiye.

Engin Ateş
Engin AteşMid-Central Region V.P.
Mr. Engin Ates was born in Erzincan, raised in Tunceli and Istanbul. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Bahcesehir University as a Computer Engineer. After graduation, he moved to the US and got his Master in Science Degree at Kent State University. After graduation, he worked as a Forensic Software Programmer for 3 years, and he joined the Cleveland Clinic and has been working at Cleveland Clinic for 10 years As a Software Analyst and Project Manager, he involved in the development of the Cleveland Clinic web sites and various supporting applications. He is currently working at IT Cybersecurity Department as an Enterprise Cybersecurity Engineer to securing all the applications and websites. Mr. Ates has actively been involved with Turkish American organizations since he moved to the US. He served as VP of the Turkish American Society of Northeast Ohio (TASNO) for two years. He is currently serving as the President of TASNO.  In the summer of 2021, they are planning to open Ataturk and Women Statues at the Turkish Cultural Garden in Cleveland. Mr. Ates is married with two sons and a daughter. He is using his free time mostly at the farm with kids. He has sheep, goats, bees, alpacas, chickens, orchard and grapes, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry bushes.
Orhangazi Ilgaz Ülger
Orhangazi Ilgaz ÜlgerMidwest Region V.P.

Orhangazi Ilgaz Ülger has been in the Chicago region since 1993.  He was born and raised in Ankara, Türkiye. He has completed his graduate degree in Civil Engineering and has been working in the same field since.  Mr. Ülger’s involvement with Turkish American Cultural Alliance (TACA) started in early 2000s. He was involved in the organization of April 23rd celebration events in Naperville until 2020.   He actively served at the TACA board from 2006 through 2009.  Mr. Ülger also served in the organization committee for the Chicago Turkish Festival and Chaired the event several years. After Serving two terms as the TACA President, Mr. Ülger has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the same organization.

Pervin Karamete
Pervin KarameteNew York Region V.P.
Ms. Pervin Karamete was appointed as ATAA New York Region Vice President in October 2023. Pervin Karamete was born in Ankara, Turkey. Karamete family settled in New Jersey, USA when she was a small child. Being a very accomplished student, Pervin not only excelled academically but also received honorable mention awards in volleyball, for her achievements in Junior Olympics. She started her career at Brooks Brothers after studying “Management and Marketing” at Fashion Institute of Technology. Her career blossomed after working with Perry Ellis and Henry Grethel. Along the way she started working with various Hollywood stars and legends like Jack Nicholson, Gregory Heins, Alec Baldwin, John Tesh and Kim Basinger. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to establish her own company for design and production where she was also a consultant for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karen.  Doing all this work she never stayed away from her community. Being a good standing member of the community, she served as the Vice President of the “Turkish American Community Center” and opened community’s first “Mustafa Kemal Ataturk School” in New Jersey. She was elected as the president of the association in 2018 where she expanded the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk School to a second location in Clifton NJ. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, she was able to offer online classes and continue educating young members of our society. Eventually reopening the two locations in 2021 successfully, she announced the opening of the third location in Summit NJ in 2023. She was recently reelected for the presidency of the “Turkish American Community Center” where she continues to serve our community.
Goknur McAvoy
Goknur McAvoyNortheast Region V.P.

Göknur McAvoy was born and raised in Türkiye. She obtained a degree from the University of Ankara, Faculty of Russian Language and Literature before she moved to the US in 1980.  She studied Computer Science in US and worked in this field for 32 years.  She has been an actively involved member of the Turkish and American communities. She has served as an executive board member and advisor in many organizations.  She is an active member of the Southern New England Turkish American Association (SNETACA) in Connecticut for 25 years. From 2009 and 2010 she served as president of SNETACA. She also served as the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee for the Federation of the Turkish American Associations (FTAA) during this time. She organized and moderated a teacher’s workshop on Türkiye for more than one hundred teachers in Wolcott, Connecticut in 1994 and received an award from ATAA. She provided seminars and teacher/student workshops on Türkiye at many other schools in Connecticut. She introduced the Turkish kitchen to her community and taught Turkish cooking for the Wolcott Adult Education. She was the SNETACA Coordinator for education and the Director of the SNETACA Turkish School. She taught Turkish language and culture periodically from 1993 to 2017. She represented Connecticut with the Turkish American delegation of the ATAA, during their visits with the Turkish Republic, Northern Turkish Cyprus, and Israeli governments. She was honored as a Turkish Mayor and the Turkish flag was raised for the first time over the Wolcott Town Hall in 2004. Since then every year she raised the Turkish flag and celebrated the Turkish Republic Day with town and state officials and the Turkish American community. She lives in Wolcott, CT with her husband, Timothy. She has a son, who is a police sergeant and a granddaughter.

Tufan Erdinç
Tufan ErdinçNorthwest Region V.P.
Tufan Erdinc was born in Mardin and raised in Izmir, Turkiye. He has completed his B.Sc. from Ege University in Izmir, and MS degree in Computer Engineering from Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir. He has been living in the greater Seattle area since 2000 where he first joined Microsoft Corporation as a software engineer. He is currently a software Engineer for Oracle. He has been serving as ATAA Northwest Region Vice President since 2022. He started serving in the Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington (TACAWA) Board as Vice President in 2015 and was responsible of managing and administering technology and IT infrastructure of the organization. He was elected President of the TACAWA Board of Directors in 2016 and has been voluntarily working to carry out TACAWA’s mission and goals since then. Outside of work Tufan is interested in watching sports, playing soccer and is full time dad for two young boys.
Canan Özaktay
Canan ÖzaktaySoutheast Region V.P.

Canan Özaktay was born in Istanbul and moved to Michigan in 1969. She received her BS degree from Michigan State University in 1978 and spent most of her career through 2005 in the Automotive Industry and later moved to New Hampshire where she received her MS degree in Healthcare Management from Franklin Pierce University. In 2007 Canan moved to Florida where she received her Real Estate license in 2012 and Broker’s License 2019. Currently she is the Broker/Owner of Epic Solutions Realty, Boca Raton FL.  Canan is an enthusiastic member of the community and believes in service. While she lived in Michigan, she was a member of Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM) and served in various positions which included the President of the organization (2004-2005). She joined Florida Turkish American Association (FTAA) as a member in 2008 and volunteered in several committees and was the President 2022-2024 term.  Canan’s memberships include Boca Raton Rotary Club where she serves in the Foundation Committee and also the Leadership Boca Class of 2023. She is a proud new member of the ATAA UN Relations Committee. Living in Boca Raton, Fl, Canan is married to Dr. Cüneyt  Özaktay. She is mother of Crystal Smith, Brandon Hampton and Levent Özaktay. 

Erkan Demirağcı
Erkan DemirağcıWestern Region V.P.
Mr. Erkan Demirağcı, born and raised in İzmir-Karşıyaka, graduated from Dokuz Eylül University with a degree in Business Administration and moved to the US in 1994 to continue his graduate studies. After working in various different companies in management positions currently he is Senior Mortgage Loan Consultant & Real estate professional since 2003.  He resides in Orange County, CA. Erkan been very active in the Turkish American community since 2012.  He has been serving the boards of Orange County Turkish American Association (OCTAA) and Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California (ATASC).  He has been the president of OCTAA for the last 5 years. He is passionate about social entrepreneurship, leadership and promoting grassroots efforts in the Turkish American community. He also served at World Affairs Council of Orange County as a Program Committee Council member in order to help create better relationships with other communities. (2016-2020) Since he became president of the OCTAA, he has established close and sincere relationships with local, state and federal administrators in order to protect the interests of the Turkish American community.

Board of Trustees (2024)

Dr. Bülent Başol, Chairman Kenan Çağlar Turgut Çakırağa Kürşad Doğru Dr. Selim Erhan Dr. Fatma Gül Ergün Kırlıkovalı Davut Okutçu İbrahim Onaral Dr. Ülkü Ülgür Nurten Ural Honorary Board of Trustees Members Bonnie Kaslan Engin Holmstrom

Lincoln McCurdy
Lincoln McCurdySenior Advisor

ATAA Committees

ATAA Advocacy and Outreach Committee

  • Erkan Demirağcı, ATAA Western Region VP
  • Dr. Selim Erhan, ATAA Board of Trustees Member
  • Ergün Kırlıkovalı, ATAA Board of Trustees Member

ATAA Rules Committee

  • Dr. Ülkü Ülgür, Chairperson and ATAA Board of Trustees Member
  • Kürşad Doğru, ATAA Board of Trustees Member
  • Gökhan Özalp, ATAA Former President

ATAA Education Committee

  • Dr. Mehmet Yaya, Co-Chair and ATAA Treasurer
  • Lale Iskarpatyoti, Co-Chair and Secretary, Turkish American Friendship Society of US – TAFSUS
  • Hülya Koç, Founder, Empowering the Turkish American Community – ETAC
  • Cennet Köse Rivera, Former President, Maryland American Turkish Association -MATA
  • Dr. Ülkü Ülgür, ATAA Board of Trustees Member

ATAA Social Media Committee

  • Burcu Tansu, ATAA Western Region Past VP
  • Hakan Dakın, ATAA Art, Media and Communications Director

ATAA Membership Committee

  • Yücel B. Tavolara, Chair, ATAA Midwest Region Past VP
  • Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin, ATAA President
  • Engin Ateş, ATAA Mid Central Region VP
  • Dr. Mehmet Yaya, ATAA Treasurer

ATAA Music and Visual Arts Committee

  • Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin, ATAA President
  • Yücel Burdurlu Tavolara, ATAA Midwest Region Past VP
  • İbrahim Onaral, ATAA Board of Trustees Member
  • Tiraje Guneyman Ruckman

ATAA Newsletter Committee

  • Yücel Burdurlu Tavolara, ATAA Midwest Region Past VP
  • Alev Wieland, ATAA President-Elect

ATAA UN Relations Committee

Executive Officers:

  • Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin, ATAA President
  • Alev Wieland, Co-Chair & ATAA President-Elect
  • Yücel Burdurlu Tavolara, Co-Chair, ATAA Midwest Region Past VP
  • Saime Atakan, Youth Representative

Members:

  • Dr. Selim Erhan, ATAA Board of Trustees Member
  • Dr. Levent Onat, ATAA Southeast Region Past VP
  • Burcu Tansu, ATAA Western Region Past VP
  • Demet Edeer, Turkish Canadian Society President
  • Nilgün Özsoy, Indiana American Turkish Association Past President
  • Zuhal Kavak, Turkish-Canadian Society Director of Strategy
  • Dr. Fatma Gül, Contemporary Education Foundation President
  • Canan Özaktay, ATAA Southeast Region VP

ATAA Youth Committee

  • Mehmet Efe Taşcıoğlu, Co-Founder & Chair
  • Ela Elmas, Co-Founder & Vice Chair
  • Eren Okuyucu, Co-Founder & Secretary
  • Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin, ATAA President
  • Yenal Küçüker, ATAA Capital Region Past VP

ATAA Central Office

Hakan Dakin, Art, Media & Communication Director