Conference Booklet | Session Videos | Photo Album

The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) held its 40th Anniversary Conference at the Westin Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia on October 5, 2019.

The theme of the one day conference, “Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Turkish Independence Movement” brought together large attendance, including Turkish American community leaders, association presidents, members and academicians from all over the United States and Turkey to highlight the importance of the May 19, 1919, which marked the beginning of the Turkish Independence War, and to plan ATAA’s future course for the next forty years to continue to serve the interests of Turkish Americans.

The conference included a well-rounded lineup of scholars, leaders and experts with their valuable input and panel discussions with the rich opportunity to explore a broad range of topics including Atatürk: The War of Independence and the Creation of the Modern Turkey, Early Turkish Immigrants in the U.S. & Their Role in the Turkish Independence War; The Impact of Turkish National Movement on 20th Century Politics; Independence War, Turks in the US, Politics Effecting Turks; 40 Years of ATAA’s Accomplishment; Bright Future Turkish Language and Culture Project; and Turkish American Associations: Bringing Together the Community.

With the generous supports of ATAA members throughout the United States, Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) and ATAA Components Associations; American Turkish Association of Southern California (ATASC); Turkish American Society of Northeast Ohio (TASNO); American Turkish Association of Washington, DC (ATADC); Maryland American Turkish Association (MATA) and Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM), ATAA was able to successfully organized its 40th Anniversary Conference.

Conference Highlights

The conference started with the opening ceremony and welcoming remarks by ATAA President Gokhan Ozalp. In his remarks, President Ozalp said “In the light of the founding principles of ATAA, we will continue to serve Turkish-American society with respect to the rules of law, secularism, democracy and human rights. They are also, as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s definitions, are founding principles of the Republic of Turkey.” [video]

 

In the first session of the conference, moderated by ATAA NY VP Sevgin Oktay, Professor Justin A. McCarthy, Department of History, University of Louisville and Professor George Gawrych, Department of History, Baylor University discussed the  Turkish War of Independence, the Creation of the Modern Turkey and Atatürk’s major accomplishments.  [video]

 

In the second session, Dr. Işıl Acehan, Visiting Professor of History, George Mason University, talked about the history of the early Turkish immigrants in the United States in early 19th century.  [video]

 

In the third session, moderated by ATAA First & Mid-Central Region Vice President Nilufer Esen Bilgin, Professor Paul Kubicek, Department of Political Science, Oakland University and Assoc. Professor Emine Evered, Department of History, Michigan State University discussed the impact of Turkish National Movement on 20th century politics and its global significance and combating disease and fostering public health in the early years of the Republic of Turkey. [video]

 

The luncheon was accompanied by former Turkish Ambassador to the United States Dr. Şükrü M. Elekdağ’s video message. In his address to the Turkish American Community, Amb. Elekdag told the founding story of the ATAA and importance of the unification of Turkish-American associations in America under one roof. [video]

 

Luncheon Keynote Speakers were the Founder and Chairman of the Turkish Coalition of America, Dr. Yalçın Ayaslı, who spoke on the founding years of the ATAA and the Turkish Coalition of America’s accomplishments [video] and the Hon. Ed Whitfield who spoke on the major challenges in the U.S.- Turkey relations. [video]

 

The overwhelming highlight of the annual conference was the Professor Dr. Emre Kongar and his address to the attendees in the fourth session of the conference. Professor Kongar spoke on the Turkish War of Independence, the Turks in the USA and the policies affecting the Turks. Kongar made important statements about the Armenian allegations. “What happened in that period was not a genocide, because there was no ancestry consciousness in the Ottoman Empire”, he said. [video]

 

In the fifth session, moderated by ATAA Treasurer Mazlum Koşma, ATAA Past Presidents, Dr. Ülkü Ülgür, Dr. Bülent Başol, Nurten Ural, Ergün Kırlıkovali, Kenan Çağlar and ATAA President Gökhan Özalp spoke on the ATAA’s 40 years of remarkable of achievements  and its plans for future. [video]

 

In the sixth session, moderated by ATAA Education Committee Chair and Capital Region Vice President Kayhan Yılmaz, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Halil Ersoy, Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Başkent University, Bright Future Committee Members, Hülya Koç and Lale Iskarpatyoti gave their insights into the Bright Future project, which came about in collaboration between ATAA and Baskent University to develop an online Turkish language and cultural education program. [video]

 

In the last session of the annual conference, moderated by ATAA Western Region Vice President Burcu Tansu, American Turkish Association of Southern California Past President Dr. Ayça Altıntığ, Turkish American Society of Northeast Ohio Engin Ateş, American Turkish Association of Washington, DC Past President Hande Ayan, Maryland American Turkish Association Past President Müge Türkman, Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan President Mehmet Yaya shared their experiences and represented their accomplishments in local chapters.  [video]

ATAA’s 40th Anniversary Conference was followed by a cocktail reception, Annual Gala and Award Ceremony. The dinner was accompanied by live contemporary and traditional Turkish music performed by Zeynep Moore & AlaTurka Band.

Photo Credit: Hakan Dakin, Demet Demirkaya, Ibrahim Turk

 

ATAA Wishes to Gratefully Acknowledge Its Sponsors for
Supporting the 40th Anniversary Conference

Sponsorship Categories

ATAA FOUNDERS
$5,000 and above

Dr. & Mrs. Bülent & Sema Başol
Mr. & Mrs. Ergün & Juliana Kırlıkovalı
Turkish Coalition of America (TCA)

ATAA LEADERS
$2,500 – $4,999

Dr. Selim Erhan
Mr. & Mrs. Gökhan & Mine Özalp
Mrs. Yücel Burdurlu Tavolara
Dr. & Mrs. Ülkü & Marilyn Ülgür

BENEFACTORS
$1,000 – $2,499

Mr. Fatih Doğan Baysal
Prof. & Mrs. Tevfik & Meral Dalgıç
Mr. & Mrs. Aydın & Hülya Koç
Mr. & Mrs. Mustafa & Serap Topçu
Mr. & Mrs. Kayhan & Aynur Karvan Yılmaz

DONORS
$500 – $999

Dr. & Mrs. Hüseyin & Doris Özdeğer
Mr. & Mrs. Davut & Zehra Ökütçü
Mr. & Mrs. Yıldırım & Ferda Omurtağ
Mr. & Mrs. İbrahim & Banu Onaral
Mr. & Mrs. Recep & Barbara Yılmaz
Mr.& Mrs. Tolbert & Nancy Yılmaz

SUSTAINING SPONSORS
$100 – $499

Dr. Ayça Altıntığ
Dr. Sümer Aygen
Mr. & Mrs. Sinan & Asuman Başkan
Mr. Ümit Bilge
Mr. & Mrs. Ünal S. & Buket Bozdağ
Mrs. Reyhan Z. Crider
Mr. & Mrs. Tolga & Ala Çubukcu
Mr. & Mrs. Mehmet & Edith A. Çultu
Mr. & Mrs. Hakan & Fatma Gül
Dr. Selda Günsel
Mr. Turgut H. Güvenli
Mr. & Mrs. Hayri & Feryal İnce
Mrs. Bonnie Joy Kaslan
Dr. Ali Kıran
Mr. Edib Kırdar
Mr. & Mrs. Mazlum & Winnie Koşma
Mr. & Mrs. Kadir & Karen Küsmez
Mr. & Mrs. Sevgin & Elizabeth Oktay
Mr. Haluk Özdemir
Mr. M. Fevzi Özkaynak
Drs. Aziz & Esta Gwendolyn Sancar
Mr. & Mrs. Tuğrul M. & Yüksel E. Sekili
Dr. & Mrs. Orhan & Catherine Suleiman
Ms. Mihriye Figen Tabakçı
Ms. Burcu Tansu
Dr. Kutay Taysı
Ms. Meltem Tunasar
Dr. Fatih Salih Zada, M.D