Today marks the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that left 2,996 people dead and more than 6,000 others injured in the United States.

The tragic events of September 11 have left an indelible mark on the lives and hearts of the American people – just as vivid and painful now as it was that morning. While we have yet to comprehend such horrific acts, and though we cannot erase the pain, we should be comforted by reflecting on the remarkable accounts of heroism the world witnessed on that very day.

As our mother country Turkey was also subjected to years of terror by PKK, ASALA, JCAG and DAESH/ISIS, we truly understand and share the grief of the American people and offer our deepest condolences on this very day of remembrance.

The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), as the foremost organization representing Turkish Americans in the United States, calls on the community at large today, to pause and remember the men, women and children whose lives were so senselessly and tragically lost to terrorism. We call upon nations to refrain from creating and supporting organizations and people that practice violent extremism and non-peaceful civil disobedience as method of political change. We call upon nations and the media to refrain from characterizing organizations and people that engage in terrorism as freedom fighters and social workers.