President Message By Ergün Kırlıkovalı
Dear Turkish Americans and Friends of Turkey:
I am happy to report to you with ATAA activities in the month of April, 2012.
The highlight of this month, without doubt, was ATAA’s 32nd Annual National Convention, about which you can read in detail elsewhere in this newsletter. I would like to stress the fact that it was a first in the sense that the broadest Turkish and Turkic American community base and organizational alliance were achieved by a harmonious cooperation and unity between premier umbrella organizations in America like ATAA, FTAA and TACC and many other younger nonprofit advocacy groups. Next year, I plan, wish, and hope to make it even bigger, wider, and, deeper, by involving many other Turkish American groups, such as TASSA (Science & Technology), TACCI, TABA, AmCham, and others (Commerce & Trade), TPF (Charitable Giving), TCA (Public Education), Turkish-American Writers, and those involved in sports (GS, FB, BJK, TS, BS), music, arts, and more. Always held in Washington DC in the spring, think of this “joint” convention as “The Turkish-American Davos”. It is a trademark of ATAA, just like the Turkish Day Parade in New York is a trademark of FTAA.
The second brilliance, if I may, of the 32nd ANC was the involvement of a brand new generation of Turkish Americans: “The Young Turks”. Students from many universities and colleges of this great country have descended upon Washington DC, eagerly participated in seminars, selflessly volunteered for many projects, and we are absolutely delighted with these developments.
Young Turks were already very active “from California to the New York Island…” On April 6, for example, the Turkish Students Association in UCLA, under the capable leadership of multi-talented Keli Arslancan, organized a Turkish Cultural Night, complete with delicious Turkish food and lively Turkish music and dances that drew more than 200 people. The event was organized for the benefit of medical research on autism and you can read more about it here.
On April 24, Young Turks in Washington DC staged counter demonstrations to condemn Armenian terrorism. Many Turk, Azeris and other Turkic groups came to the front of the Turkish Embassy, held vigil there for two days, alerting and educating public about Armenian lies and extremism.
Then on April 28, another group of Young Turks, this time in New York, organized a rally to protest Armenian terrorism and expose Armenian lies about Turkish history as well as condemn the relentless, unprovoked, and heinous defamation of Turkish heritage by Armenians.
We, the leaders of leading national Turkish and Turkic American umbrella organizations, sent a joint letter to President Obama concerning the omissions in President Obama's April 24 statement about the alleged Armenian Genocide. You can read more about it here.
Messages from Turkey’s president Gul, PM Erdogan, FM Ahmet Davutoglu, and EU Minister Egemen Bagis(video) , acknowledging the hard work by the volunteers of ATAA and others and encouraging wider cooperation and unity among Turkish Americans, can all be reached in the Annual Conference booklet, here.
And you can read about my interview with VOA concerning the convention, the anti-defamation work carried out by ATAA and general thoughts and feelings about the rising Turkish image and power and watch it here.
Right after the convention, ATAA held its Assembly of Delegates (AOD) meeting on April 15, 2012, where next year’s budget was approved along with new members. It was a very productive, friendly and fun meeting, one to remembers, where volunteerism met professionalism. And here are those selfless, hardworking heroes that make it happen for all of us:
Khojaly Massacre committed by Armenians was recognized as “Azerbaijani Genocide” by the parliaments of Mexico and Colombia. ATAA have worked closely with Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC), Azerbaijan Society of America (ASA), and all other Turkic-Americans, who took lead in the Pax Turcica action campaign that caused Khojaly Massacre to be commemorated by the U.S. State of Georgia House Resolution 1594.
23 Nisan (April 23rd) Children’s Day was celebrated with a greater joy, visibility, and effect this year through many state and city resolutions and one from Illinois can be viewed here.
23 Nisan picnics were a hit: here is one organized by ATASC in Long Beach, California.
And this one from Irvine, Orange County, California:
And this young Turkish-American received the top honors from her school for presenting Atatürk in the National History Day contest. Atatürk’s role in bringing women from dark ages into the 20th Century, his reforms on language and education, and declaring a day solely devoted to children (23 Nisan = April 23rd) were highlighted in this medal winning exhibit. This goes to show that if Young Turks follow Atatürk’s teachings, they will win by becoming natural leaders. We are proud of Alara Dinc about whom you can read here.
ANZAC Day commemoration was held at the Los Angeles National Cemetery and Turkey was the guest of honor. Also referred to as “the last gentlemen’s war”, the Dardanelles War is perhaps a unique example of how a war can actually produce lasting friendship as it did between the ANZACs and the Turks. Both sides suffered incredibly high losses when the very existence of the Ottoman Empire was threatened. It is interesting to note that the Armenian revolutionaries chose this critical time, when Turks were under attack, to backstab the Turks which is why 237 Armenian terror suspects were rounded up the day before (April 24, 1915) which the Armenians still, deceptively and dishonestly, refer to as the beginning of a bogus genocide. What a stark contrast: some people come from the other end of the world to attack and finish the Ottoman Empire only to turn out to be our friends, while others worked from within for the same reason and still remain hostile after 100 years. It is the culture of cultivating hate and vengeance, I guess, which is motivating the latter. You can read more about it here.
Last but not least, I made a power point presentation on “Atatürk: The Soldier, The Statesman, The Reformer, and the Visionary” at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 29. The event was organized by Dr. Nouri Parhami, the president of Medico-Cultural Association.
There is more, much more, but you can read about them elsewhere in this newsletter.
Assembly of Turkish American Associations