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Turkey Caucus Reaches 135 Members

The Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans reached 135 members with the addition of five new members since the swearing in of the 114th Congress. Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA/13th), Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA/10th), Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY/1st), Congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH/1st), and Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ/3rd) joined the caucus. The Turkey Caucus is a bi-partisan platform for members of Congress to focus on U.S.-Turkey relations and issues that concern Turkish Americans.

Books Published with University of Utah Turkish Studies Project

Two new books were published with support from the Turkish Studies Project at the University of Utah, which is funded in part by a TCA grant. Sasun: The History of an 1890s Armenian Revolt by Justin McCarthy, Omer Turan, and Cemalettin Taskiran and The Young Turks and the Ottoman Nationalities: Armenians, Greeks, Albanians, Jews, and Arabs, 1908-1918 by Feroz Ahmad were recently released by the University of Utah Press.

TCA Accepting 2015 Study Tour Grant Applications

TCA is accepting applications for its Study Tour Grant Program for the summer of 2015. Now entering its fifth year, the TCA Study Tour Grant Program seeks to provide an incentive to American institutions of higher education to choose Turkey as their study tour destination for their students. As of 2014, a total of 16 Study Tour Grants have been awarded and 176 students have benefitted from the program. Institutions that are interested in applying for a 2015 Study Tour Grant should submit their applications by the second week of March.

TCA Study Abroad Scholarships for Students of Minority and Heritage Communities

In February 2015, 11 students received the TCA Study Abroad Scholarship for Students of Minority and Heritage Communities, bringing the total number of students receiving the scholarship to 389 since the program began in 2008. The program benefits American students of African, Armenian, Bosnian, Filipino, Hispanic, Macedonian, and Native American heritage. Scholarship recipients receive funds to contribute to the costs of study abroad in Turkey, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or Bosnia and Herzegovina. The students who were awarded scholarships this month hail from the University of Southern California, Valdosta State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Texas at Austin, San Diego State University, Stony Brook University, UCLA, Belmont University, and Boston University.

TCA President Travels to Turkey

On February 3-11, TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy traveled to Istanbul and Ankara. With TCA Vice Presidents Guler Koknar and Basak Kizildemir, McCurdy met with U.S. Ambassador John Bass, U.S. Consul General Chuck Hunter, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Istanbul Representative Ambassador Kenan Ipek, and new TUSIAD President Cansen Basaran Symes. In addition to meetings with government officials and representatives of the business community, the trip also included roundtable discussions with academicians and with representatives of Turkish NGOs.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Visits TCA

In early February, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone visited TCA offices. Ricciardone is now Vice President and Director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy and staff spoke with Ambassador Ricciardone about TCA programs and activities and discussed ways in which TCA and the Atlantic Council might collaborate on future projects.

TCA Hosts NAIHC Meeting

On February 4, TCA hosted a reception as part of the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) 2015 Legislative Conference that took place in Washington, DC from February 3-5. At the gathering, TCA Project Coordinator Liz Clark presented information about TCA's Study Abroad Scholarship Program for Minority and Heritage Communities. TCA and the NAIHC meeting participants also discussed Turkish - Native American commercial ties and friendship.

Launch Event & Networking Reception for Future Leaders Series

On February 9, TCA hosted the launch event for the Future Leaders Series, a three-part workshop presented by the American Turkish Association of Washington, DC (ATA-DC) in partnership with TCA and the Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT) Program at Georgetown University. The Future Leaders Series workshops will be offered free of charge to the general public with the purpose of empowering youth and young professionals in Washington, DC.

TCA President Trip to Florida

TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy traveled to Florida on February 13-15. In Key Biscayne, McCurdy participated in a roundtable discussion on U.S.-Turkey relations with representatives of the Turkish American community of southern Florida and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, Co-Chair of the Turkey Caucus. In Miami, McCurdy met with Turkish Consul General in Miami Ozgur Altan and members of the Turkish American business community of southern Florida.

TCA President Meets with Key Figures

On February 18, TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy attended a dinner at Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic’s residence with Turkish Minister of National Defense Ismet Yilmaz and leaders of the American Muslim community in Washington, DC. On February 24, McCurdy attended the annual event of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). The NAAG reception was held in the Upper Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States. At the event, McCurdy met with a number of attorneys general who had participated in the TCA-sponsored NAAG trips to Turkey in 2012 and 2013. In addition, on February 27, McCurdy traveled to New York to meet with officials of the Turkish Philanthropy Funds to discuss areas of collaboration.

Chairman of Turkish American Friendship Group in Turkish Parliament Visits TCA

On February 24, Turkish parliamentarians Saban Disli and Reha Denemec paid a courtesy visit to TCA offices during their time in Washington, DC. Disli is the Chairman of the Turkish American Friendship Group in Turkish Parliament, which is similar to the Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans in the U.S. Congress.

Turkish Cuisine Event at National Press Club

On February 25, TCA participated in The Fourth Estate at the National Press Club's Chef & Author Dinner with Sheilah Kaufman, author of The Turkish Cookbook. TCA purchased a table at the event and hosted three guests: Aydan Karamanoglu, First Counselor and Spokesperson of the Turkish Embassy; Althea Georgantas of the World Affairs Council; and Betty Aikens, Study Abroad Director at Howard University.

Mentora College Conversation Partner Welcome Party

On February 26, TCA hosted the Conversation Partner Welcome Party for Mentora College, an English Language Institute in Washington, DC. The Conversation Partner Program pairs up Mentora students who are intensively studying English with peers from the U.S. The American peers are students and young professionals interested in sharing American culture and language through meetings and social activities throughout the semester. The event provided an opportunity for the Mentora students and their American conversation partners to meet for the first time, have dinner together, and learn about this internationally minded initiative.

George Washington University Turkish Night

TCA was a partial sponsor of George Washington University’s Turkish Night, which took place on February 27 and was hosted by the GWU Turkish Student Association. The event invited students, alumni, and community members to celebrate Turkish culture through special guest speakers and Turkish coffee, food, music, and dance performances.