Turkey Caucus Gains Four New Members

In July 2015, the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans reached 145 members with the additions of Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV/2nd), Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA/6th), Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS/AL), and Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC/7th). Currently, the Turkey Caucus is represented in 42 of the 50 states and 5 of the 6 U.S. territories. The Turkey Caucus is a bi-partisan platform for members of Congress to ensure balanced dialogue on issues affecting Turkish Americans, U.S.-Turkey relations, and Turkey and the broader region.

TCA President’s “Turkey’s Safe Harbor” Op-Ed Published by the Hill

TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy’s op-ed, “Turkey’s Safe Harbor” was published by the Hill on its Congress Blog on July 8. The article discusses the current refugee situation in Turkey and commends the government of Turkey for opening its borders to almost 1.7 million Syrian refugees and providing them with healthcare, schooling, and food and water provisions.

TCA Hosts Orientation for Washington Summer Interns

As a part of the Washington Summer Intern Program, TCA hosted the annual Summer Intern Orientation Session at its Washington, DC office on July 20. Interns gathered for a day of professional development and briefings with the Embassy of Turkey, representatives from Turkish American organizations, and former TCA summer interns, as well as with two former members of Congress-Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Ken Kramer (R-CO)-who discussed activism and political engagement. The day culminated in a meeting with Dr. Kemal Kirisci of the Brookings Institution and Dr. Kadir Ustun of SETA Foundation, who discussed U.S.-Turkey relations and Turkish politics.

TCA Scholarship Program for Students of Minority and Heritage Communities

In July, 11 students received scholarships from the TCA Study Abroad Scholarship Program for Students of Minority and Heritage Communities, bringing the total number of students receiving scholarships to 446 since the program’s inception in 2008. The program benefits American students of African, Armenian, Bosnian, Filipino, Hispanic, Macedonian, and Native American heritage. Scholarships are awarded to eligible undergraduate and graduate students who have been accepted to a language program or university study abroad program in Turkey, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), or Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Those who received scholarships in July attend schools across the country, including the University of California-Merced, South Seattle College, Southeastern University, George Washington University, Syracuse University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, Wesleyan University, San Diego State University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Briefings at the TCA Istanbul Office

Several TCA grant and scholarship recipients visited the Istanbul office in July to receive briefings about TCA and its sister organization, the Turkish Cultural Foundation. Visitors included two TCA Minority Scholarship recipients; TCA Study Tour Grant recipients from Texas A&M University, Buffalo State-SUNY, and the University of Colorado; and a group of students from Duke University, two of whom are TCA Minority Scholarship recipients, that was led by Professor Erdag Goknar, Professor of Middle East Studies at Duke and the translator of Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red.

TCA Attends Two Iftar Dinners

This month, TCA attended two dinners to celebrate Ramadan. On July 6, TCA members attended a Ramadan dinner at Ankara Restaurant hosted by Enver Yucel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Bahcesehir University. The second dinner took place July 15 at the Turkish American Community Center in Lanham, MD. Sponsored by Saltzman & Evinch, PLLC, the dinner had a Jewish-Muslim interfaith theme, and TCA was joined by Ambassador Serdar Kilic as well as several local, state, and federal representatives.