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Swearing In Ceremonies for the 114th Congress

On January 6, TCA congratulated members of the 114th Congress at ceremonies marking their official assumption of office. TCA spent the day on Capitol Hill and also attended an evening swearing in ceremony for Hispanic members of Congress hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. TCA commends the 130 Turkey Caucus Members who continued on to the 114th Congress and recognizes those members who did not return to Congress for their lasting contributions to the Caucus.

TCA President Speaks at TACCI

On January 12, the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TACCI) hosted a panel discussion on the prospects and challenges of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and a U.S.-Turkey free trade agreement. TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy spoke about the role that TACCI and the Turkish American community can play in communicating with Members of Congress to support inclusion of Turkey in TTIP negotiations. McCurdy emphasized that Turkish Americans’ attention to this issue and their contributions to dialogue with their elected representatives play an important role in advancing commercial ties, overall cooperation, and good will between Turkey and the U.S. A summary of the event is available here.

TCA Visits with North Carolina Turkish American Community

On January 24 and 25, TCA participated in events with the North Carolina Turkish American community. TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy gave a presentation on civic engagement at Duke University organized by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), the American Turkish Association of North Carolina (ATA-NC), and the Turkish Student Association of Duke University. Preceding his remarks, Professor Michael Gunter of Tennessee Technological University gave a lecture entitled “Turkish Armenian Conflict: A Historical Perspective.” Gunter is the author of Armenian History and the Question of Genocide, among other publications.

Bahcesehir University American Studies Program Visits DC

On January 27, TCA hosted a meeting with students from the American Studies of Program at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul as part of the group’s visit to Washington, D.C. TCA gave presentations and answered questions about the U.S. government, civic engagement, congressional caucuses, and TCA programs and activities. On January 28, TCA accompanied the Bahcesehir students on a tour of the U.S. Capitol and facilitated meetings on Capitol Hill with several Congressional offices. The group had the chance to speak with Members of Congress and their staffers, including Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans.

Turkish University Spearheads Refugee Higher Education Efforts

TCA commends plans to open university campuses in Turkish cities for refugees of the wars in Syria and Iraq. These plans were recently announced by Turkish entrepreneur Enver Yucel, head of the Bahcesehir Education group. Turkey is currently hosting and caring for over 1.6 million displaced persons from neighboring countries. The proposed university will offer classes in Arabic, English, and Turkish, allowing refugees who do not yet speak Turkish to continue their higher education without a language barrier. Pending government approval, the first campus could open as early as the 2015-2016 school year. Yucel envisions the university eventually expanding to include up to 20,000 students. In addition to his own investment, Yucel will seek funding from governments, foundations, and other donors.

Nine Turkish Americans Working as Staffers on Capitol Hill

As of January 2015, nine Turkish Americans serve as full-time staffers in the U.S. Congress, holding a variety of positions in Congressional offices and committees. Their presence reflects the growing interest of young Turkish Americans in political life; a goal pursued by a variety of TCA programs, including the TCA Washington Summer Internship program and the TCA Youth Leadership Congress.