Turkey Caucus Gains Three New Members

The Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans reached 141 members with the addition of Congressman Juan Vargas (D-CA/51st), Congressman Paul Cook (R-CA/8th), and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI/14th). Currently, the Turkey Caucus is represented in 41 out of the 50 states and 4 out of the 6 U.S. territories. 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.

TCA Announces Second Annual Turkish American Youth Leadership Congress

This month, TCA opened applications for the Second Annual Turkish American Youth Leadership Congress. The Congress will take place from November 5-8, 2015 in Washington, D.C. It will provide selected individuals the opportunity to experience Washington, D.C. and connect with their peers and heritage while learning about civic engagement, political activism, leadership, and the U.S.-Turkey relationship. TCA will select up to 30 young Turkish Americans to participate in this exclusive forum.

TCA Internship Program Begins

The 2015 Washington Summer Internship Program is in full-swing with 18 young Turkish Americans from all over the country beginning their internships in Washington, D.C. On June 9, TCA hosted a welcome event at the TCA offices for the summer interns. Designed to enhance Turkish American participation in political life and foster young Turkish Americans' interest in public affairs and service, the program provides an opportunity for young Turkish Americans to live and work in Washington, D.C., learn about the American political process, contribute to U.S.-Turkey relations, and explore career opportunities in public affairs. Now in its ninth year, the Internship Program has provided over 130 internship opportunities for young Turkish Americans at Congressional offices and nonprofit organizations in the nation’s capital.

TCA President Visits Refugee Camps in Southeastern Turkey

On June 1 and 2, TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy visited the Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) Viransehir and Midyat refugee camps. The Viransehir camp currently houses 17,750 refugees and the Midyat camp, originally constructed for Assyrian Christian refugees from Iraq, currently houses over 5,000 Syrian refugees and Iraqi Yazidis. Both camps provide various services, including electricity, running water, schools, language lessons, community centers, computer facilities, sewing and weaving centers, grocery stores, and hospitals. Overall, Turkey has taken in over 1.7 million refugees fleeing violence in Syria and the surrounding region. Of these refugees, over 200,000 live in one of 25 temporary protection camps, while 1.5 million live in Turkish towns and cities. For more information about the Viransehir and Midyat camps and about McCurdy’s visits, please click here.

TCA Participates in Reservation Economic Summit (RES DC)

TCA participated in the 2015 Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Washington, D.C., June 15-18. Organized by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), the summit brought together members of Congress, corporations, federal agencies, and tribal businesses. TCA sponsored the Global Trade Reception on June 17, which featured the Kardelen Turkish Dance Ensemble. TCA also coordinated additional Turkish participation in RES DC. For more information about TCA and Turkish activities during the conference, please click here.

TCA Co-Sponsors Congressional Study Group on Turkey Lunch on Capitol Hill

On June 11, TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy and TCA Project Coordinator Liz Clark attended a roundtable discussion organized by the United States Former Members of Congress (USFMC).  TCA was a co-sponsor of the event. The roundtable featured Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY/1st); the Honorable Jim Moran, member of Congress from 1991-2015, of the USFMC Board of Directors; Dr. Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Dr. Marina Ottaway of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and Dr. Gonul Tol, Director of the Center for Turkish Studies at the Middle East Institute; as well as several senior congressional staff members. Drs. Cagaptay, Ottaway, and Tol answered questions about the recent Turkish elections and the potential impact the results could have on Turkish politics and U.S.-Turkey relations.

TCA Study Tour Grant Recipients Visit TCA Istanbul Office

Several American universities visited Turkey this month with support from the 2015 TCA Study Tour Grant Program. Students and faculty from the University of Colorado and the University of Minnesota-Duluth visited the TCA office in Istanbul for briefings and discussions with Başak Kızıldemir, TCA Vice President and Turkey Representative, and Güler Köknar, Executive Director of the Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF), a sister organization of TCA. This year, TCA awarded a total of nine grants to faculty-led study tour programs in Turkey organized by American universities. For more information on this year’s recipients, please click here. As of 2015, the TCA Study Tour Grant program will have benefitted 270 students through 25 grants, totaling $119,850, since the program’s inception in 2011.

TCA Scholarship Program for Students of Minority and Heritage Communities

In June, 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 the scholarship to 434 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 June attend schools across the country, including the University of California-Santa Barbara, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Syracuse University, San Francisco State University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, Arcadia University, Barry University, SUNY Albany, the University of Indianapolis, and Northern Illinois University.