The Assembly of Turkish American Associations' (ATAA) Turkish American Broad Advocacy Network (TABAN) grassroots program worked with the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) to increase the Congressional Turkey Caucus to 155 members. The Caucus now has membership from all six territories and 45 of 50 states, including representation from every major region of the U.S. Only five states in the Northeast -- Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont -- do not have representation in the Caucus.
"It was a long and hard process that began with former President Nurten Ural and accelerated with former President Gunay Evinch," stated ATAA President Kirlikovali. "TABAN means 'grassroots' in Turkish. We named our strategy 'TABAN' because all politics is local. ATAA, being a 501(c)3 organization, concerns itself only with the 'educating' part of the politics."
Over the past several weeks, TABAN Civic Engagement Director Yenal Kucuker and the ATAA leadership helped Turkish Americans encourage their Congressional representatives in Arizona, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada and New York to join the Caucus. "Having reached 155 members in 45 out of 50 states, the Turkish American community is now aiming for all fifty states," stated Kucuker.
"It has been an honor and pleasure to work with TCA under the leadership of my good friend, TCA President Lincoln McCurdy," stated ATAA President Kirlikovali. " We are most grateful for TCA's grants that support TABAN. I would also like to thank Yenal Kucuker and Ms. Beril Unver, TCA's congressional liaison, for their outstanding service to the community. Finally, I want to thank the ATAA membership for their generous contributions that have helped make TABAN successful," said Kirlikovali.
Turkey Caucus co-chairs Rep. Cohen, Rep. Foxx, and Rep. Connolly also praised the growth of the Caucus and the strengthening of U.S.-Turkey relations.
"The Turkey Caucus allows Members of Congress to focus on our strategic relationship with Turkey," said Rep. Steve Cohen. "Serving as co-chair of the Caucus, I've had the privilege to meet many Turkish and Turkish American people who also understand the importance of the friendship between our countries," said Cohen.
"I am proud of the growing support of my colleagues for robust U.S.-Turkey bilateral relations," said Rep. Virginia Foxx. "The growth of this bipartisan caucus is a testament to our commitment to the important relationship between the United States and Turkey and our desire to pursue shared interests in this global economy," she concluded.