March 2019 at TASC
In this Issue:
  • Message from University of Nebraska Turkish Students Association
  • TASC Events
  • Congressional Outreach
  • Student Outreach
  • Serving Our Communities
  • Upcoming Events
  • TASC Media Watch
  • March Press Releases
Empowering Turkish American Students

March Newsletter Message 
By Ms. Betul Cetindere

Secretary General
University of Nebraska
Turkish Students Association

I’m a second-year graduate student at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL). I feel very proud of my Turkish heritage in Anatolia, which dates to 1071 when the Turks defeated the Eastern Roman Empire in Malazgirt. Centuries later, the great Ottoman Macedonian Turk, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk modernized the nation with revolutionary social and political reforms. Ataturk beckoned the Turkish youth: “Win for us the battle of education and you will do yet more for your nation than we have been able to do all this time!"

I took these words as a code to live by and pursued my masters studies here in the beautiful state of Nebraska. Though classes and homework take a lot of time, I love serving as the Secretary General of the Turkish Students Association (TSA@UNL). We share the beauties of our Turkish heritage in campus life. Plus, our social and educational events boost cultural awareness, appreciation of diversity, and solidarity between West and East, for we are the sovereigns of the crossroads of civilization. We derive deep gratification when people enjoy Turkish culture and history. This reputation is priceless!

I invite all Turkish American students to join and support their Turkish Students Associations across the nation, and I thank the Turkish American National Steering Committee for caring about us, guiding us, and empowering us!
TASC Events
TASC, University of Nebraska Students
Advocate Responsible Holocaust Education,
Legislature Declines Armenian Allegations
TASC and members of the University of Nebraska Turkish American Students Association successfully defended a Holocaust Studies Bill by defeating an amendment that threatened to diminish the Holocaust and dilute the definition of genocide by referring to the Armenian case. The Turkish American community of Nebraska, which also includes Azerbaijani Americans, Turcoman refugees from Iraq, and Ahiska refugees from Russia, visited legislators to inform them that:

  • The United Nations that promulgated the UN Convention on Genocide has thrice declared in 2000, 2007, 2015 that the UN does not accept the Armenian case as genocide.
  • The United Nations Subcommittee on Human Rights, in 1985, declined a report that erroneously referred to the Armenian case as genocide in a footnote.
  • The European Court of Human Rights High Commission held that the Armenian case does not constitute a proven case of genocide, and that the Armenian allegation of genocide deserves research and debate.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a 9th Circuit 11-0 En Banc decision invalidating a California law that contravened U.S. foreign policy by referring to the Armenian case as genocide.
  • US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, was a racist who referred to Turks and Muslims as an "inferior race”.
  • US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau was not a witness to the massacres which he reported to Washington DC as factual truth.
  • US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau’s reports were authored by two staffers who were secretly members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which engaged in a revolt against the Ottoman Empire from 1885-1919.

To read TASC’s letter to the Nebraska, click here.
TASC Sponsors 5,000 Strong 
United Against Islamophobia March 
Following Christchurch Mosque Massacre
On March 24, TASC sponsored the United Against Islamophobia March and joined over 5,000 people in Times Square to show global solidarity with the Muslim world, and remember the 50 Muslim worshippers who were massacred in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15. TASC Co-Chair Halil Mutlu expressed to the 5,000 marchers, "We stand with our brothers and sisters of the Muslim community and broader American society. We are united against Islamophobia, xenophobia, bigotry and racism.” TASC also delivered delivery care packages to the families of the killed and wounded.
TASC Hosts Leaderships of Boğaziçi, Koç, 
Middle East Technical Universities,
Turkish Council on Higher Education
TASC and the Maryland Independent Universities College Association (MIUCA) held a lunch meeting with Koç University Rector Umran Inan, Boğaziçi University Rector Mehmed Özkan, Middle East Technical University History Chair Ömer Turan, Turkish Council on Higher Education (YÖK) Executive Committee Member Zeliha Koçak Tufan, and YÖK International Relations Chair Bilge Kağan Özdemir.

TASC Co-Chair Gunay Evinch and MIUCA President Tina Bjarekull discussed a grassroots movement among Maryland private and public universities to encourage students to study abroad in Istanbul. Click here to read the TASC - Maryland Sister State Higher Education Delegation to Turkey Report.
TASC, Green Crescent USA Host
Mental Health and Drug Addiction Awareness 
Programs in New York Region
On March 13, TASC FamilyFirst and Green Crescent USA hosted a seminar at the Turkish Consulate in New York to raise community awareness regarding the harms of opioid, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs, as well as alcohol abuse. Speakers included Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, Turkish Minister of Family Labor and Social Services; Alper Aktaş, Consul General, Turkish Consulate General in New York; Dr. Halil Mutlu, Co-Chair of TASC; and, Melike Şimşek, Clinical Psychologist, Green Crescent Global.
TASC, ATADC, TCA, Turkish Coffee Lady,
Kardelen Dance Ensemble, Turkish Airlines,
Turkish Tourism Office,
Maryland-Kocaeli Sister State Committee
Showcase Turkish Culture at
Maryland Legislative Reception
On March 6, TASC, the Maryland-Kocaeli Sister Stated Committee, and a coalition of leading Turkish Americans organizations and cultural businesses hosted the Turkish Table at the Maryland Sister State Legislative Reception in Annapolis, Maryland. Nearly 400 people, including state legislators and members of the Governor’s Cabinet attended the event. Secretary of State John Wobensmith opened with welcoming remarks. Turkish Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Cem Utkan, and the Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission separately spoke on the importance of solidarity in American diversity, and commended Turkish and Israeli Americans for collaborating for the common cause of diversity in the state of Maryland. Turkish American vendors provided baklava, Turkish Coffee, and much more! 

More pictures and details can be found on TASC's Facebook page.
Congressional Outreach

Join TASC in asking your freshmen Congressional Representative to join the Turkey Caucus!

Simply enter your zip code to determine if your elected Representative is a freshman. If so, please send him or her a letter to join the Turkey Caucus. As a constituent, your voice will be heard.
On March 1, TASC Co-Chair Gunay Evinch and Programs Director Carri Connor met with Representative Hakeem Jeffries Foreign Affairs Assistant to address his January meeting with Enes Kanter, an NBA player and follower of the Gulenist cult. TASC provided information on the Gulenist cult, and informed his office of TASC’s strong presence in New York, particularly Jeffries’ district.
On March 11, TASC Co-Chair Gunay Evinch and Programs Director Carri Connor met with Representative Elliot Engel's Foreign Affairs Assistants to address his January meeting with Enes Kanter, an NBA player and follower of the Gulenist cult. TASC informed his office of its strong presence in the New York region, and informed them that members in New York will meet with Representative Engel's District Office for continued dialogue.
On March 12, TASC Co-Chair Gunay Evinch met with Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and invited her to join the Congressional Turkish Caucus.
On March 14, TASC Programs Director Carri Connor met with Congressman Bryan Stiel, and invited him to join the Congressional Turkish Caucus.
On March 14, TASC Co-Chair Günay Evinch met with Congressman David Trone. Evinch, whose family was seriously injured in a PKK attack in southeast Turkey, emphasized the importance of supporting Turkey against the PKK-YPG terrorist organization in Syria, and working closely with Turkey, NATO’s second largest military, to maintain stability in the region. Evinch invited Congressman Trone to join the Congressional Turkish Caucus.
On March 26, TASC Co-Chair Gunay Evinch Programs Director Carri Connor, Turkish American Society of Northeastern Ohio (TASNO) President Engin Ateş met with Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and his staff to discuss the Turkish American community in Cleveland and in District 13.
On April 1, TASC Board of Advisors Member Şahan Yılmaz participated in Muslim Advocacy Day by the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO). Over 100 USCMO members and 10 TASC Members met with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Armed Forces Committee, Intelligence Committee and Appropriations Committee to discuss: Human rights of Uyghur Turks in China, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, supporting Turkey’s defense against the PKK-YPG terrorist organizations in Syria, and extraditing Fethullah Gulen to face charges relating to the attempted military coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016. Yılmaz met with Congresswoman Judy Chu and invited her to the Congressional Turkish Caucus.
TASC Student Outreach
TASC Meets with University of Maryland
Turkish Student Organization
On March 14, TASC Co-Chair Gunay Evinch met with the University of Maryland College Park Turkish Students Organization leadership and discussed the role of students and young professionals in Turkish American public advocacy and civic engagement. There are over 35,000 students from Turkey studying in American universities; one-third remain permanently, while two-thirds return to pursue their careers in Turkey. Both populations are important for advocating productive US-Turkish relations.
TASC, University of Wisconsin Students 
Host Mehmet Akif Ersoy Event
On March 15, the Madison Association of Turkish Students (MATS) of the University of Wisconsin Madison Campus hosted an event on writer of the lyrics of the Turkish National Anthem (Istiklal Marşı), Mehmet Akif Ersoy (1873-1936). Ersoy was an Ottoman Albanian and Uzbek. He was a writer, poet, academic and politician. TASC sponsored the event as a part of a program to support Turkish Students Associations across America.
TASC Sponsors University of Florida
39th Annual Turkish Cultural Night
On March 23, the University of Florida Turkish Student Association hosted its 39th Annual Turkish Cultural Night, attended by students, professors, parents, and local community members.

Turkish Cultural Night showcased delicacies like Turkish pistachio baklava, Turkish Delights, and Turkish coffee, and Turkish folk dances and music. 
South Dakota School of Technology Turkish Students Showcase Turkish Culture at Expo
On March 28, the Turkish Students Association of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology showcased Turkish history, archeology, tourism and cuisine at the University Cultural Expo. TSA President Imran Yılmazgöz (middle) said that people loved sampling Turkish Coffee, Turkish Pistachio Baklava, and Turkish Delights.
Serving Our Communities
TASC FamilyFirst® Partners with 
ICNA Relief to Provide
Free Medical Assessments in Brooklyn
On March 2, TASC FamilyFirst partnered with ICNA-Relief Agency to provide free medical assessments to the Brooklyn Turkish American community. TASC FamilyFirst helps Turkish immigrants integrate into American life by offering programs to strengthen the community by strengthening the family unit..

TASC thanks all the physicians and nurses who volunteer their services for TASC FamilyFirst in the New York Region.
TASC-California Hosts TASCTalk® 
at Cal State San Bernardino
on Global Displacement
On March 6, TASC-CAL hosted a TASCTalk on Global Displacement at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB). TASC-CAL leader, Bilgehan Ayık discussed Turkish programs to host and provide relief and to Syrian and Kurdish refugees from Syria and Iraq, respectively. Turkey provides free education, health care and housing to refugees. Turkey is hosting over 4 million Syrian refugees, which it plans to resettle and protect in northern Syria. 
TASC Speaks at American Middle East Policy
Summit in Istanbul
On March 23, Bilgehan Ayik represented TASC in Istanbul for the American Middle East Policy Summit. Organized by the National Interest Foundation and Strategic Thinking Group in Istanbul, TASC shared expectations of Turkish-Americans from the US and suggestions to make Turkey-US relations stronger.
TASC FamilyFirst® Hosts Parenting Workshop 
with Family Psychologist in Queens and Brooklyn
On March 8, TASC FamilyFirst a Parenting Workshop for parents in Queens and Brooklyn. Family psychologist, Dr. Aslihan Ergün, spoke regarding the positive role family can play to address peer pressure, academic pressure, substance abuse, bullying and gang violence, as well as to promote digital responsibility.

TASC FamilyFirst helps Turkish American families integrate into American society by offering professional guidance.

TASC thanks family psychologist, Dr. Aslihan Ergun, for her volunteer services for TASC FamilyFirst.
TASC-California Distributes Care Packages to
Homeless in Los Angeles
On March 10, TASC-CA was in downtown Los Angeles to distribute care packages to the homeless. The homeless population of downtown Los Angeles is over 2300. 

The homeless population of metropolitan Los Angeles is over 55,000, while the general metropolitan population is over 16 million. By comparison, there are over 10,000 homeless in metropolitan Istanbul which has a population of over 15 million.

TASC thanks all donors and volunteers for providing care packages and their time to help the homeless in Los Angeles.
TASCRoots Programs Continue in Mid-Atlantic
TASCRoots programs continued at the South Jersey Murat Mosque Community and Cultural Center, where TASC hosted a panel on immigration compliance, the healthcare system, and the higher education system.

TASCRoots works to empower Turkish Americans in American economic, civic, and cultural life through seminars on immigration colmipliance, healthcare, health insurance, registering to vote, participating in the census SayTURK®, buying a home, saving for retirement, saving for college, and academic and career planning, to list a few.
TASC Participates in Vigils,
Marches Across the Country
Remembering Christchurch
Mosque Shooting Victims
On March 16, TASC joined Muslim, Jewish, and Christian organizations in New York, to stand against racism and fascism in the wake of the New Zealand mosque massacres of 50 worshippers by a White Supremacist whose manifesto explicitly targeted Muslims and Turks in New Zealand and abroad. TASC stands in solidarity with the Christchurch community and condemns these heinous and senseless acts of violence.
Also on March 16, TASC, represented by Board of Advisors Member, Şahan Yılmaz, took part in a vigil remembering the worshippers lkilled in the mosque massacre. 

Thank you the Turkish American Religious Foundation and Diyanet Center of America for leading prayers. TASC thanks local New York politicians for joining, including State Senator Luis Sepulveda and Congresswoman Alessandra Biaggi.
TASC Secretary-General Bain Participates in 
TCA's 1st Annual Turkish American Women's Leadership Forum
On March 11-12, TASC Secretary General Oya Bain represented TASC at the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) Women's Leadership Forum. TCA brought together 34 distinguished women leaders from across the America for conversations and seminars on women's political engagement, as they participated in working sessions with members of Congress.
TASC Hosts Second Monthly Ebru Art Workshop
On March 18, Sabiha Ozgur, Ebru art expert, instructed eleven artists on the UNESCO-recognized Turkish Ebru Art, also known in Turkish as painting on water, and paint marbling.
TASC Secretary General Bain Participates in
ATA-DC Women's Day Programs
TASC Secretary General Ms. Oya Bain represented TASC at the ATADC Women's Day program. Turkish author Nermin Bezmen gave a lecture on her most recent book, "Havva'ni Cezasi" (The Punishment of Eve) which covered the problem of child brides and abuse of young girls in developing countries as well as developed countries as the United States.

Following the lecture and book signing, TASC hosted Bezmen and the audience at the Washington Turkish House for sohbet session over Turkish coffee.
Upcoming Events
TASC Media Watch
TASC Advisory Committee Member Mr. Enis Pinar leads TASC Media Watch which includes selected published, unpublished, and censored letters to the editor. It is our goal to correct biased reporting regarding issues of importance to Turkish Americans.
March Press Releases
#GivingTuesday2023

2023 is the 100th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic!

Support the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) on #GivingTuesday, by giving $20.23 weekly or monthly, or with an annual donation of $2023. A modest sacrifice to honor the forefathers and mothers of the Turkish Republic, your gift will help TASC empower the Turkish American community through civic engagement education and training, and project a unified voice on issues important to Turkish Americans.
Alternatively,
Checks payable to: 
Turkish American National Steering Committee
The Washington Turkish House
1526 18th Street NW
Washington DC 20036
Produced by Carri Connor, TASC Programs Director

Interested in participating as a speaker in our Embassy Row Lecture Series,
or have program ideas for TASC?

Email me at cconnor@ourtasc.org
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