June 26, 2012, Washington D.C. – The Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans (Turkey Caucus) reached a major milestone today with the addition of its 150th member. This critical achievement signifies the growing activism on the part of the Turkish American community and the strength of the U.S.-Turkey relationship. The Turkey Caucus is one of the largest Congressional caucuses that seek to strengthen bilateral ties between the U.S. and various international allies. The Caucus currently has representation from 43 of the 50 states and all six territories.
“I want to thank all of the members of the Turkey Caucus for their dedication in communicating with Turkish American constituents and increasing awareness among Members of Congress about the importance of strong U.S.-Turkey relations based on shared values and fostered through people-to-people exchange" said G. Lincoln McCurdy, president of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA). “We are proud that through a community-wide effort, spearheaded by TCA and supported on the grassroots level by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA), the Turkish American Business Association (TABA), the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce & Industry (TACCI) and others, Turkish Americans are now more civically engaged.“
Established in March 2001 by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the bipartisan Turkey Caucus seeks to foster U.S.-Turkey relations and recognizes the formative role that Turkish Americans play in advancing this strategic partnership. The Caucus is led by four co-chairs: Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
“As the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans reaches a historically high membership of 150 members, I am encouraged by the increasing understanding and recognition of Turkey’s importance to U.S. interests,” said Rep. Whitfield. “The Caucus is a crucial way to foster relations with our strategic ally, Turkey. I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen our bilateral relationship and ensure that Members of Congress are engaged in the issues surrounding U.S.-Turkey relations.”
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. The growth of the Turkey Caucus to 150 members signals how important an ally Turkey is to the United States and that Members of Congress understand the importance of that relationship, “ 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.”
"I am proud of the growing support of my colleagues for robust U.S.-Turkey bilateral relations,” said Rep. Foxx. “Originally established by two-dozen members in 2001, the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans is now 150 members strong. 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."
“Today marks a remarkable milestone for the Congressional Turkey Caucus, “ said Rep. Gerry Connolly. “As our Caucus expands to more than 150 members, it reinforces America’s commitment to Turkey as a critical ally, and ensures Turkey will continue to be an important component in U.S. policy.”
About the Turkish Coalition of America
The Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) is an educational, charitable organization that seeks to foster friendship, understanding and cooperation between the United States and Turkey. Since 2008, TCA has given scholarships to over 230 American minority students of diverse backgrounds to study in Turkey, led 14 Congressional delegations to Turkey to educate Members of Congress and their staff, and provided an internship opportunity to 90 Turkish American college students in Congress and other Washington based institutions.
*Update as of June 27, 2012:“Within hours of reaching this historic milestone of 150 members, I am delighted to announce that four additional Members of Congress have asked to join the Turkey Caucus. The Caucus’s steady growth further reflects the appreciation for this steadfast bilateral partnership in the U.S. House of Representatives” added G. Lincoln McCurdy, president of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA).