Building bridges through knowledge, experience and friendship


Date posted: April 12, 2014

ARZU KAYA URANLI

A new era has begun for the Turkic world in the 21st century. Turkey has worked hard for this result, but there is still much more to do to maintain this progress. The Turkic American Convention is proof that we have much to look forward to in the future.

The fourth convention of the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) in cooperation with the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) held the annual Turkic American Convention in Washington, D.C., last week.

Although the institution is a very young organization which was established only three years ago, it organizes amazing events to bring the Turkic world and the US together.

Last year, I attended the third annual convention for the first time and was amazed by the quality of the event. It’s been a long time since I’ve witnessed such an impressive Turkic American occasion in the United States. The event was huge. There were over 700 guests, including 59 members of the US Congress and eight senators, at the convention last year. All the presentations were very informative and enlightening. The speeches at the event were also very inspirational and moving.

This year’s convention was very remarkable as well. It kicked off at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on the evening of April 8 with a welcome reception and continued all day long the following day at the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

There were around 20 US congressmen and two senators as well as many bureaucrats and deputy ministers. During the convention, congressmen highlighted the importance of friendship between Turkey and the US and how this contributes to world peace.

Texas Congressman Al Green’s speech will probably be one of the more unforgettable ones from this year. He indicated that friendship is better than partnerships and relationships because friendships bind people and communities together despite political unrest and economic ups and downs. “Even though everything might be messed up, our friendships will keep us together. With the unity of this friendship we can help people in need throughout the world,” he said.

Another strong speech came from New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries when praising the Turkish Brooklyn Amity School in New York. “I am very proud that the largest Turkish-American School is in my district,” Jeffries said, adding, “Turks are hardworking, their familial and moral values are powerful and they are a nation which has no problem adapting to a community in which they live.”

Jeffries’s speech was such a relief given Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s declaration earlier last week of his government’s efforts to close down Turkish schools around the world. It’s good to hear that despite such dirty attempts, people will realize the truth by real-life experience and will know right from wrong when it comes to these schools.

After Davutoğlu talked about groups in foreign countries sending some letters complaining about Turkey to foreign governments as an excuse to shut down these schools, TAA President Faruk Taban invited him to prove the existence of such letters. Davutoğlu has remained silent.

First of all, as an educator for 20 years, it’s truly impossible for me to understand why the Turkish government wants to punish schools even if there were such letters sent by civil society organizations. Turkish schools are not only an important element of the country’s soft power but are also a great path to serving humanity.

Those schools, which have been opened in approximately 160 countries by entrepreneurs inspired by the Hizmet movement, have proven their quality, especially in Africa. These schools have an important role in countries where they serve and have established bridges and a bond of trust from there to Turkey.

People come and go, governments change, but friendship from the heart is eternal. I hope the government realizes this fact soon and stops making more mistakes. By doing all those silly things, they have only been depicting themselves as helpless while damaging Turkey’s image.

 

Source: Todays Zaman , April 12, 2014


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