April 5, 2011, Hürriyet Daily News - The U.S. Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans, known as the Turkey Caucus, has celebrated its 10th anniversary with a series of events in Washington.
The U.S. Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans, known as the Turkey Caucus, has celebrated its 10th anniversary with a series of events in Washington.
The caucus has nearly 100 members in the 435-seat U.S. House of Representatives.
Twenty-eight members of Congress and nearly 300 congressional staffers attended the events on March 31, the Turkish Coalition of America, or TCA, an educational, lobbying and charitable organization, reported on the weekend.
The caucus' co-chairs, Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee; Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia; Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina; and Ed Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky, hosted Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida who is also the chairwoman of the House's powerful Foreign Affairs Committee, at a lunch at the Cannon House Office Building.
The main points of discussion at the celebrations marking the anniversary were the role and significance of Turkey in U.S. foreign policy, bilateral ties between the two nations and the Turkish-American community in the United States, the TCA said.
Turkish Ambassador to Washington Namik Tan also was present at the events. TCA President Lincoln McCurdy spoke of the growing importance of the caucus in Congress.
Foxx, in a statement in the congressional record, marked the day and paid tribute to the role of Turkish-Americans in strengthening U.S.-Turkey ties and the caucus. "On the occasion of Turkish Caucus day, I salute Turkish-Americans across the nation and thank them for their outstanding contributions to America and to strengthening the U.S.-Turkey partnership," she said.
Although the number is not clear, nearly 300,000 Turks are believed to be living in the United States. The Turkey Caucus was established in March 2001 by Robert Wexler, a former Democratic congressman from Florida, and Whitfield.
The TCA pursues an outreach program on Capitol Hill to build relationships with members of the U.S. Congress and acts as part of the Turkish lobby in the U.S.