Five Turkish Americans Seeking Office in November Elections .
A record number of Turkish Americans are running for political office in the United States, according to research conducted by the Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee (TC-USA PAC). Their candidacies in five elections represent a growing interest among the Turkish American community in becoming actively involved in civic life in the U.S.
Since it’s founding in 2007, TC-USA PAC has supported over 175 candidates and political committees nationwide, ensuring that politicians in the U.S. understand the needs and interests of Turkish Americans. But one of TC-USA PAC’s key long-term goals is to encourage more Turkish Americans to run for, and win, political elections, to ensure a permanent voice for Turkish Americans across the country.
“We have worked for several years, with great success, to support public servants who understand the interests of Turkish Americans, and believe in a strong US-Turkey relationship,” said G. Lincoln McCurdy, Treasurer of TC-USA PAC. “But in the long term, we believe very strongly that Turkish Americans need to speak out on their own behalf, and need to represent themselves. This year’s crop of candidates is the community’s strongest yet, and we look forward to the day when the election of Turkish American is a common occurrence.”
TC-USA PAC’s new Ten Thousand Turks campaign seeks to encourage Turkish Americans to become politically pro-active, including running for political office. The campaign’s goals include identifying and promoting outstanding members of the Turkish American community who could make positive contributions to their local, state or national government through public service.
The five candidates representing the Turkish American community in 2010 are:
- Yunus Aksoy, running for a seat on the City Council in Irvine, California.
- John Alpay, a candidate for Areas 3 Trustee for the Capistrano Unified School District in San Clemente, California.
- Osman (Oz) Bengur, who was the first Turkish American to ever run for Congress, is currently seeking election to Maryland’s General Assembly.
- Hon. Jay (Ceyhun) Karahan, running for re-election as the Presiding Judge of the Harris County Criminal Court #8 in Houston, Texas.
- Timur Taluy, running for Harbor Commissioner in Oxnard, California.
2010 has been a banner year for Turkish American organizational involvement in the political process. In 2009, only two Turkish American PACs, TC-USA PAC in Washington, DC and TurkishPAC in Houston, TX, were active. But in September 2010, the Turkish Coalition New Jersey PAC, a third Turkish American political action committee, was established. These three Turkish American PACs contributed more than $250,000 so far in this election cycle. A fourth Turkish American political action committee is currently being organized in California. All four PACs will work to ensure that even more Turkish Americans are on ballots across the country in 2012.
Learn more about the Turkish Coalition USA PAC and the Ten Thousand Turks campaign at www.tenthousandturks.org; and TurkishPAC atwww.turkishpac.org. The Turkish Coalition New Jersey PAC will have its webpage up and running by October 15 at www.tc-nj-pac.org.