The United States has attracted people in search of a share of ‘the American dream’ from every corner of the world. For over two centuries, the United States has graciously opened its doors to millions of immigrants who have become folded into the ‘cultural mosaic’ or ‘melting pot’ of American society. Composed of citizens from Central Asia, Anatolia and the Balkans, the Turkic American community holds a unique place in the United States’ cultural mosaic.
The Turkic American community first became visible in American society after the 1960s. From those early arrivals to those who have just arrived, members of the community have founded organizations in order to both preserve their own culture and help newcomers in the integration process. New York, Metro D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles were among the first cities that attracted thousands of Turkic Americans.
As the community approached the 21st century, the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic reforms in Turkey after the 1990s gave birth to a new wave of Turkic immigrants to the United States. While these individuals were mostly academicians, doctors, and engineers, others also from every walk of life pursued their dream by benefiting from the tolerant, welcoming, friendly and prosperous American society.
In the beginning, the Turkic American community first founded small cultural centers to address the needs of the community, such as weekend schools for their children, ESL classes for the adults, and festivals for the community at large to share the beauty of the Turkish culture.
As the Turkic American community grew in size, so did the scope, number and type of organizations serving the community. What first started as only small cultural organizations later blossomed into private schools, dialogue centers and business associations that served the community in different areas of its social, cultural and economic life.
While our schools educate youth with the ethical standards, values, and knowledge that every citizen of the 21st century needs in order to become a successful member of their communities, our dialogue centers bring people of different faiths together to foster greater respect and understanding. Our cultural centers organize events to showcase the richness of our culture, as business associations strengthen the economic ties among the Turkic states and United States and work to bridge the gap among businesspersons of different countries. As the local organizations founded by the Turkic American community continued to grow in numbers, in 2009, these myriad organizations decided to gather under six regional networks–which we call federations or councils–to better coordinate its efforts.
Today, there are 6 regional Turkic American federations in the United States: the Council of Turkic American Associations (CTAA) with 43 members organizations serving communities in New York and surrounding states; the Mid-Atlantic Federation of Turkic American Associations (MAFTAA) with 31 member organizations serving communities in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and surrounding states; the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians (TCAE) serving communities in Texas, Arkansas, and neighboring states with 58 member organizations; the Turkic American Federation of the Southeast (TAFS) with 16 member organizations serving communities from Georgia to Florida; the Turkic American Federation of Midwest (TAFM) serving communities in Illinois, Indiana and other states in the Midwest region with 39 member organizations; and lastly the Western America Turkic Council (WATC) with 31 member organizations serving communities on the West Coast from Washington to Arizona.
Nonetheless, a broader, nationwide alliance on Capitol Hill with the capabilities to convene these federations and councils was still missing.
As a result, the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) was initiated to better coordinate joint efforts among more than 200 organizations across the U.S. In that way, a new enterprise was established in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 2010, with the Grand Gala Opening Reception at the Willard InterContinental Hotel near the White House. Over 50 U.S. Representatives, 7 U.S. Senators and several Ambassadors attended the Grand Gala Opening alongside prominent members of the Turkic American community. The Turkic American Alliance’s new headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., with a beautiful view onto Capitol Hill. From that point on, the Turkic American Alliance has worked to enhance the work of its regional federations and councils.
The Turkic American Alliance is a non-governmental, non-profit organization established under the 501(c) 3 laws within the United States with the sole purpose of promoting cultural understanding. It is also the largest national Turkic organization in the United States, representing six regional federations and councils and over 240 community associations, cultural and dialogue centers, business chambers and education institutions. TAA also functions as a powerful advocate for dialogue not only among the Turkic American and American communities, but also among the Turkic states and The United States.