Turkish americans



by Donald Altschiller

Overview

Slightly smaller than Texas and Louisiana combined, Turkey straddles both Europe and Asia, bordering Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Its location on two continents has been a crucial factor in its variegated history and culture. The country's area of almost 300,000 square miles includes almost 10,000 square miles of European Turkey, known as Thrace, and approximately 290,000 square miles of Asian Turkey, known as Anatolia or Asia Minor. Lying between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, modern Turkey spans bustling cosmopolitan centers, pastoral farming communities, barren wastelands, placid Aegean islands and steep mountain ranges.

Turkey's population is estimated at 59 million people, with an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent. Istanbul, Ankara, and Adana are the largest cities. The population has been a racial melting pot since prehistoric days. Settled or ruled by Hittites, Gauls, Greeks, Macedonians, and Mongols, Turks became the decisive influence, introducing a Mediterranean-Mongoloid admixture into the country's ethnic composition. It is difficult to describe the appearance of an average Turk. The individual may be blond and blue-eyed or round-headed with dark eyes or hair. Some Turks have long-headed Mediterranean looks while others possess Mongoloid features with high cheekbones.

Almost 98 percent of the population is Muslim. Turkey, however, is a secular state and Jews and Christians can fully practice their religious faiths. Kurds, who are also mainly Muslims, are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey. Other minorities include Greeks, Armenians, and Jews.

HISTORY

The Turks, who did not arrive in the Anatolian Peninsula until the eleventh century, are relative newcomers to a land that had seen many successive civilizations before their arrival. Beginning around 2000 b.c., pre-Hittites, Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans had lived or ruled in the region. After the collapse of Roman power in the west about 450 a.d., Anatolia became the heartland of the Byzantine Empire (a Greek continuation of Roman rule in the eastern Mediterranean).

Originally nomadic peoples from the steppes of Central Asia, Turkish tribes began moving west toward Europe around the first century a.d. In the middle of the 400s, the first group, known as the Huns, reached western Europe. Others established kingdoms in Turkestan and Persia before the 900s, by which time they had converted to Islam. In the late 900s a new Turkish dynasty, the Seljuqs, came to power in Turkestan and then Persia, from where they began to make incursions into Anatolia in the early 1000s. In 1071 the Seljuqs crushed the Byzantine army at Manzikert in eastern Anatolia, capturing the emperor himself. This important battle marked the effective end of Byzantine power in Anatolia, and the beginning of Turkish dominance.

The main branch of the Seljuqs continued to rule in Persia and Mesopotamia (Iran and Iraq), while another branch known as the Seljuqs of Rum (Rome), quickly penetrated the entire Anatolian Peninsula. Of the original population, some fled to Constantinople or the west, a few remained Christian under the generally tolerant rule of the Muslim Turkish tribes, but over the centuries most converted to Islam. Gradually, too, these former Christians, mostly Greek or Armenian speakers, began to speak Turkish, melding with the dominant Turks, whom they had originally outnumbered.

During the 1100s the Seljuqs contended with the Byzantines and with Christian Crusaders from Europe for control in Anatolia, especially along the Aegean coast, from which the Byzantines and the Crusaders had driven the Turkish tribes for over 200 years. The strongly centralized Seljuq state reached the peak of its power in the early 1200s; shortly thereafter local internal revolts, combined with the Mongol invasions from the east, began to erode its authority. By the early 1300s it had collapsed completely.

Of the ten local emirates, or kingdoms, that arose in Turkish Anatolia after the Seljuq's disintegration, one quickly came to preeminence: that of Osman, who ruled in northwestern Anatolia and founded the Osmanli or Ottoman dynasty. Osman's son, Orhan, expanded his father's dominions in Anatolia and in the 1350s undertook the first Ottoman conquests in Europe, wrestling several towns in eastern Thrace from the Byzantines and crushing the Bulgars and Serbs in battle. His successors Murad and Bayezid continued the string of Asian and European conquests.

By the early 1400s the territory of the once mighty Byzantine Empire had been reduced to a small island of land around Constantinople surrounded by Ottoman territory. As Ottoman power had increased, so had the pomp of those who wielded it. Murad, for example, had taken the title sultan (meaning "authority" or "power"), rather than the less majestic bey or emir, which were military ranks. Ottoman capitals also became increasingly grand. Muhammad II undertook a massive building program in Constantinople, constructing houses, baths, bazaars, inns, fountains, gardens, a huge mosque, and an imperial palace. He also encouraged the original inhabitants who had fled to return— Jews, Greeks, and Armenians, many of whom were craftsmen, scholars, or artists—and made trade agreements with Venetian and Florentine merchants. Renamed Istanbul, the city became a hub of culture and commerce.

The Ottoman Empire reached its peak under Muhammad's great-grandson, Suleiman, who took power in 1520. During his rule, the vast Ottoman Empire controlled huge areas of northern Africa, southern Europe, and western Asia. Shortly after Suleiman's death in 1566, however, Ottoman might began to wane. A series of military defeats, internal conflict, and the Empire's inability to successfully counter European political, scientific, and social developments resulted in the loss of most of its territory outside Anatolia. After World War I, when Turkey was defeated by the Allies, its position was further weakened.

MODERN ERA

Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938), a Turkish World War I hero later known as "Ataturk" or "father of the Turks," organized the Turkish army, drove the Greeks from Turkey, and founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923. After assuming the office of president, Ataturk began a series of revolutionary reforms which transformed Turkey into a modern nation. In a symbolic break with the Ottoman past, he moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara, the heartland of his nationalist movement. Ataturk replaced religious law with civil, criminal, and commercial laws based on those of Switzerland. Ataturk also encouraged Turks to dress like Europeans. He outlawed the wearing of the fez and even promoted ballroom dancing at state functions.

Language reform also transformed the political culture of the country in revolutionary ways. Ataturk changed the Islamic call to prayer from Arabic to Turkish and replaced the Arabic alphabet, in which Turkish had been written, with a modified Latin alphabet. Historians believe that language reform was generally a positive development. Literacy is now more commonplace. Modern Turkish is apparently more adaptable to scientific and technical language than Ottoman Turkish and the language gap between economic classes has also been reduced.

From a one-party system under Ataturk's Republican Peoples' Party, Turkey's government evolved into a parliamentary democracy which, despite interference from the military in the early 1970s, has largely managed to maintain its independence from the powerful army.

SIGNIFICANT IMMIGRATION WAVES

The history of Turkish American immigration to the United States is not well documented and is generally unknown. Although many immigrants came to America to flee religious or political persecution, the primary motivation of many Turks was economic or educational opportunity.

Precise statistics on Turkish American immigration are difficult to obtain. According to U.S. government statistics, the number of immigrants from the Ottoman Empire was minuscule from 1820 through 1860, averaging less than 20 per year. The majority of these individuals (86 percent) returned to Turkey following the establishment of the Republic by Ataturk. Although about 360,000 immigrants from Ottoman Turkey came between 1820 and 1950, only an estimated 45,000 to 65,000 immigrants were Muslim Turks. The majority of arrivals were from the numerous ethnic minorities in the Ottoman Empire, primarily Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and Syrians.

Some historians believe that a large percentage of early Turkish Americans were illiterate but their literacy rate was much higher than that of the Ottoman Empire. According to historian Talat Sait Halman, most of the well-educated immigrants in this group eventually returned to Turkey but the less-educated remained in the United States. These remaining Turks, some studies indicate, retained their Turkish customs throughout the 1940s and 1950s without assimilating into the lifestyle of their newly adopted country.

Unlike the earlier wave of immigrants, the post-World War II generation was highly educated and included almost 4,000 engineers and physicians. These numbers would have undoubtedly been higher but strict U.S. immigration regulations—which were enforced from the mid-1920s until 1965—placed an annual quota of 100 on Turkish immigrants. Again, many of these professionals returned to Turkey after living in the United States for a brief period.

Since the 1970s, the number of Turkish immigrants has risen to more than 2,000 per year. Members of this most recent immigrant group vary widely. Many opened small businesses in the United States and created Turkish American organizations, thus developing Turkish enclaves, particularly in New York City. Still others came for educational purposes. Estimates of the total population of Turkish Americans vary widely, ranging from 100,000 to 400,000.

SETTLEMENT PATTERNS

From the beginning of Turkish immigration to the United States, many immigrants have settled in or around large urban centers. The greatest number have settled in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Rochester. Other concentrations of Turkish Americans may be found along the East Coast in Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, and some have ventured into Minnesota, Indiana, Texas, and Alabama. Many of these communities are served by various local community associations. Membership totals are hard to obtain but range from 50 members to almost 500 members.

Acculturation and Assimilation

The early Turkish immigrants were almost entirely male. In the culture of Anatolian Turkey, men did not feel comfortable bringing their wives and families until they were able to plant secure economic roots in the United States. Many Americans, however, believed that the Turks were prohibited from bringing their wives because of other reasons. According to Frank Ahmed, author of Turks in America: The Ottoman Turk's Immigrant Experience, the Salem Evening News falsely claimed that the Turks did not bring their wives because of Islamic religious strictures. The newspaper wrote extensively about the sizable Turkish community on the North Shore of Boston, including the towns of Peabody, Salem, and Lynn.

These immigrants often settled into rooming houses. Frequently, a Turk would rent the house and sublease rooms to his fellow countrymen. Although the accommodations were spare, the newly arriving immigrants somewhat replicated their village life. They ate Turkish food (pilaf, lamb, vegetable dishes) and slept on mattresses without a bedstead.

Although they were hardworking and industrious, many Turks did not escape the prejudice frequently directed at newcomers. Occasionally, they were called "Ali Hassans" or "Abdul Hamids" and some newspapers would ridicule the "terrible Turk" or Islam. Among the Turks, however, there was much tolerance for Turkish minorities, especially Turkish Jews, who were fully accepted and respected by their recently arriving compatriots.

Turks obtained work in factories in New York, Detroit, and Chicago and also in the New England leather industry. Sizable numbers worked in Massachusetts, in the leather factories of Lynn and Salem and the wire factories of Worcester. Forced to work long hours at low pay in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, some Turkish workers were involved in strikes against management, who generally viewed the Turks as "good workers."

Because of the precarious situation in Turkey and concern for their families, most Turks—one estimate was 35,000—stayed for a decade or less and then returned to their Anatolian villages before the Great Depression. A small number of Turks stayed in the United States, learned English, and married American women. According to one estimate, only a few hundred remained in this country.

As a result, the diminished Turkish American community became more close-knit. Social life revolved around coffee houses and benevolent societies. In Peabody, Massachusetts, coffee houses on Walnut Street became a congregating place for the Turks living in the area. It was here that community members would exchange news about their villages while sipping Turkish coffee and noshing on sweet pastry.

CUISINE

Turkish food is widely regarded as one of the world's major cuisines. It is noted for its careful preparation and rich ingredients. A typical Turkish meal begins with soup or meze (hors d'oeuvres), followed in succession by the main course (usually red meat, chicken, or fish), vegetables cooked in olive oil, dessert, and fresh fruit. Turkish coffee completes the feast and is served in small cups.

Favorite soups include wedding soup, which combines chicken and beef broth, eggs, lemon, and vegetables; lentil soup, which flavors the basic bean with beef broth, flour, butter, and paprika; and tarhana soup, which is made with a dried preparation of flour, yogurt, tomato, and red pepper flakes. Although most meals begin with soup, tripe soup— featuring a sauce of vinegar and garlic—is served after a complete dinner and is usually accompanied by alcoholic drinks.

Borek, which is a pastry roll filled with cheese or ground meat, and dolma, made from stuffed grape leaves, green pepper or eggplant are most often served prior to the meal. The meze tray features salads and purees, but may also include eggplant, caviar, lamb or veal, fried vegetables with yogurt sauce, and a wide variety of seafood.

The main course sometimes consists of seafood, which may be grilled, fried, or stewed. Kofte (meatballs) are another specialty, served grilled, fried, or stewed with vegetables. Fresh vegetables are widely used, served either hot or cold. Vegetables cooked with olive oil are essential to Turkish cuisine. Eggplant, peppers, green beans, and peas are the primary vegetables cooked with olive oil, which is also used as a main ingredient in salads. Rice pilaf, which sometimes contains currants and pine nuts, is served as a side dish. Buttermilk, made of yogurt and water, is preferred with meat dishes. Rakl, a drink similar to anisette, is often consumed as an alternative to wine.

The final touch to a meal is a tray of fresh fruits, including peaches, apples, pears, raisins, figs, oranges, and melons. Dessert treats include: baklava, a flaky pastry dipped in syrup; bulbul yuvasi, thin pastry leaves with walnut filling and lemon peel syrup; sekerpare, sweet cookies; and lokma, Turkish fritters. Puddings are also popular, including muhallebi, milk pudding, and sutlac, rice pudding.

At the beginning or end of a meal, it is customary to hear "Afiyet Olsun," which means, "May what you eat bring you well-being." To praise the chef, one says " Elinize saglik, " or "Bless your hands."

TRADITIONAL COSTUMES

Along with his many other reforms, Ataturk succeeded in making Western-style dress, at least among men, widespread in Turkey. Consequently, Turkish Americans dress no differently than most other Americans. Ataturk also outlawed the traditional fez, a brimless, cone-shaped, red hat and made brimmed felt hats mandatory, because with them on men could not touch their foreheads to the ground in prayer. Traditional dress for women requires that they be covered from head to foot. Most Turkish garments are made from wool. The kepenek, a heavy hooded mantle shaped from a single piece of felt, sheltered herders from the rain and cold, as well as served as a blanket and tent.

HOLIDAYS

Turkey observes both civil and religious holidays. While dates for civil holidays are determined by the same calendar used in the United States, religious holidays are set by the Muslim lunar calendar, resulting in observance on different days each year. Offices of the Turkish government are closed on all these days, and frequently a day or two before or after as well. In the United States many Turkish Americans celebrate New Year's Day on January 1 and National Sovereignty and Children's Day on April 23. This holiday commemorates the founding of the Grand National Assembly in 1923. At the same time, Ataturk proclaimed it a day to honor children, making it a unique international holiday. Ataturk's birthday is honored on May 19 (officially known as Ataturk Memorial and Youth and Sports Day) and his death is commemorated on November 10. In Turkey, this day is marked by a national moment of silence throughout the nation at precisely 9:05 a.m., the time of Ataturk's death. Victory Day (August 30) celebrates the victory over the Greeks in 1922 and Turkish Independence Day (October 29) recognizes the proclamation of the Republic by Ataturk in 1923. A unique American tradition, begun on April 24, 1984, is Turkish American Day, during which Turkish Americans march down New York's Fifth Avenue.

INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS

There are many conflicts between Turkish Americans and Armenian Americans, stemming from the tragic genocide of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Turks perpetrated more than 70 years ago. Between 1973 and the mid-1980s, Armenian terrorist organizations assassinated several Turkish diplomats in Los Angeles and Boston. These violent actions declined by the late 1980s.

The armour featured in this photograph, taken during a Turkish parade in New York City, dates back to the fourteenth century.
The armour featured in this photograph, taken during a Turkish parade in New York City, dates back to the fourteenth century.

Language

Like Mongolian, Korean, and Japanese, Turkish is part of the Ural-Altaic linguistic group. More than 100 million people living in Turkey and Central Asia speak Turkic languages. During the Ottoman era, Turkish was written in Arabic script, from right to left. Ottoman Turkish borrowed heavily from other languages, and its varying forms of Arabic script made it difficult to use.

Ataturk eliminated Arabic script, substituting the Latin alphabet with some letter modifications to distinguish certain Turkish sounds. Many Arabic and Persian loan words were removed, while words from European languages were phoneticized. The alphabet consists of 29 letters—21 consonants and eight vowels. Six of these letters do not occur in English. Turkish has no genders and there is no distinction between he, she, and it. The Turks are very expressive and often use "body language" to communicate.

There are several Turkish American organizations and community centers in the United States that teach the Turkish language to the children of Turkish Americans. Despite this effort, relatively few second- and third-generation Turkish Americans speak Turkish, a trend that will greatly affect the future of this community.

GREETINGS AND OTHER COMMON EXPRESSIONS

Common expressions among Turks and Turkish Americans include: Merhaba —Hello; Gun aylin — Good Morning; Iyi aksamlar —Good Evening; Nasilsiniz —How are you?; Iyiyim —I'm fine; Tessekkur ederim —Thank you; Saatler olsun !—May it last for hours! (said to one after a bath, shave, or haircut); Gecmis olsun !—May it be in the past! (said in case of illness).

Family and Community Dynamics

In Turkey family life centers around the male head of the household as he is the one who traditionally provides for his family. Children are expected to obey their parents, even after reaching adulthood, and must also show respect for all persons older than themselves, including older siblings. Parental authority in Turkey is so great that parents often arrange for the marriages of their children. The extended family is of extreme importance in Turkey as family members often work in the same business. Men dominate in community affairs. Women are expected to manage the household. In the United States, while the roles of men and women have changed somewhat, the Turkish American family remains close-knit.

There are many political factions in Turkey, which are often reflected in the Turkish American community. All Turkish Americans, however, are united in their concern for Turkey and take great pride in their ethnic heritage. Many Turks living in the United States refuse to abandon their Turkish citizenship. Those who do apply for American visas are generally ostracized by the community.

Religion

Most Turkish Americans practice Islam, or "submission to god." In 610 a.d., according to Muslim belief, the angel Gabriel ordered Muhammad to recite the Word of God as it was delivered to him. This was the same basic message that had earlier been revealed to the Jews and later to the Christians, but the Word had been misinterpreted over the years and had to be restated. Over a period of 22 years, Muhammad received revelations from the angel, revelations incorporated in the Muslim holy book, the Koran. This is a detailed guide to behavior toward God, fellow humans, and the self. Islam therefore provides the basis of personal identity and social life to its followers.

There are five basic requirements of the faith known as the Pillars of Islam: Confession that there is "no god but God" and that Muhammad is the messenger of God; Daily prayer (five times); Giving of alms; Fasting in daylight hours for the Muhammadan month of Ramadan; and, Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

Prayers are said five times daily wherever one finds oneself, but on Friday the community gathers at the mosque for noon prayer. The religion also bans the eating of pork, drinking alcohol, gambling, and usury (lending money with excessive interest). There are also specific laws concerning marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In some representations, art representing human figures is discouraged. The prophet Muhammad is never portrayed unless veiled, even in motion pictures.

Islam is further divided into two major sects: Sunni and Shi'ite. Most Turkish Americans, as well as the majority of Muslims in general, are Sunni Muslims. They believe that the community as a whole is the guardian and guarantor of Islamic law. This law, shari'a, is based on four sources, which in descending order of importance are: the Koran, the examples and teachings of the prophet, communal consensus on Islamic principles and practices, and reasoning by analogy. In later years the consensus was reduced to a consensus of religious scholars. This four-pronged determinant of the law provides great unity, but also provides for a variety of interpretations. Perhaps the most graphic example of this is the treatment of the law relating to modesty among women. In some places this law is accommodated by the wearing of a veil in public; in others, simply by avoiding male company when possible; and in others, is left to the discretion of local leaders.

In the United States, many Turkish Americans worship in Arab or Pakistani mosques. Very few have converted to Christianity or Judaism. One notable exception is Halouk Fikret (1895-1965), who was born to a prominent Muslim family in Turkey, immigrated to the United States, and, in the 1920s, became a Presbyterian minister.

Employment and Economic Traditions

Early Turkish immigrants to the United States were predominantly from Turkey's rural community. They settled in large, industrial cities and found employment as unskilled laborers. The majority came to earn money so that they could improve their economic situation and that of their families in Turkey. After the 1950s, a well-skilled and highly educated class immigrated to the United States, the majority being medical doctors, engineers, and scientists. Today, Turkish Americans are visible in virtually every field. The majority are professionals and enjoy a middle- class lifestyle.

Politics and Government

Before the 1970s, there was very little Turkish American involvement in American politics. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, however, mobilized many individuals because of U.S. government support for the Greeks. Nonetheless, the small Turkish American community was not able to counter the influence of the much larger and more powerful Greek American organizations. Turkish Americans proudly point to Turkey's membership in NATO and its military and political support of the U.S. government during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Individual and Group Contributions

Turkish Americans have made numerous contributions to American society, particularly in the fields of education, medicine, and science. Others, including Tunç Yalman, artistic director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Osmar Karakas, who was awarded the 1991 National Press Award for the best news photograph, have contributed significantly to the arts. The following individuals are especially notable.

MUSIC

Arif Mardin (1932– ) is one of the major popular music producers and arrangers in America. His clients include Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, Carly Simon, Roberta Flack, and Bette Midler. Born into a prominent Istanbul family, he received a scholarship and B.A. in music at Boston's Berklee School of Music in 1958. After briefly meeting Ahmet Ertegun at the Newport Jazz Festival, he joined Atlantic Records and is currently its Vice President.

Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun (1924– ) is an influential force in the music business. The son of Turkey's ambassador to the United States, he attended St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. The young Ahmet always loved jazz, especially the music of black musicians. He and his brother Nesuhi promoted jazz concerts in Washington, D.C., at locales ranging from the Jewish Community Center, the National Press Club, and even the Turkish embassy. Duke Ellington and Lester Young attended some of these informal jazz sessions. He soon invested $10,000 with a record collector friend and started Atlantic Records. Now, four decades later, it is a conglomerate worth $600 million. Ertegun has been dubbed the "Greatest Rock `n' Roll Mogul in the World."

SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS

Feza Gursey (1921-1993) was the J. Willard Gibbs Professor Emeritus of Physics at Yale University. He contributed major studies on the group structure of elementary particles and the symmetries of interactions. Professor Gursoy helped bridge the gap between physicists and mathematicians at Yale. He was the winner of the prestigious Oppenheimer Prize and Wigner Medal.

Media

PRINT

ATS Bulletin.

Quarterly newsletter of the American Turkish Society.

Address: 850 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10022.

Telephone: (212) 319-2452.



Turkish Newsletter.

Monthly publication of the Turkish American Association.

Contact: Inci Fenik, Editor.

Address: 1600 Broadway, Suite 318, New York, New York 10019.

Telephone: (212) 956-1560.

The Turkish Times.

Biweekly newspaper of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. Covers Turkish American issues with news articles, editorials, and business information.

Contact: Dr. Ugur Akimci, Editor.

Address: 1602 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 303, Washington, D.C. 20009.

Telephone: (202) 483-9090.

Organizations and Associations

American Turkish Friendship Council (ATFC).

Devoted to increasing understanding of commericial, defense, and cultural issues involving the United States and Turkey; provides information on the history and economical and social advancement of Turkey.

Contact: G. Lincoln McCurdy, Executive Director.

Address: 1010 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 1020, Washington, D.C. 20005.

Telephone: (202) 783-0483.



American Turkish Society (ATS).

Founded in 1949, the ATS has a membership of 400 American and Turkish diplomats, banks, corporations, businessmen, and educators. It promotes economic and commercial relations as well as cultural understanding between the people of the United States and Turkey.

Contact: Lara Tanbay, Executive Director.

Address: 850 Third Avenue,18th Floor, New York, New York 10022.

Telephone: (212) 583-7614.

Fax: (212) 583-7615.

E-mail: ameriturk@aol.com.



Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA).

Founded in 1979, the ATAA has approximately 10,500 members and coordinates activities of regional associations for the purpose of presenting an objective view of Turkey and Turkish Americans and enhancing understanding between these two groups.

Contact: Guler Koknar, Executive Director.

Address: 1601 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 303, Washington, D.C. 20009.

Telephone: (202) 483-9090.

Fax: (202) 483-9092.

E-mail: assembly@ataa.org.

Website: http://www.ataa.org/ .



Federation of Turkish-American Associations (FTAA).

Founded in 1956 and composed of about 30 local organizations of Turkish Americans, it works to advance educational interests and to maintain and preserve knowledge of Turkey's cultural heritage.

Contact: Egemen Bagis, Executive Director.

Address: 821 United Nations Plaza, Second Floor, New York, New York 10017.

Telephone: (212) 682-7688.

Fax: (212) 687-3026.

E-mail: info@ftaa.org.

Website: http://www.ftaa.org/ .



Turkish American Association (TAA).

Founded in 1965, the TAA has approximately 15,000 members and promotes cultural relations between the United States and Turkey.

Contact: Inci Fenik, Secretary.

Address: 1600 Broadway, 48th Street, Suite 318, New York, New York 10019-7413.

Telephone: (212) 956-1560.

Fax: (212) 956-1562.



Turkish Women's League of America (TWLA).

Founded in 1958, the TWLA comprises Americans of Turkish origin united to promote equality and justice for women. The organization encourages cultural and recreational activities to foster relations between the people of Turkey, the United States, and other countries, including the new Turkish republics of the former Soviet Union.

Contact: Ayten Sandikcioglu, President.

Address: 821 United Nations Plaza, Second floor, New York, New York 10017.

Telephone: (212) 682-8525.

Fax: (212) 215-5310.

Sources for Additional Study

Ahmed, Frank. Turks in America: The Ottoman Turk's Immigrant Experience. Greenwich, Connecticut: Columbia International, 1986.

Halman, Talat Sait. "Turks," Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1980.

Hostler, Charles Warren. The Turks of Central Asia. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993.

Spencer, William. The Land and People of Turkey. New York: J.P. Lippincott, 1990.



User Contributions:

1
Elle Pryharski
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 8, 2009 @ 12:00 am
I am a student at California Institute of the Arts and I am taking an anthropology class where I have been assigned the investigation of Turkish-Americans. I just wanted to say that this site has been very helpful in my research and is one of the least biased sources I have come across, and is consistent with all the information I have gathered from first-hand interviews with Turkish-Americans. However, I was wondering if there are any personal stories that would hold significance in my study and ideas about the culture that perhaps Turkish-Americans generally want to be communicated that is rarely discussed among a greater audience. I am greatly interested in anything anyone has to say. Thank you so much for your time and I hope to hear back if at all possible.
2
Ahmet Eren
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jul 25, 2009 @ 5:05 am
I agree that this is the least biased source I 've ever read and being absolutely true information. I must say I have to appreciate and respect to the one who prepared this. This cannot be summarized such a short and convenient way. If somebody will ask me to summarize everything about Turkey, this is the source. Congrats .
3
Ahmet Hacıyasinoglu
Report this comment as inappropriate
Oct 24, 2009 @ 10:22 pm
This is a good and relativly unbiased source. Yet there are few mistakes.

First, Ataturk did not "made brimmed felt hats mandatory, because with them on men could not touch their foreheads to the ground in prayer" Transition from fes to fedora has nothing to do with prayer; it is a totaly unrelated cultural phenomenon.

Secondly,"Saatler olsun !—May it last for hours! (said to one after a bath, shave, or haircut)" is wrong. The expression is "Sıhhatler olsun" and means "Let it give health to you".

Lastly, You should add Ahmet Muhter, CEO of Coca-Cola İnc. to notable Turkish-Americans.
4
Report this comment as inappropriate
May 7, 2015 @ 9:09 am
Who was the first original settlers in turkey.How is it like out there

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA