This evening, one of TAA’s component organizations ATFA (American Turkish Friendship Association) hosted a reception for the honor of Senator Mark Warner at its headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. TAA’s President Faruk Taban and Dr. Fevzi Bilgin Director of the newly established Rethink Institute attended the reception alongside of the leaders of the various Turkish American organizations in Virginia. There was a short meeting in order to give a briefing to the Senator Warner about the Turkic
Senator Mark Warner then watched the future city projects of Pinnacle Academy students and discussed details of the project with each of the participant students of the project. Then, MAFTAA’s Executive Director Mahmut Yeter introduced Senator Mark Warner to the guests and invited him to the podium.
Senator Mark Warner:
Thanks for very kind introduction! It is a real opportunity for me to come and visit with so many friends in Turkish American community. In particular, thanks to ATFA. I learned little bit tonight, little bit earlier about all the various Turkish American organizations that proud of fact they are five chapters in Virginia. I see again the prosperous Turkish American community that we have here in the greater Washington area. I also want to commend the Pinnacle Academy for the good work that the Academy is doing and training the next generation of the leaders for our country and the leaders that will continue the relationships for strong friendships between Turkey and the United States.
The introduction talked little bit about my background, I look around this group; I think there are many people here who are in business. I am now politician but I was business person that longer than the politician. So, that means I can actually read a balance sheet that most politicians can’t. I understand the spending and revenues have to be equal. Commends that I was involved in the cyber telephone business but before that I was not successful, my first business failed miserably. Someone who is the first person in my family graduated from college. I can’t think of any other place other than America that I would have not one but two or three chances. And I think probably that’s why many here whether you or your family all came to this country was because there was economic opportunity.
Moreover, one of the things we must make sure that happens in 21st century is that every Americans no matter where their ancestry, where they originally may have called home, no matter what faith they are part of that everyone in this country gets a fair shake. We cannot guarantee everyone successful but we should at least guarantee everyone gets the kind of equal opportunity that makes America different.
And again, part of that equal opportunity, trying to get that fair shake means having an appropriate education. And again, I want to thank and commend Principal from the Pinnacle Academy and the great training that they are doing in science and technology, engineering and math.
I also want to take a moment; I have only been in Turkey twice. Once after I was left University back in 1977 when many of you were not born then, not just the kids. But the Turkey that I visited in 1977 was a period that military was in power, there were challenges in the streets and Turkey was still determining what role to play in the near and overall far world.
I just recently had an opportunity to stop in Turkey again. I was in a trip and was taking my some Senator colleagues. I had number of Turkish American friends talk to me about coming back to Turkey, coming to Turkey. There was always some reason why I was not able to come to Turkey, but come back even for a brief moment and see the energy and vitality in Turkey today. It is a real tribute to the business ingenuity and the enormous progress that’s been made in your original home country.
The fact, growth in Turkey now was faster in the last year than any other country in OECD. It is a tremendous accomplishment. And it is some irony that I think about the fact back in 2005 when there were questions in the EU whether of the EU would want to admit Turkey into EU and what happen was all of those Turkish people were coming looking for jobs in the EU. I was interested in to read that in the past year we now have EU citizens trying to get a job in Turkey almost in the other way around.
That shows what happen that the country respects its heritage, respects its faith and also respects its people bursts into the 21st century. So, I walked as Turkish Americans as many of you as I considered Virginians, I also want you to know I hope to be your voice in the Senate, but also voice of that recognizes growing strength and friendship between Turkey and America in the best interest of both of their countries.
We see now, challenges going on in neighboring countries like Syria; that was Turkey that was the first country stepped up and said that the regime of Assad had out left of Damascus and the people of Syria needed to have voice. That is a tremendous voice with other disruptions going on throughout the region. It will again more and more often it will be Turkey that the east and the west look for as that bridge but also as the country with the strong economy and strong governmental structures that conserves an example for communities throughout the region. I had much more to learn. Let me make assure you, I am not like one of every politicians assumed as they know everything about every subjects. I don’t, I have got to much more to learn about Turkey, but tonight one more step is that education. I hope this will be the first of many meetings that we will have as community. So, I look forward to visit and look forward to continue conversations. And I promise, I won’t give my whole speech tonight on American dead and deficit. That means none will come back to any meeting if you have to hear whole speech.
I thank to my friends in Turkish American community. I look forward to many many years working together to come. Thank you very much. (Applause)
Afterward, MAFTAA’s Executive Director invited Dr. Faruk Taban to present a small gift to Senator Mark Warner. Senator’s name was written with a beautiful calligraphy on the small gift. Senator Mark Warner said it is a great honor that the President of national Turkic American Alliance is also living in Virginia. And he invited the Turkish American community to come to his Senate office in order to see where he will be putting the beautiful gift.
Senator Warner took both individual and group pictures and then he walked through the reception hall and greeted each of the members of the community.