March 15, 2016, Washington, D.C. – The 6th Annual Turkic American Convention and Business Summit officially began with the Welcome Reception at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Members of academia, various NGOs, businesspersons, elected officials and many other distinguished guests from 12 countries including Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and various parts of the United States attended this event. Once again, Turkic American Alliance (TAA) collaborated with the Turkic American Chamber of Commerce (TACC) to host the Annual Turkic American Convention and Business Summit.
Lamija Silajdzic, Program Director of TAA, welcomed the participants by thanking them for coming this year and helping make the event a reality. Shorty thereafter, she invited Dr. Faruk Taban, President of TAA, to the stage to give the welcoming speech and opened the floor to the Members of Congress to give their remarks.
Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX) highlighted the importance of Turkey’s economy in the region and its role in dealing with its ongoing refugee crisis. Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) thanked the organizers for bringing together business leaders, and also sent his sincere condolences to the families of the victims affected by the recent tragic events in Turkey. In addition, he also reminded the audience of the role of free media in establishing strong democracies.
Later, Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) took the stage and mentioned TAA’s contribution in establishing and developing business ties among local communities. He also pointed out the great embracing hearts of the Turkish people in helping overcome the refugee crisis in neighboring Syria. He concluded by addressing the troubling issues the Turkish media is continuing to experience and the role that freedom of speech and free media can play in modern democratic countries.
Among the other members of the U.S. Congress that attended the Welcome Reception were Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA), Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA), Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Emil Umetaliev, Former Minister of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, Akylbek Zhamagulov, Abdyvakhap Nurbaev, members of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic and Ilyas Ustuney President of Georgia University, were also among distinguished VIP guests. The program continued the following day with the Business Breakfast Meeting at TAA’s headquarters.