The fourth Friendship Dinner hosted by the Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) and the Council of Turkic American Associations (CTAA) in New York. The fourth Friendship Dinner hosted by the Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) and the Council of Turkic American Associations (CTAA) in New York on Thursday was in the spotlights, attracting a great many significant figures both from Turkey and the US.Some of New York’s most influential politicians, including Democratic Senators Robert Casey and Kristen Gillibrand also attended the event at Cipriani, one of New York’s most elegant restaurants. Turkish Ambassador to the US Namık Tan, Turkey’s permanent representative to the UN Ertuğrul Apakan, Turkish Consul General to New York Mehmet Samsar, several US congressmen and members of the New York State Assembly, representatives of the New York Police Department and the FBI as well as community figures from civil society, businessmen, diplomats, journalists and religious representatives were among the guests. Real estate billionaire Joseph Moinian also attended the TCC dinner.
Steven Cymbrowitz, a member of the New York State Assembly, delivered a speech during the event, sharing his memories of a recent visit to Turkey. He praised Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim scholar who leads a social movement that emphasizes interfaith dialogue, and the many schools, hospitals and cultural centers opened around the world by people inspired by him, saying these facilities served as bridges between different cultures and faiths. He said all the Gülen-inspired institutions that he had seen were striving to live up to and realize Gülen’s ideals. Cymbrowitz also said the schools had made him aware that one did not need to be a Turk to follow such an “amazing person” and dedicate oneself to charity. He also presented a certificate of appreciation to be relayed to Gülen by TCC offi cers. Cymbrowitz praised Gülen for having sacrifi ced himself for the good of humanity and world peace. He also noted that the Gülen movement was referred to as “Hizmet” (The Service) by its followers, and said Gülen’s teachings were about promoting tolerance and mutual respect between different peoples and beliefs. Cymbrowitz said the Gülen movement fi rst opened cultural centers in New York City, later spreading to the entire state and the nation.
He expressed his belief that these have made positive contributions to society. The state assembly member concluded by wishing Gülen success and good health. Şahin also gave a speech, emphasizing that Turkey and the US were allies that pursued comprehensive cooperation on critical matters, adding that the two countries were very valuable to one another. He added that cooperation with the US was important not only for bilateral relations but also in global and regional aspects. Şahin said cooperation by both countries aimed to contribute to regional and global peace as well as to establish stability and prosperity. Noting that one of the areas of cooperation between the US and Turkey was the war on terrorism, he said Turkey believed terrorism was the biggest enemy of humanity, and international cooperation was crucial in the fight against terrorism. Şahin also commented on recent developments in North Africa and the Middle East, saying the riots had shown once again the importance of Turkish- US cooperation in the region. Senator Casey also spoke briefly, saying as lawmakers, their responsibility was to further the good ties between the US and Turkey.
Following the speeches, Şahin presented Dumanlı with the award for Zaman Weekly. Dumanlı thanked the TCC for the event, saying the reward was a motivator for the Zaman group to serve its readers even better.