The Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans
The Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans, better known as the Turkey Caucus, was established in 2001 as a bi-partisan platform for members of Congress to focus on U.S.-Turkey relations and issues that concern Turkish Americans.
Make Sure Your Voice is Heard by Congress!
In recent years Turkish American organizations and individuals have taken a more proactive approach in promoting Turkish American issues and a strong U.S.-Turkey relationship. Through a combination of grassroots activism and the hard work of the Turkey Caucus, perceptions of Turkey and the importance of Turkish Americans are slowly changing in the halls of Congress. In the 114th Congress the balance of resolutions favorable to Turkey versus those that are unfavorable has shifted profoundly since the 109th Congress.
In the 114th Congress, members discussed pieces of legislation like H. Res. 226, which promotes friendly relations between Turkey and its neighbor Armenia. Such pieces of positive legislation are more constructive to U.S. interests, and help build a stronger U.S.-Turkey relationship. With your continued support, the Turkey Caucus can keep up the good work in the 115th Congress.
Why is the Turkey Caucus Important?
When members of Congress join the caucus, they make it publicly known that they support strong U.S.-Turkey relations and issues important to Turkish Americans.
- When members of Congress join the caucus, it encourages Turkish Americans in their districts to be more engaged with their elected officials.
- A larger caucus projects the image of a strong Turkish American community to members of Congress.
- A larger caucus discourages anti-Turkey rhetoric and actions in Congress.
What Can You Do?
One of the easiest ways to make a difference is to take a few minutes to call your Congressperson and request that they join the Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans (Turkey Caucus). A quick call can make a world of difference, as often times members of Congress and their staff wrongly assume they have no Turkish American constituents. Every constituent matters and has a say in how their Representative votes. Make sure your voice is heard!
It is the main focus of certain ethnic lobbies to paint Turks and Turkish Americans in a negative light. The most effective way to combat such prejudice is to visit the district office of your Representative. The focus of your initial visit should be to introduce yourself as a constituent who lives, works, and/or studies in your Member’s district. Accordingly, said Congressperson will be made aware of their Turkish American constituency and its many positive contributions.
The Turkey Caucus and Its Importance in Congress
The Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans was established in March 2001 by Congresspersons Robert Wexler (D-FL), Ed Whitfield (R-KT), and Kay Granger (R-TX). The Turkey Caucus is a bi-partisan platform through which Members of Congress focus on fostering US-Turkey relations and show their support for issues of concern to Turkish Americans. The current Co-Chairs are Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), in addition to new co-chairs Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Pete Sessions (R-TX). Former co-chairs Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ed Whitfield (R-KT) recently stepped down after a very successful time as co-chairs of the Turkey Caucus.
As a testament to how far the Turkish American community has come, the Turkey Caucus reached a record high of 157 members before the November 2012 elections.
At the start of the 115th Congress, the current membership of the Turkey Caucus stands at 142 as of February 17, 2017. Please keep in mind that Members of Congress choose to join Caucuses primarily when asked to by constituents. Turkish Americans and friends of Turkey like you are the key to getting Turkey Caucus numbers up to new heights in the 2017-2018 election cycle. Find our more about how you can Get Involved!