Today, October 29th, over half a million Turkish-Americans celebrate their national holiday Turkish Republic Day. Eighty nine years ago, on this date, the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed realizing the aspirations of Turkish people for freedom, justice and peace. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkish Republic became the only secular parliamentary democracy with predominantly Muslim population.
Over the past nine decades, Turkey has demonstrated its strong commitment to the universal values of liberty, justice, democracy and tolerance as well as to its long-term strategic alliance with the United States. During the 1950-53 Korean War, over 5,000 Turkish soldiers took part and over 700 of them fell as heroes fighting alongside the Americans. Since 1952, Turkey has been a key NATO ally and a major contributor to the alliance missions, most recently in Kosovo and Afghanistan. It is among the fastest growing emerging markets and remains an important U.S. partner in a vast region stretching from Eastern Europe and North Africa to Central Asia.
Within less than a century of immigration, Americans of Turkish descent have left a significant imprint on a diverse cultural spectrum of our nation and have contributed to America's advancement in the fields of business, science, medicine, technology and arts.
I join all Turkish-Americans, members of the Pax Turcica Institute, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and the Federation of Turkish-American Associations, in requesting elected U.S. officials to properly recognize Turkish Republic Day.