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Voters Elect Two Turkish Americans to Public Office

November 3, 2010, Washington, DC – Two Turkish Americans were victorious on Nov. 2 in their campaigns for elected office, according to the Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee (TC--‐USA PAC). The winners, the Honorable Jay Karahan and John Alpay, two of the five Turkish Americans who ran for office in 2010, represent a young but growing interest among the Turkish American community in civic activism.

Karahan, already one of only two Turkish Americans to win a U.S. election, was re--‐elected by a wide margin to his position as Presiding Judge of the Harris County Criminal Court #8 in Houston, Texas. Alpay, an attorney and community activist in San Clemente, Calif., was elected as Area 3 Trustee for the Capistrano Unified School District, one of the largest districts in the state.

“We are extraordinarily proud that Judge Karahan and John Alpay were judged by their constituents yesterday and found to have the qualities necessary to be a public servant,” said G. Lincoln McCurdy, Treasurer of TC--‐USA PAC. “But we are just as proud of all five candidates for spending their time and their money on campaigns to help bolster the Turkish American community’s presence in American civic life. They represent the first significant step in a long journey for Turkish American activism, setting the stage for the eventual election of a Turkish American to national office.”

Karahan and Alpay join Esin Bushe, currently serving as an elected trustee in Naperville, Ill., as the only three Turkish Americans serving in public office.

Three other Turkish Americans ran valiant campaigns in California and Maryland, but came up short. Yunus Aksoy ran for City Council in Irvine, Calif., losing in a crowded race. Osman (Oz) Bengur, who was previously the first Turkish American to run for Congress, lost a six--‐way race for Maryland’s General Assembly. And Timur Taluy, a promising young Turkish American entrepreneur, fell short in his campaign for Harbor Commissioner in Oxnard, Calif. “

We commend Aksoy, Bengur and Taluy’s initiative and passion, and hopes that their campaigns will help inspire more Turkish Americans to run for office in 2012, no matter how great the odds or how entrenched the opponent,” said McCurdy. “It is only through activism and campaigning that Turkish Americans will become experienced and successful in U.S. civic life.”