Why Osman Bengur?

Ali Gunertem
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Until recently I was closely watching US and Turkish politics. But 4 or 5 years ago this close attention first dropped to the level of remote interest, then even to not following the news at all. The main reason for this was the political erosion in both countries. If we look closely we can see the similar structures of the erosions.
Some of my friends, who have been elected to the Turkish National Assembly as members, whom I know and whose visions I trusted, are lost in this political erosion. Trapped in their seats, they are waiting for the upcoming elections in a barren and unproductive political structure. How different were their ideals at the beginning. Now they are carefully observing the orders of their leader, and not the electorate. As a matter of fact, I never know what the voters expect from these deputies. As we have seen in many examples, they don’t vote for those representing them and their region. It is slightly different in the US. If you are not beneficial to your constituency, you lose your seat in the next elections. Many examples of this are in front of us.

The main issue that I would like to address is Osman Bengür’s nomination for the U.S. Congress in 2006. This re-initiated my interest in politics with excitement. This opened up the possibility of our, the Turkish-Americans, contributing to the future. Contributing to the future can be achieved not only through being interested in politics, but also by being interested in global warming, energy policies, education and institutionalized social responsibility and by assisting politicians addressing these issues. Because these issues are vital for our future and the future of the generations to come. Osman Bengur considered what I have mentioned here to be principles and initiated them for the first time. That is to say, he made history. Why? Because he became the first Turkish-American to run for U.S. Congress. Some attempts have been made on local levels. Tarkan Öcal and Jak Karako ran for local legislatures city council but were not successful.

I have known Osman Bengur since before he became involved in politics. Together with his partner, he provided financial consulting to small companies, helping them grow. Since his youth he has been involved in public services and politics. I believe that these factors caused him to run for election. His election campaign is on the same level as that of Greek-American John Sarbanes, and, most likely, one of them will be elected to Congress. Since the Greeks immigrated to the US in the beginning of the 1900s, they have created more than enough economic potential.

As is well known, compared to Turks, the Armenian Diaspora is three times larger in number and 103 times larger in monetary terms. There are numerous Armenian representatives in Congress. When you study the Turks, they represent the new generation in employee status. Their expenses are big and their incomes are low. Their major expenditure is the school expenses of their children, to provide them with good education. It is not possible to talk about a sufficient economic solidarity. If you look at the Congress, we even do not have a single representative to pursue our interests, or to voice our opinion. Our only supporters are, particularly considering resolutions for the alleged genocide, the Jewish lobbies and the Jewish members of Congress. Now we also need one of us.

Osman Bengur’s campaign is very important for our future and to have a voice in the Congress. Do not forget that Osman’s primary concerns are the problems in his constituency. Traffic problems or inadequate parking is more important to the average voter than the problems between Turkey and Iraq. We have to understand this and we have to be patient. Our responsibility is to provide him the needed assistance. I hope that Osman Bengur will be elected and be a member of international committees, and have a say in matters concerning Turkey. I want to stress again that Osman Bengur needs our assistance and we, as members of the Turkish Diaspora living in the US, need to unite around Osman Bengur. This is more important than to be involved in associations to get a seat in the Turkish parliament, or to have pictures taken with politicians from Turkey.  

(July 2006, 21nd Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07
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