Image ATAA Past-President Günay Evinch (Övünç) spoke as the Master of Ceremonies at President Abdullah Gül's Atatürk Remembrance Reception in Chicago on May 19, 2012.  Evinch called the audience of over 750 for a moment of silence and for the Turkish National Anthem: 

"On this day, Great Atatürk and the people of Anatolia commenced the Turkish Independence Movement and Revolution. On this day, we remember the hundreds of thousands of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and our war veterans, so that we may live in peace, prosperity and freedom."

Inviting Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to the podium, Evinch, a Chicago-born, second generation Turkish American of Ottoman Macedonian origin, described Illinois as an "example of diversity" and Chicago as a "city by the people for the people".

Evinch then invited the host of the reception, Ambassador Namık Tan, as "our beloved Ambassador who inspires us and empowers us." Finally, Evinch introduced Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Madame First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül: "Mr. President and Madame First Lady, in 1967, I was four years old. My mother Evsen and father Hüsamettin, dressed me as an Efe, a Turkish Aegean warrior, and we went to the Chicago Civic Center to greet the first ever visit of a Turkish President to the United States, Cevdet Sunay. The Chicago Daily printed, "Little Gunay, Big Welcome." Well, here I am today, 45 years later, a little less little, but with just as big welcome for you, Mr. President and Madame First Lady."

Evinch expressed that he was proud to be speaking on behalf of the entire Turkish American community before Turkish President Gül, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Turkish Ambassador Namık Tan, Turkish Consul General Fatih Yıldız, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. Earlier in the day, President Gül met with the main Turkish American national organization leaders, President Ergün Kırlıkovalı of the ATAA, Chicago-resident and ATAA President-Elect Mehmet Çelebi, and President Faruk Taban of the Turkic American Alliance (TAA), as well as representatives from the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA) and Turkish American Community Centers and Mosques (TACC).
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07