Turkish American Friendship Society of US

TAFSUS Republic Day Dinner Dance

Posted by TAFSUS Board | November 7, 2013

TAFSUS Republic Day Dinner was held on Saturday November 2, 2013 at Philadelphia Crown Plaza. Photos from the event are posted at the 2013 album section. The program booklet is posted below.

TAFSUS Republic Day Dinner Booklet

Booklet in pdf format can be downloaded from here

Burak Bilgili at NTA Concert

Posted by TAFSUS Board | March 1, 2013

TAFSUS cordially invites you to a concert by Burak Bilgili (Bass), Luis Ledesma (Baritone) and Danielle Orlando (Piano Accompanist) on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia PA.

Tickets: $40 non-members, $35 members, $20 students with Student ID. Please send your payment a.s.a.p. to help us with planning.

Payment options:
1. Online payment. Please use the “Donate” button and enter the correct amount.

2. By Check: Please make your check out to TAFSUS and send it to:
Ibrahim Onaral,
3 N. Columbus Blvd., #103,
Philadelphia, PA 19106.

If you are not attending the concert but would like to support TAFSUS please follow the above payment options.

Parking lots are available on Walnut Street at 20th, Lombard Street between 20th and 21st and on Pine Street at 17th Street. Street parking is available at meters. Most meters in that area of the city are free after 6:30 pm. Please read the signs carefully! Meters are $.25 for each ten minutes, and generally have a two-hour limit.

For more information please send an email to wallisu@msn.com

TAFSUS Dinner at Woven Legends

Posted by TAFSUS Board | February 19, 2013

Please join us for cocktails and appetizers at Woven Legends’ warm and colorful show room at the Marketplace Design Center, to be followed by dinner at the Bistro St. Tropez across the hall on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 2400 Market Street, Philadelphia...

6:30 pm: Cash Bar and Complimentary Appetizers at Woven Legends* 7:30 pm: Dinner at Bistro St. Tropez (Fixed menu for $30 or a la carte) RSVP Required by Feb. 20, 2013 Woven Legends: 215-851-8344 Bistro St. Tropez: 215- 569-9269

*Woven Legends is a Turkish owned company based in Philadelphia since 1981. It operates looms in Turkey and other countries to produce luxurious hand-knotted carpets featuring handspun wool and 100% vegetable dyes. Its award winning designs are inspired by traditional carpets as well as contemporary designs and textile art.

PARKING: Street parking is available on Market and Chestnut Streets. There are also two parking garages on 23rd Street between Market and Chestnut Streets.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: please send your email to wallisu@msn.com

Turkish American Community Nationwide Remembers Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Posted by TAFSUS Board | November 10, 2012

Today, we respectfully remember one of the greatest leaders this world has seen, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was born in Ottoman Salonika in 1881 and passed away in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1938 -- 74 years ago this morning.

After leading the Turkish people to independence from the occupying forces, following the Ottoman defeat in 1919, and establishing the Turkish Republic in 1923, Atatürk forged a cultural, social, educational, political and economic revolution that catapulted the Turkish Republic and Turkish people into the community of global leaders.

Atatürk built the Turkish Republic on the solidarity of its diverse citizenry. He lead the Turkish citizenry to build a republic on universal principles: equality, liberty and justice for all; religious freedom based on western secularity; the pursuit of happiness through democracy and liberal economy; and a citizenry based on nationality, a common language, and global cooperation for the common good.

I am not leaving a spiritual legacy of dogmas, unchangeable petrified directives. My spiritual legacy is science and reason.

People who will follow us will realize that upon challenging and deeply entrenched obstacles, even though we may not have fully achieved all our goals, we never made a concession and always took science and reason as our guide.

Time is passing by so quickly; nations’, societies’, and people’s perception on even welfare and misery changes. In this world, claiming to bring never changing judgment means denying progression of reason and science. What I wanted to do and what I tried to achieve for the Turkish nation is quite evident.

If those people who wish to follow me after I am gone take the reason and science as their guides they will be my true spiritual heirs.

    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

TAFSUS Republic Day 2012

Posted by TAFSUS Board | November 2, 2012

TAFSUS Republic Day Dinner was held on Saturday October 27, 2012 at Wyndham Garden Exton Valley Forge. TAFSUS Choir performed at the night and entertainment/music was provided by Dj-ez Emrah Zivali from New York. Photos from the event are posted at the 2012 album section. The program booklet is posted below.

TAFSUS Republic Day Dinner Booklet

Booklet in pdf format can be downloaded from here


Posted by Ayhan Ozer | August 30, 2012

The month of August has a special meaning for the Turkish nation. The World War I ended in October 1918 with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, and the Allies imposed the notorious Treaty of Sevres on the country. This Treaty was signed on August 10, 1920 by the Sultan's supine Istanbul government, and brought to the end the 622-year existence of the once vast and glorious Empire. The fledgling nationalist government in Ankara under Mustafa Kemal did not recognize this cruel Treaty, and the Grand National Assembly in its session of August 19, 1920 proclaimed all those who signed the Treaty of Sevres as "traitors". This Treaty was never ratified. This was an ominous August.

With the blessing of the British the Greek Army landed in Izmir on 15 May 1919. The country was in a hopeless state; vanquished, exhausted and prostrate. When all those ominous events converged at a lowest point a God-sent savior emerged in the national scene. This hero was Mustafa Kemal. He was obsessed with the liberation of the country. For the conditions prevailing at the time this idea was “insane”. The challenges were insurmountable and the odds were enormous; no resources, no manpower, no equipment, no money, no arms, and a poor logistics. This task required a military genius, a shrewd diplomacy, long vision, a selfless devotion and love for the country. Mustafa Kemal combined all those qualities in his person, and some.

The Greek Army penetrated deep into the Turkish heartland. It launched a major offensive on July 10, 1921, and pushed the Turkish forces to the East of the Sakarya River. It was poised to capture Ankara, the Capital of the Nationalist government. Speculations ran wild about the Turkish cause having been lost. At this critical juncture, on August 4, 1921, Mustafa Kemal assumed for three months the post of Commander-in- chief with extraordinary power to exercise the full authority of the Grand National Assembly. This was an unparalleled democratic spirit and civility. A rising star, a victorious army general with epic victories in his record could easily be a despot, a dictator; instead, he put his nation’s interest above his glory, and assumed willingly to be a servant of his Nation. With this act he proclaimed to the world that he was but a humble disciple of his country; the people were the real master.

This Greek aggression brought the Nationalists to a faithful August. The Turkish Army, under the command of Mustafa Kemal fought the Greek forces in a pitch-battle along a front of 60 miles. In a life-and-death struggle that lasted 22 days the Greek Army was routed on August 24, 1921, and forced to retreat. The Grand National Assembly, recognizing the extraordinary leadership of Mustafa Kemal conferred upon him the title of Marshal and “Gazi.” The ultimate goal of Mustafa Kemal was the unconditional liberty for the Nation. He knew that this required a decisive victory. The world public opinion, including some Turkish intellectuals in Istanbul, and even some deputies in Ankara were still skeptical of such victory. They believed that the Turkish Army had only defensive capability but no offensive competency. They argued that the liberation of the country was a utopia, and could not be won by force of arms; it must be secured by negotiation or accepting the mandate of a powerful country.

Mustafa Kemal strongly felt that no favors would be granted to any nation if that nation has neither power nor ability to take it by force. Only those nations endowed with those qualities can appeal to the standards of humanity and justice. He said, "The world is a field of trial. After long centuries the Turkish nation is being subjected yet to another trial – the hardest ever! How can we expect a just and kind treatment from the world community without proving ourselves in this trial?" These words reflected the determinism of the Great leader for a decisive victory. At that time Mustafa Kemal was a very lonely person, a one-man minority, yet with a strong conviction and a long vision. He calculated that an ultimate reckoning with the invading Greek Army was inevitable. After the victory of Sakarya his Army had gained a considerable amount of self-confidence. On the other hand, the Greek High command had become ambivalent about this campaign. The troops had lost their appetite, this expedition in the hardscrabble Anatolian heartland seemed to be an endless adventure; furthermore, the Turks had proven much tougher than they had been made to believe. A temporary lull had set in the situation during which the Turkish side prepared feverishly for the ultimate reckoning. Mustafa Kemal had set the date of the final engagement with the Greeks as August 26, 1922!

This was an auspicious August. On August 26, Saturday before dawn the Turkish Army began its offensive. The major Greek defense positions were overrun swiftly, and on August 30 the enemy was defeated decisively at Dumlupinar, with half of its troops captured or slain. This decisive victory has come to be known in the Turkish history as “The Great Offensive” or “The Pitched – battle of the Commander-in-chief in Dumlupinar.” The Turkish Army engaged in a long pursuit until The Mediterranean. The port city of Izmir was liberated on September 9th. with a crushing defeat of the straggling Greek forces. The western front had been opened by the landing of the Greek Army in Izmir on May 15, 1919. The last Greek troop left the Turkish soil on September 17, 1922. That makes 3 years, 4 months and 2 days, or 1218 days of Greek occupation of the western Anatolia. The Turks had not won only a victory, but their country and their dignity as well.

The victory of August 30th can be characterized aptly as the rebirth of a nation. It was a love affair between an ultimate leader who devoted himself selflessly to his nation, and a grateful nation. This year the Turkish nation is celebrating the 90th anniversary of this momentous victory. We remember with gratitude, and pray for our fallen heroes who gave their lives generously and with altruism so that the future generations may live on that anointed soil of the Turkish land happily and prosperously.


Posted by Ayhan Ozer | August 10, 2012

Islamic holy month of Ramadan began on Friday July 20, marking the onset of the 30-day fasting and spiritual observance. Ramadan is the most venerated month for the Muslims; according to Traditions, Prophet Muhammed received his first revelations sent down by God through Archangel Gabriel in this month. To celebrate this divine experience he enjoined the devout, during Ramadan to turn to their inner world, concentrate on soul searching and reflect upon their relationship with God. Fasting is an intensely personal way to go through this exercise; it is a covenant with God undertaken willingly by the pious regardless of the hardship and sacrifice involved. It is not, however, an attempt to enforce religious asceticism upon the believers, rather it is an effort to unite the community through a common journey to self maturity. That way, we tame our human excesses, put in perspective our attachment to material world, and rediscover the divine that dwells in us. Throughout this month the believers are required to forgo the worldly pleasures in self-denial. Each day, from dawn to dusk the pious abstains from eating any food, drinking any liquid, refrain from smoking and carnal distractions. As Islam forbids undue burden on the believers they can conduct their normal lives from dusk to dawn.

The Christianity and Judaism have similar practices, Lent for instance, commemorates the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness and it is a time of penance and abstinence to cleanse the body of impurities; and a time for atoning for sins. There are, however, some variations in Lenten practices such as cutting down on food, skipping a meal, refraining from meat on certain days; whereas Ramadan is more uniform, and a community spirit comes through forcefully. The Yom Kippur in Jewish tradition is also a day of atonement. It is just one day of fasting regimen and the spirit of submission and forgiveness are similar to Ramadan.

Ramadan is a good opportunity for soul searching and reflection. During fasting one becomes more aware of the desire of flesh, and tests his or her own resolve to overcome it. In the process, the devout gains inner strength, and can relate better to the plight of the fellow human beings who are less fortunate. Fasting teaches us righteousness and self-discipline. The believers get a psychological uplift knowing they are in control of their worldly desire. Fasting makes people honest, compassionate, humble and charitable. Ramadan is also an opportune time to strengthen our physical and moral stamina, to develop a solidarity based on empathy for those who are in the same journey of trial. Adults can set a good example for moral rectitude, and pass along the time-tested values to future generations to safeguard them from spiritual emptiness, lack of goals, and a sense of meaninglessness about life.

Ramadan has also a vibrant social aspect; the rich feel the pangs of hunger familiar to the poor, and this induces empathy in their hearts. It is also a time of joy and merriment. The faithful is given to peace and forgiveness. It is a time for being extra generous to those in need, to care for old and to visit the sick. The believers express brotherly love more willingly, and demonstrate a readiness to understand and accept others without being judgmental. Fasting makes people grow spiritually, emotionally and morally. It is amazing how much the devout enrich themselves in a month’s time.

Enrollment for ATA School is now open

Posted by TAFSUS Board | August 1, 2012

TAFSUS ATA School weekly classes will start on Sunday, October 7th, 2012 at the Montgomery County Community College at Blue Bell, PA. If you are interested in enrolling your child(ren), please complete a registration form for each child and send it along with your tuition check to TAFSUS Treasurer Ibrahim Onaral at 3 N. Columbus Boulevard Unit #103 Philadelphia, PA 19106. For more information please contact ATA School Director Dilek Arig, at darig@comcast.net


Posted by Ayhan Ozer | July 31, 2012

A musical play called "Tulipomania" was recently staged at the the Arden Theater Company in Philadelphia. The show is about a 17th century ill-fated tulip trader willing to give up everything for a single tulip bulb during the Dutch Tulip Craze. This Tulip Craze is referred to as the first recorded economic bubble in history. Its driving forces were ambition, greed and envy, all self-destructive.

Tulips are among the most popular of all garden flowers, and were the center pieces of the social, historical and economical events in two countries, namely Turkey and Netherlands. The people in both countries had emotional attachments to the tulip which brought ominous consequences, economically, socially or historically. Holland was so passionately involved in tulip mania that it ruined its economy. The Ottoman Empire too was seized in a frenzy of tulip so much so that a period of its history (1718-1730) is known as the “Tulip Period”. In both countries the tulip was the center-piece of daily life. There is a speculation that the name 'tulip' is originally Persian; however, some botanists argue that the plant's blossoms remind turban, which implies a vague Turkish connection.

Tulips were first noticed in the Ottoman land in 1550s. The Austrian ambassador to Istanbul Ogier de Busbecq wrote of seeing the plants in Edirne in 1551, and he later sent some seeds to Vienna. The ceremonious arrival of the first tulip bulbs from the then Constantinople to Antwerp, Holland is 1562. This marked the beginning of the tulip horticultural industry in Europe. After the tulip was brought to Europe it became the most fashionable flower in Holland and also in England. Between 1634 and 1637, interest in this flower developed into a craze in Holland known as “Tulipomania”, or Tulip Craze. In a speculative frenzy individual bulbs sold for huge prices. In about 1610 a single bulb was acceptable as dowry for a bride. A flourishing brewery in France was exchanged for one bulb of the variety, which later called “Tulipe Brasserie”. At the peak of the crisis in 1637 some single tulip bulbs sold for more than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. How could these Calvinist Dutch merchants that Rembrandt immortalized in his paintings become so obsessed with collecting flowers? It is inexplicable, and only proves how intense this fad had been. The craze reached its height in Holland during 1633-1637. Homes, estates and even industries were mortgaged so that bulbs could be bought for resale at higher prices. The crash came early in 1637.

Some eighty years later, the tulip mania turned up again this time in the Ottoman lands. The Ottoman Sultan at that time was Ahmed III (1703-1730). He was a fun-loving ruler. He had a new palace built called “Sadabad” (Place of Happiness) away from the daily stress of his resident Palace. It was located in a remote area, at the Sweet Waters of Europe (Kagithane). The sketches of Chateau Fountainbleau in Paris were brought in to be used as a model. Luxurious pavilions, statues, baths, lavish gardens for tulip cultivation and ornate fountains graced the area. Much as in the case of Holland, interest in the tulip bulb was pervasive and intense. Horticultural secrets were carefully guarded.

Rare strains of tulips were among the most coveted possessions, and were used as a means of securing high offices. The sultan, members of the ruling class, wealthy subjects, and diplomatic corps enjoyed daily garden parties and festivals where entertainment was provided by poets, musicians, jugglers and dancers. At night turtles carrying candles on their backs walked around the tulip beds. It was a setting reminiscent of the 1001 Nights Fables.

The Tulip Period was a period of extravagance and renovation in the country. It brought in its wake a general loosening of upper-class behavior, which trickled down to general public as well. An increased number of coffeehouses and taverns became center of popular entertainment. The poets found a new license to extol wine and love openly. This secular nature of the themes furthered an acceptance of worldly interests and pleasures, preparing the way for the acceptance of new ways and ideas. The introduction of the printing press to the Ottoman land by Ibrahim Muteferrika, a Hungarian convert, coincided with this period. The influence of the printing press opened the Ottoman eyes to the modern world. It was the beginning of the Ottoman Enlightenment, which is the most outstanding legacy of the Tulip Period.

The Tulip Period ended with dramatic events. The country was in the grips of rampant inflation, disorder, famine and plague, and the Palace was helpless to do anything to remedy the situation. Uprisings began to distress the realm again. Bandits, peasants, civilian and military rebels began to raid and ravage everything connected with the Tulip mood. The reactionary ulema and the disgruntled scribes fanned the discontent. On September 28, 1730 an Albanian janissary by the name Patrona Halil came before the Beyazit Mosque and declared that the sultan and the grand vizier had violated the Sheriat. This event started a rebellion that ended the Tulip Period.

The present play is a revised and re-written version of the original plot. The Artistic Director took a dramatic license, and chose to set the musical in a modern day Amsterdam -- in a hashish bar! This is an unorthodox departure from the classical context, and may be interpreted as a strikingly refreshing change.

TAFSUS Mourns the Passing of Founder and Former President Dr. Kenan Umar

Posted by TAFSUS Board | July 5, 2012

It is with great sadness that TAFSUS announces the passing of Dr. Kenan Umar, founder and past President of the Turkish American Friendship Society of the US (TAFSUS) on June 28, 2012 in Philadelphia. Burial will be in his birth place, Cyprus.

With his passing, TAFSUS lost a cornerstone of its history and establishment and a strong and loyal supporter of the organization and the Turkish American causes in the US. Dr. Umar was a most generous man and always ready to help TAFSUS in any way he can whether serving as its President, opening his house for a TAFSUS event, lending his office for TAFSUS meetings, helping Turks who recently arrived in Philadelphia from Turkey with jobs and housing, and giving advice and guidance based on his long years of service with the organization. He had a deep love and devotion of his heritage and it showed in every action he took.

Dr. Kenan Umar was a renowned Neurologist and Psychiatrist. He was married to Belma Umar for 55 years. He is also survived by his children Tuna, Meltem, Tugrul and Emre and his grandchildren, Cigdem, Alper, Akasya, Shemi, Aylin, Ayla, Bowman, Kenan Ali and Kaya. He also has an extended family in Cyprus.

In lieu flower tributes, family requests all donations to the Childhood Leukemia Foundation, www.clf4kids.org.

Dr. Kenan Umar will be greatly missed by his family and friends and all who knew him over the last 60 years in the Turkish American community. We will always be grateful to him for his great leadership and service to the community at large. On behalf of the Turkish American community, TAFSUS' board expresses its deep condolences to the Umar Family. May he rest in peace.

TAFSUS ATA School Concert

Posted by TAFSUS Board | March 1, 2012

TAFSUS is proud to present Turkish Mezzo-Soprano BELGIN TOMLINSON in a concert of classical music with arias selected from the international repertoire including pieces from Efem by Sayram Akdil. She will be accompanied at the piano by DAVID SHUNSKIS. Refreshments will be served after the concert.

Sunday, March 18, 2012at 4pm
Jacobs Music Company,
1135 N. Easton Road
Willow Grove PA 19090

Free parking available.


$30 per person, $50 per couple.
Children under 18 free.
Please send your payment asap to help us with planning.

Payment Options

  • Through paypal at www.tafsus.net/membership.html#payment Please use the “Donate” button and enter the correct
  • By Check: Please make your check out to TAFSUS and send it to
    Ibrahim Onaral
    3N. Columbus Blvd., #103
    Philadelphia, PA 19106.

    Please indicate on the memo line of your check that YOUR PAYMENT IS FOR ATA School.

If you are not attending the concert but would like to support ATA School: Please follow the above payment options.

If you need further information, please send an email to laleiskar@gmail.com

Mezzo-Soprano BELGIN TOMLINSON holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Hacettepe University in the capital city Ankara in Turkey. After receiving her Masters Degree in Opera Performance in 1989 with voice teacher Prof. Mustafa Yurdakul, Ms. Tomlinson joined the Izmir State Opera and Ballet as soloist.

She appeared in many operas. The roles she played include Maddalena, Suzuki, Lola, Carmen, Ulrica, Olga, Cherubino. She sang Mozart Requiem, Verdi Requiem, Mavi Nokta, Ataturk Oratoryosu and a variety of concerts as soloist singer. She continued her technical singing study with Russian Professor Konstantin Lisovsky.

In March 2000, Ms. Tomlinson was selected to spend one-year in Italy and Austria for career development and research. During her stay in Italy, she studied with Luciana D’Intino and Franca Ostini. She also studied interpretation with Bob Ketelson, Paris Opera main accompanist, and with Edi de Nadai.

In Vienna, Ms. Tomlinson studied singing techniques with Margarita Lilova, Kamer Sangerin and Professor Carol Byers. At the HochschuleMusic Academy, she studied interpretation with James Pearson, accompanist of Vienna State Opera.

She presently lives in Bucks County with her husband and two daughters.

Pianist DAVID SHUNSKIS is very active as soloist, chamber musician, accompanist and teacher. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Temple University in piano performance and music theory.His principal teacher was the late Vladimir Sokoloff of the Curtis Institute with whom he studied for over ten years. He has also studied with Donn-Alexandre Feder, Orlando Cole, Edgar Ortenberg and Tana Bawden.

Mr. Shunskis has taught at Settlement Music School for forty years, where he regularly presents recitals and children’s concerts. He is also Music Director and Organist of Trinity Memorial Church in Center City Philadelphia where he has conducted Fauré’s Requiem, Gounod’s St. Celelia Mass and Stabat Mater. Last spring as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts Mr. Shunskis played at the Kimmel Center as well as several times on the Jacobs Music Noonday Recital Series at the Kimmel. He has performed in England and France including playing Ravel’s Concerto for Left Hand in Paris.

Under his direction, Trinity Center Opera Company presented fully staged productions of Die Fledermaus, Hansel and Gretel, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Barber of Seville, Offenbach’s Orpheus, Amelia Goes to the Ball and concert versions of Rigoletto and Aida. His Trinity Center music program from 1997-2004 presented concerts and afternoon recitals that introduced audiences to talented Philadelphia-area musicians in such diverse genre as Chamber Music, Yiddish songs, Cabaret and African drums.

Lobster Dinner - Sing Along

Posted by TAFSUS Board | January 13, 2012

TAFSUS invites you to a special dinner at the Downey's (corner of Front and South Streets) on Friday, January 20th, 2012 between 7 pm to 10 pm. TAFSUS Choir will perform with the participation of the Oud player Murat Keyder.


Menu incldes approx. 2 lbs steamed lobster served with steamed vegetables and baked potato
Desert: Cheese cake or Irish whisky cake (both served with whipped cream)
Tea, coffee, soft drinks
At the exceptional price of $35; Members & Choir: $25
(tax and gratuity included)

Other Main course options:
If the lobster does not appeal to you, please choose from the following:
Grilled Atlantic salmon with fresh herbs, topped with a lobster bisque sauce served with rice and vegetables or Chicken Sullivan: Breast of chicken lightly fried, stuffed with fresh spinach and roasted peppers, provolone cheese, served with rice and vegetables.
Cash bar.


Please let us know that you are coming by sending your email to wallisu@msn.com. Please include the names of your guests in your message. Also, please let us know if you want the lobster, salmon, or chicken selection.

Payment Options

  • Send your check made out to TAFSUS to Wallis Urmenyhazi, 500 S. 46th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143-2102.
  • Pay through paypal at www.tafsus.net/membership.html#payment Please use the “Donate” button and enter the correct Amount ($25 or $35).


There is two-hour on street parking adjacent to the Restaurant, either metered north of South Street or un-metered south of South Street. There is off-street parking two blocks from the Restaurant at the Park of America Indoor Parking Garage located at 2nd and Lombard Streets. The price to park on Saturdays is $10 after 6 pm. with a voucher obtained at the Restaurant.

Further Information

Please contact Wallis at wallisu@msn.com


Photos and videos from the event are at the 2012 photos section and more information is available at the news at the newsletter section.

ATA School - Call for Support

Posted by TAFSUS Board | November 29, 2011

Dear TAFSUS Members and Friends,

The great leader Ataturk once said "Today’s children's are tomorrow's promise". As we invest in our children, all of society benefits for generations to come. By investing in our children’s education to learn about their Turkish heritage, we can also build a stronger Turkish American community for the future.

It is with this idea that ATA School was started in January of 2008. Currently two Turkish classes are being offered to children ages 3-14 at the Montgomery County Community College on Sundays. Enrollment varies between 18-25 students. ATA School has been very well received in the community not only for providing Turkish language and cultural education to its students but also for helping them better understand and appreciate their Turkish heritage. As expressed by many parents in a recent parent-teacher meeting, ATA School has made it 'cool' for the kids to speak Turkish and to be a member of the Turkish American Community.

Unfortunately, ATA School is under increasing pressures for additional funding to support its ongoing operations. Normally, the school receives about half of its funding through student tuitions and half through donations from its co-sponsors, TAFSUS and the Middle East Center (MEC) of the University of Pennsylvania. This year, however, the school’s revenues are expected to be reduced due to the economy, while costs have actually increased, resulting in a shortfall of about $10,000.

TAFSUS Board members and ATA School parents are currently working together to raise the additional funds needed for a successful completion of the school year. While we are considering a wide range of options for this purpose, our hope is that a significant portion of the shortfall can be raised through individual and business donations from the Turkish American community.

This is where you can make a difference. Any donations you make to TAFSUS, small or large, can go a long way towards ensuring that ATA school classes continue uninterrupted. Please help us by sending your tax deductible contribution as follows:

Friend: $25 Supporter: $100 Major Contributor: $500 or above

Please make your check to TAFSUS and send it to Ibrahim Onaral, TAFSUS Treasurer, 3 N. Columbus Blvd. #103, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Also, please indicate "ATA School" in the memo line so your donation can be distinguished from other general TAFSUS donations.

Additional information about ATA School can be found on our website: www.TAFSUS.net. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Lale Iskarpatyoti or Dilek Arig.

Many thanks in advance for helping us maintain this unique school for our children and for investing in the future of our community.

Best regards,

Orient Express @ Philadelphia Museum of Art

Posted by TAFSUS Board | November 11, 2011

ORIENT EXPRESS - FROM PARIS TO ISTANBUL is a program presented jointly by TAFSUS and the Alliance Francaise. The program took place at Philadelphia Art Muesum on November 4, 2011.

Performances include:
- Raya Brass Band (Turkish and Balkan band)
- JeniViva (Turkish belly dance)
- Mystical Hips Tribe (belly dance troupe)
- LES Hot Club (French gypsy jazz)
- Marni Rice (chanteuse and accordionist)
- Peekaboo Revue, French Can Can & Cabaret

There were on-going Sculpting and Ebru demonstrations. Turkish and French Artifact display tables. Turkish Artifact and Carpet Display Table on loan by Woven Legends. French and Turkish food items on the menu. Katherine Branning, Librarian at the Alliance Francaise in New York and a great friend of Turkey and expert of Turkish Society will be on hand to sign her book, Yes, I Would Love Another Cup of Tea.

Photos from the event are posted at the 2011 Photo album.

TAFSUS Republic Day 2011

Posted by TAFSUS Board | November 10, 2011

TAFSUS Republic Day Dinner was held on Saturday October 29, 2011 at Crowne Plaza Philadelphia, King of Prussia, PA. Music was be provided by Ercan Dereyayla and his group. Photos from the event are posted at the 2011 album section. The program booklet is posted below

TAFSUS Republic Day Booklet 2011

Perge Exhibit and Lecture

Posted by TAFSUS Board | October 25, 2011

The glorious story of Perge, located near Turkey's Mediterranean coast and modern Antalya, began in prehistoric times and continues today with tis designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With continuous Istanbul University exploration of the site since 1946, the project now celebrates its 65th anniversary, making it the longest-running all-Turkish excavation in the country.

Coinciding with a traveling poster exhibition that Dr. Inci Delemen of Istanbul University will highlight the remarkable archaelogy of Perge on November 7, 2011 at 6:30pm, at Drexel University, University Club. Both the exhibit and lecture are free and open to public.

ExhibitDates Friday, November 4, 2011 to Monday, November 7, 2011
Time 8am - 10pm
Location Drexel University, Mandell Theather Lobby
3210 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
LectureDate Monday, November 7, 2011
Time 6:30pm
Location Drexel University, University Club
33rd & Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

TAFSUS Picnic - Sept 11, 2011

Posted by TAFSUS Board | August 16, 2011

TAFSUS is pleased to invite you to the 2011 TAFSUS Picnic on Sunday September 11, 2011

Date: Sunday, September 11, 2011
Location: Ridley Creek State Park (351 Gradyville Rd. Newtown Square, PA 19073)
Park Phone: 610-892-3900
Picnic Area: Pavilion 11A
Time: Noon-Sunset

There will be a Real Turkish Doner cooked on the spot for a reasonable fee. Also, everyone is welcome to bring his or her own food and beverage if preferred.

The main intersection is US1 and the Blue Route (Route 476) then use the directions in the link from there to the park. For your convenience, see this link for directions from the Philadelphia International Airport to the Park.

The winner of the backgammon tournament was Meral Temel. The runner-up was Ibrahim Onaral. With special thanks to Varol Yuksel, for managing the doner and Ahmet Celikci for volunteering to bring the doner from NJ to the picnic, we had wonderful time. Below are pictures from the event.

ATA School Registration Open - Now Through Sept 26, 2011

Posted by TAFSUS Board | August 11, 2011

Now in its forth year, ATA School ATA School offers Turkish language and cultural education classes to children ages 4-14. This 28 week program is made possible through a generous donation by the Turkish American Friendship Society of US (TAFSUS) and the University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center (MEC).

Detailed class schedule, tuition and enrollment information is provided in the brochure. Early registration is highly recommended. For more information please contact ATA School Director Dilek Arig, at darig@comcast.net

Where:Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA
When:Every Sunday 11:00 am - 2:00 pm – October 2 2011 through May 20, 2012
Enrollment:Through September 26, 2011

Republic Day Booklet 2010

Posted by TAFSUS Board | December 31, 2010

Here's the booklet distributed to guests of TAFSUS Republic Day Dinner on October 22, 2010. Photos from the event are also available at 2010 Photo Album.

Networking & Grassroots Reception

Posted by TAFSUS Board | December 2, 2010

You are invited to the Networking and Grassroots Reception and Panel on Saturday December 4, 2010 at Drexel University. There will be speakers from academia, industry and will share tips and information about various issues you might have already or will face. Reception will start at 14:00 and followed by panel and Q&A session. Please join this event to learn more about national and regional organizations and their activities.

Welcoming remarks: Ibrahim Onaral (TAFSUS)
Consul Ümit Alparslan Kiliç (New York Consulate)
Education Attache Ibrahim Demirer (New York Consulate)
Çigdem Acar (Acar Law Firm)
Yenal Küçüker (ATAA)
Can Kaplan (TADF)
Utku Kürsat Ercan (Drexel Turkish Student Assoc)
Necati Tereyagoglu (UPenn Turkish Student Assoc)
Izzet Darendeli (Temple Turkish Student Assoc)

Photos from this event are available at the 2010 photo album section

Turkish-French Evening

Posted by TAFSUS Board | October 30, 2010

TAFSUS & the Allicance Francaise de Philadelphie invite you to a musical Turkish-French Evening (SOIREE FRANCOTURQUE) on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at the Restaurant School(4207 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA) as a sequel to the nine-month celebration of Turkey in France. Turkey was celebrated with over 400 concerts, conferences and exhibitions across France illustrating Turkey's modern face and its historical and cultural richness.

6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
4207 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104

Turkish Appetizers: Eggplant salad, zucchini patties, red pepper dip, filo pastry, carrot salad, feta cheese w/cantaloupe, fried eggplant w/yogurt dip
Turkish Main course: Turkish meatballs, Turkish pilav, shepherd salad
French Desert: Assorted mini French Pastries.
The Cash Bar will include Turkish and French selections
Price: Members: $30, Non-members: $35 (tax included)

Please make your reservation no later than Nov. 5 by sending your email to wallisu@msn.com. Please reserve as soon as possible as seating is limited and reservations will be accepted on a first come first served basis.

Payment options
1. Send your check made out to TAFSUS to Wallis Urmenyhazi, 500 S. 46th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143-2102
2. Pay online through paypal at http://tafsus.net/membership.html#payment
Please use the "Donate" button and enter the correct Amount ($30 or $35).

Driving directions
Please consult the Restaurant School webpage at www.walnuthillcollege.edu

Free on-site parking Further information contact Wallis at wallisu@msn.com

PECO World Culture Day: Turkish Delight

Posted by TAFSUS Board | September 18, 2010

All visitors are invited to an afternoon of pure Turkish delight at the Penn Museum (3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104) on Sunday, September 26, 2010, that celebrates the opening of "Archaeologists & Travelers in Ottoman Lands" exhibition with a wider look of at the homeland of Osman Hamdi Bey.

The afternoon features Turkish music, cooking demonstrations, talks by the exhibition curators as well as crafts and more. Sponsored by the TAFSUS (Turkish American Friendship Society of the United States), Turkish Delight! is the first in the Penn Museum's series of 2010-2011 World Culture Days sponsored by PECO.


1:00 pm - Ribbon Cutting of Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands exhibition with Ms. Nihan Bekar, Cultural Attaché for the Turkish Consulate General in New York, Williams Director Richard Hodges, and exhibition curators Robert Ousterhout and Renata Holod.

1:15 pm - Baris Kaya and his band, Barakka, fuse Middle Eastern, Turkish folk and Western rock music together to create a large rock sound with traditional instruments and accents.

2:00 pm - Curators' Lectures: Renata Holod, Near East section curator and History of Art professor, presents "Introducing the Oldest of the ‘Young Turks': Osman Hamdi Bey" followed by Robert Ousterhout, Byzantine Art and Architecture professor and Center for Ancient Studies director, discussing "Introducing the Forgotten Father of American Archaeological Photography: John Henry Haynes."

2:45 pm - Turkish Cuisine Demonstration by Lale Iskarpatyoti. Visitors learn to make Kisir (parsley and bulgur salad) and Piyaz (white bean salad).

3:00 pm - Finale Musical Presentation by Ayca Yesim singing Turkish classical songs.

Throughout the day:

Activities for all ages include an Ebru workshop teaching the Turkish art of "cloud painting" on paper, Turkish tile painting, and make-your-own Evil Eye bracelets-protective amulets popular throughout Turkey today.

Penn Museum's International Classroom program speaker Ferit Tüzer, from Istanbul, Turkey, shares information about the arts, culture, and politics of modern Turkey, at a show-and-tell table throughout the afternoon.

Enjoy Turkish cuisine prepared by Penn Museum's new The Pepper Mill Café. Explore the Museum's two shops, gardens, and three gallery floors featuring materials from around the world.

Address: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: (215) 898-4000

Turkish Night Celebration

Posted by TAFSUS Board | August 14, 2010

A Celebration of Turkey and its culture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (The Great Stairway, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130) on Friday, September 3, 2010. Program

5:45 pm - 6:45 pm Music by Fahir Atakoglu and his band.
6:45 pm – 7:15 pm Turkish Yastik (Pillow) presentation by Dennis R. Dodds (at the Amphitheater)
7:15 pm - 8:15 pm Music by Fahir Atakoglu and his band.

  • On-going Backgammon demonstration

  • Turkish Artifact and Carpet Display Table on loan from Material Culture and Woven Legends

  • Turkish Food Items on the menu...

As part of the evening program, there will be a presentation on Turkish Yastik (Pillows) by Dennis R. Dodds, an internationally recognized collector, lecturer, author and consultant in the field of oriental rugs. He received the McMullen Award for Scholarship in Islamic Carpets from the Near East Art Research Center in Washington. D.C. He was invited by the curator of the renowned Turk ve Islam Eserleri Muzesi to design their exhibition of early Ottoman carpets. He currently holds the leadership position of General Secretary of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets. (dennisdodds@juno.com)

Musical entertainment will be provided by the internationally known Turkish musician, Fahir Atakoglu, and his band. Born in Istanbul. award-winning composer and pianist Fahir Atakoglu is well known for his ambitious symphonic works and music for film. He has composed music for many of Turkey’s top musicians, and earned a loyal international following through the release of nine albums, including the Grammy award-nominated release Istanbul in Blue (2008), which features jazz/rock fusion with traditional Turkish influences. Employing unique rhythmic, melodic and harmonic sensitivities, Atakoglu’s music reflects his many different cultural influences, which combine to create compositions with striking originality that still play in tune with the culture of his motherland.

Admission to the Museum (not including food) is $16 for adults; $14 for seniors (65+); $12 for students with ID and children 13-18. Free for children 12 and under. There is no additional charge for the evening program or guided tours after Museum admission. The museum is open until 8:45 p.m. Guided gallery tours are offered throughout the evening.

For driving directions and parking information please consult the museum web page: www.philamuseum.org.

This program is supported by TAFSUS. For more information please contact Wallis Urmenyhazi: wallisu@msn.com

ATA School Registration Open - Now Through September 24, 2010

Posted by TAFSUS Board | July 1, 2010

Now in its third year, ATA School will once again be offering Turkish language and cultural education classes to children (ages 4-14) and adults (15+), starting October 3, 2010.

ATA School classes are jointly sponsored by the Turkish American Friendship Society of US (www.TAFSUS.net) and the Middle East Center at UPenn.

They are held on Sundays at the Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. Detailed class schedule and tuition information is provided in the brochure. Due to limited class space, early registration is highly recommended.

For more information please contact ATA School Director Dilek Arig, at darig@comcast.net

USA vs Turkey soccer match in Philadelphia and "Turkish American Friendship Day"

Posted by TAFSUS Board | June 4, 2010

ATAA teamed up with the Turkish Soccer Federation (TFF) and US Soccer Federation to send off Team USA to the World Cup in South Africa. The May 29 USA vs. Turkey "send off" match was Team USA's final preparation before the World Cup tournament. Also, the May 29 match, attended by over 55,000 spectators at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field Stadium, broke US Soccer's match attendance record.

ATAA presented a pre-game show of Turkish folk dancing by the Washington DC Kardelen Troupe in the stadium plaza. At half-time, the ATAA hosted Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for a presentation of awards at the Turkish Football Federation suite. Mayor Nutter proclaimed May 29, 2010, as "Turkish American Friendship Day", and presented the proclamation to Turkish Football Federation Board Member Levent Kizil, Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan, and ATAA President Günay Evinch.

Mayor Nutter expressed, "Turkish soccer is a leader in the world. Turkey is a leading US partner. Turkish Americans of Philadelphia are leading citizens", as he handed the proclamations. Mayor Nutter also handed a Liberty Bell trophy to Ambassador Tan to celebrate US-Turkish friendship. Ambassador Tan expressed deep appreciation to Mayor Nutter for his warm hospitality. TFF Board Member Kizil handed Mayor Nutter a TFF trophy of appreciation, while TFF Deputy Secretary General handed a gift to ATAA President Evinch.

ATAA reciprocated by presenting Plaques of Appreciation to the Philadelphia Mayor, Turkish Football Federation, and US Soccer Federation. The ATAA plaques expressed appre ciation on behalf of "the Turkish American community nationwide" for "contributions to US-Turkish Friendship and Turkish American solidarity". President Evinch, speaking before the Mayor and the two soccer federations, stated, "Today, millions of Americans are watching this great match. Tens of thousands of spectators are wearing the 'Send Off T-Shirt' which prominently features the names and flags of the USA and Turkey. We, Turkish Americans, are proud that Team USA was sent off to South Africa in a sporting event that has broken the US Soccer match attendance record, with a friendly match with our motherland, Turkey."

President Evinch thanked his Pennsylvania regional VP Ibrahim Onaral and local ATAA chapter, TAFSUS, for working so hard with the Mayor's Office and US Soccer Federation. He thanked his Capitol Region VP Demet Cabbar for a spectacular Turkish folk dance presentation. President Evinch expressed deep appreciation to the TFF Board Member Kizil and Ambassador Tan for partnering with ATAA grassroots (TABAN) in the promotion of Turkish diversity and friendship at the May 29 USA vs. Turkey match; "without their confidence and support, this could not have happened", he said.

ATA School - 23 April Children's Day Ball

Posted by TAFSUS Board | April 12, 2010

TAFSUS / ATA School cordially invite you to ATA School's 3rd Annual 23 April Children's Day Ball on Sunday, April 18, 2010 at Montgomery Community College, College Hall, Faculty Staff Dining Room (First Floor) from noon to 3pm.

Food And Refreshments, Music , Dancing , Poems, Songs, Games, Treats

Please RSVP to iskarpatyoti@aol.com. Kindly Include Your Children’s Names, Ages and Gender to help us to better plan for this event. Admission to this event is free (Donations To Ata School Will Be Gratefully Accepted).

For more information and directions to Montgomery Community College, see the poster ...

TAFSUS Luncheon at Divan

Posted by TAFSUS Board | January 22, 2010

Let us welcome the New Year together at Divan Turkish Kitchen & Bar on Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 12:30 pm with our special guest, Robert Colburn, a coxswain (dumenci) with the Fenerbahce Rowing Team who has competed with the team internationally. He will present his most recent work, The Sultan’s Helmsman, a novel about the Ottoman navy and Renaissance Italy.

Seating is limited and reservations will be accepted on a first come first served basis. Please make your reservations no later than January 29 by sending your email to Wallis at wallisu@msn.com including the names of your guests.

You can choose among three menus:
1. You can order a la carte
2. You can order the Divan lunch special at $9.95
3. You can order the special menu for TAFSUS guests at $15.00 incl. gratuity and tax as follows:
Shepherd’s Salad or Lentil Soup
Sigara boregi
Entrée( choice of one):
1. Tavuk Adana and Doner Kebap served with rice
2. Vegetarian dish
Desert: Baklava
Beverages: Soda, Turkish Tea, Coffee

For directions please check Divan’s webpage: www.divanturkishkitchen.com For more information please send your email to Wallis Urmenyhazi at wallisu@msn.com.

Divan Turkish Kitchen
918 S. 22nd, Street, Philadelphia PA 19146
Tel: 215-545-5790