| |About Ayhan OZER
Ayhan Ozer, a Turkish-American, and a graduate of the Technical University of Istanbul. He is a linguist specialized in English and Turkish languages. He was accredited and worked for the U.S. State Department, ATT Language Lines, New Jersey Board of Education, Berlitz, and the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Court systems.
He is a writer and a columnist. He was the Editorial Page Editor of The Turkish Times for ten years published by-weekly in Washington, DC. He contributed “Opinion” articles to this paper on a regular basis. He was a writer/columnist for the U.S. papers as well, such as Courier Times for six years. Authored and published articles about Medical interpretation for the American Translators Association’s publications.
He provides views and opinions for the papers, and was quoted in Philadelphia Inquirer, Asbury Park Press and Trenton Times. He wrote extensively on international politics, history, actual subjects and in general interests.
He is also a lecturer and a luncheon speaker. His credits in those areas include Princeton Rotary Club, Rutgers University, Bucks County Community College, Neshaminy High School and various churches and synagogues.
He worked and lived in France, Denmark, Indonesia and Brazil on engineering assignments.
He speaks Turkish and French
Past member of the following professional associations:
American Translators Association
New York Circle of Translators
"This country has provided me with tremendous
opportunities as well as challenges to grow..."
An Interview with Ayhan OZER
by Didem MUSLU
Below interview is originally published in the Turkish Times in June 1995.
Ayhan Ozer is the Editorial Page Editor of The Turkish Times; he is an engineer by profession, and holds an M.S. degree from the Technical University of Istanbul. He and his family immigrated to the United States to seek professional opportunities. They live in New Jersey.
Mr. Ozer has long been active in the Turkish-American affairs in a variety of capacities, as president, vice-president, public relations director, fundraiser, writer and lecturer. These diverse credentials make him a person with one of the longest service to the Turkish-American community. He and his wife Angul were among the founding members of the Assembly (A.T.A.A.) in May 1980 in Washington, D.C. At which time he was elected the Regional V.P. of the Assembly, and worked tirelessly in that capacity until 1986.
To promote the Turkish cause, Mr. Ozer assumed leadership role in a variety of activities, such as raising funds, interacting with the congressmen, with the media, with the spiritual organizations, and the academia. His dedication, vision, his broad experience and knowledge on the issues, and his writing skills have always been big assets for the Turkish community. He served twice as the President of the T.A.F.S.U.S., a Philadelphia-based organization, the Regional P.R. Director of the Federation of Turkish-American Associations in New York, and the P.R. chairman of the faith-based cultural organization in Pennsylvania.
When the Turkish Times began publication in 1989, he was the natural choice for the Editorial position. As we have been receiving favorable comments from our readership about his insights and writings, we have decided to give our readers an opportunity to get to know him better by publishing an interview with him.
First, I asked Ayhan Ozer whether he had received any journalism education. His response follows:
--" I am grateful to our readers who take time to register their opinion. As for your specific question; I do not have any formal education in journalism. I am an avid reader, when I read I am conscious about the word choice, I savor the usage and the style. I like languages, I guess I can call myself a language afficionado."
--" I understand, besides the Turkish Times you write for some other publications as well."
--" Yes, now and then I contribute 'Guest Opinion' articles, and provide views and perspectives to other English language newspapers as well.
--" Were you involved in writing before the Turkish Times?"
--" Yes, writing has always been a part of my life, a way of self-expression, a catharsis if you will; in my work I authored numerous technical reports, news-letters, and a number of Engineering Guides. While I was in Turkey,
I wrote a one-act play, in French, which was staged by a Francophone amateur group. I believe writing liberates me in a sense."
--" So, I gather you speak French also?"
--" Yes, I do. Although lately my French has become somewhat rusty."
--" Can you tell us a little bit about your background?"
--" I did all my education in Istanbul. After graduating from the Technical University of Istanbul I worked in France and in Denmark. Then, in 1971 we moved to the States. This country has provided me with tremendous opportunities as well as challenges to grow, which have broadened my horizon in many levels. I have gained an awareness and a fresh outlook through a variety of projects in Brazil, Kuwait and Indonesia. They sharpened my vision professionally as well as intellectually. I am grateful for those opportunities.”
--" As you are intimately involved in the Assembly’s lobbying efforts, would you give us an overall assessment of the Turkish-American lobby in the United States? What is its status and what else can be done?"
--" Of course many things can be done and should be done judiciously, effectively and soon. Lobbying is a sophisticated business. The Turkish-American lobby is still in a fledgling stage. It has yet to assume a professional character. At this time, it is run by a group of dedicated first generation Turkish-Americans, it lacks funds and personnel who are fully integrated into the American mainstream with their language, culture and education. Lobbies in this country are run by full-time professionals; there is no room in this business for part-time amateurs.
We have a lot to learn in that respect from other successful lobbies. Despite these handicaps, however, in the 1980s the Turkish-American lobby scored sizeable victories in the U.S. Congress and in the media. This is a promising sign. We should keep in mind that running a lobby is not a destination, it is a journey, a never ending process, it is very demanding and requires constant vigilance. It should be kept alive with funds and resourcefull personnel.”
--" How do you describe the role of the Turkish Times in the Turkish-American community?"
--"Today, the size of the Turkish community in this country is growing by day and reflects gradually a more diverse demography. In keeping with this, the Turkish Times’s mission is to link effectively those various segments of the
community, not only as a news organ, but as a viable outreach medium to form public opinion as well. I think The Turkish Times is well suited and accepted to play this cohesive role, and must be nurtured to make it even
more effective a community voice."
I concluded our interview by thanking and wishing him well. I hope our readers will enjoy this close encounter with Ayhan Ozer.