Turkish Americans in Public Offices 2017


JUDGE JAY KARAHAN

Judge Jay (Ceyhun) Karahan won re-election in 2014 as the Presiding Judge of Harris County Criminal Court #8 in Houston, Texas. Judge Karahan is a native of Tampa, Florida and moved to Texas in 1979 to study law at South Texas College of Law. As both a state and federal prosecutor Judge Karahan tried to jury verdict over 100 serious felony cases. He is licensed to practice before the Texas Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Judge Karahan is currently the only Turkish American serving in an elected office. In total there have been six Turkish Americans who have been elected to public office, all on the local level.

FATIMA (FATOS) ARGUN

Fatima (Fatos) Argun serves as an elected member of the Steering Committee of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. As an Outreach/Visibility Chair, she works with community stakeholders to enhance democratic participation and build long term meaningful relationships to increase engagement and include diverse voices in the political process. She was a delegate to the Virginia State convention and ran as a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention representing Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

YELDA BARTLETT

Turkish American attorney Yelda Bartlett was appointed as an alternate member to the Democratic Central Committee of Alameda County, California. Her husband, Ben Bartlett, was elected to serve in Berkeley City Council District 3 in the 2016 general elections. Ms. Bartlett previously served as a Commissioner for the Community Environmental Advisory Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women (COSOW) for the City of Berkeley where she was elected chairwoman of the Commission.

LEAH ERSOYLU

Leah Ersoylu was recently elected to the Costa Mesa Board of Parks and Recreation. Ms. Ersoylu and her Turkish American husband, Sarp, run a consulting firm, which helps support the sustainability of community-based programs in Turkey and the United States.

MURAT GUZEL

Turkish American businessman and CEO of Nimeks Organic and Natural Food Source, Inc. Murat Guzel served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s Heritage Council. He also served as an officer with the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council and as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016.

DUYSEVI KARAN MIYAR

In 2016, Duysevi Karan Miyar was elected as Executive Committee Woman of the Democratic Party in Precinct 303 of Miami, Florida. She was previously a 2016 Democratic candidate for District 111 of the Florida House of Representatives and a candidate for the District 4 seat of the Miami-Dade County School Board in Florida. She currently serves as an educator in the Miami-Dade County Public School system.

ERSAL OZDEMIR

Turkish American CEO Ersal Ozdemir, Founder and Chairman of Indianapolis’ professional soccer team, presents Vice President Mike Pence with an Indy Eleven soccer jersey while he served as Governor as Indiana. Vice President-elect Pence was a member of the Congressional Turkey Caucus when he served in Congress.

CEYLAN ROWE

Turkish American entrepreneur and women’s rights activist Ceylan Rowe is a Commissioner at the Metro West Commission of the Status of Women in Massachusetts. The Commission advocates for the rights of women across Massachusetts. Rowe’s company Trendy Napkin, which sells non-sweatshop shirts, has carried out social and entrepreneurial campaigns for Syrian refugee women and helps refugee women become self-sufficient through donations.

DERYA TASKIN

Turkish American businesswoman Derya Taskin serves as Deputy Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey. She also runs her own consulting company and aids small businesses interested in selling their products within the Turkish market and aids Turkish companies looking to invest in the U.S. Ms. Taskin also serves as Commissioner of the Library and Museum Board for Paterson and was previously President of the Paterson Turkish American Society association.

DR. ERDEM URAL

Dr. Erdem Ural was elected to the Stoughton School Committee in Stoughton, Massachusetts in 2008. He served in that position from 2008 to 2011. In 2012, Dr. Ural was re-elected to the School Committee, serving until 2015. He is running for Stoughton School Committee in early April of 2017. Dr. Ural holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan.