August 21, 1999
Ambassador Baki Ilkin
1714 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20005
message sent via facsimile: 202.612.6744
Dear Ambassador Ilkin,
It is with a heart filled with sorrow that I write you to express my sadness over the death of thousands of people killed in the earthquake of August 17, 1999, in and around Izmit, Golcuk and Istanbul. It goes without saying that the Kurdish community of America joins me in extending you its heart-felt condolences as well.
While we continue to offer our prayers to those who have met untimely deaths, we also worry about the survivors, the Turks and the Kurds alike, and hope and pray that they get on their feet all right and soon. You might be pleased to know that I have asked the members of the Kurdish community to put aside its differences with your government at this tragic hour and join the International effort to help your government to overcome this crisis.
I am also in touch with the Kurdish business leaders in America to spearhead an effort of our own to offer a helping hand to the stricken people of the region. I am confident these efforts will bear some fruit soon and I will keep you abreast of our progress in the coming days and weeks.
Again, I wish you well at this difficult time in your nation’s history.