VATAN is a charitable organization with a Tax ID number of EIN: 90-0340728

VATAN Bylaws




(1) The name of this non-profit organization shall be Ventura County American Turkish AssociatioN (VATAN).


(1) The purposes of this Association are as follows:

(a) Present Turkish culture to the public at large, and promote a better understanding between the Turkish and American communities;

(b) Create and maintain communication, unity and solidarity within the Ventura County Turkish community and the larger ATASC and ATAA organizations;

(c) Operate a Turkish School to teach children and adults Turkish language, history and culture;

(d) Organize cultural, social and educational activities, and participate in other (e.g. international, and community based) cultural events;

(e) Inform its members and the public of relevant news events in the Turkish community and from Turkey;

(f) Provide support to Turkish students and Turkish student organizations at the universities and colleges within the state of California on cultural activities; and

(g) Initiate and/or participate in humanitarian and charitable activities.

(h) Others.

VATAN has IRS charitable organization designation with EIN is 90-0340728.



VATAN Guidelines:

1. This organization is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, cultural and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or corresponding section of any future federal tax code. The organization also elected 501 (C) (3) h election which allows it to perform advocacy work

2. No part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, or other private persons, except that the organization is authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and make payments and distributions for services rendered in the furtherance of the purposes set forth in the purpose clause hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying on of the propaganda or otherwise trying to influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) or any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for political office. Notwithstanding nay other provision of this document, the organization shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under section 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

3. Upon the dissolution of the organization, assets should be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of the section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of the Common Please of the county in which the principal office of the organization is then located, exclusively for such purposes to an organization or organizations, as said Court determine, which are organized and operated for such purposes.



(1) The membership of this Association shall consist of persons who have paid their membership dues.

(2) There shall be three (3) types of memberships:

(a) Family Membership shall consist of two spouses, or one or two parents and their children less than 18 years of age. Their children over 18 years of age shall be considered as individual or student members if they pay membership dues. Each spouse/parent who is a member through Family Membership shall be entitled to one vote.

(b) Individual Membership shall include persons, 18 years of age or older.

(c) Student Membership shall include any student, 18 years of age or older, attending school within the state of California.


 (1) The 2011 and following years, yearly dues continue to be

            50 dollars Individual

            75 dollars Family

            25 dollars Student

 (2) The dues of the Association can be fixed annually by the Executive Board for 2011 and every year thereafter.

(3) Dues for the first year of membership shall be paid upon joining the association - prorated for the remaining months of that year -, and then shall be paid annually in January for each year of membership thereafter.


(1) The General Assembly, consisting of membership-at-large, is the ultimate decision-making body of the Association.

(2) Convening the General Assembly: The General Assembly meeting shall be open to all of the members of the Association, and each voting member shall be entitled to one vote and one proxy vote, if so authorized by their spouse or another member. The ordinary General Assembly shall convene annually in December. The Executive Board may postpone the ordinary General Assembly by up to one month provided there is a reasonable justification. The Executive Board shall attempt to notify every member via post mail or e-mail a notice of the ordinary General Assembly meeting date, place, and agenda at least two weeks in advance of such meeting.

Extraordinary General Assembly meetings may be convened by the Executive Board or upon the written request of a minimum of 10 (ten) percent of the members by applying to the Executive Board. In either case, the party requesting the meeting shall prepare the agenda. The Executive Board must convene the special meeting within 30 (thirty) days after the request. The Executive Board shall send out notification to members via mail or e-mail a notice of the extraordinary General Assembly meeting date, place and agenda at least two weeks in advance of such meeting.

A minimum of fifteen (15) percent of the members shall constitute a quorum. Decisions shall be approved by the vote of the majority of those members present. In the event that a quorum is not present at such meeting, the Executive Board shall achieve the purpose of the General Assembly by either convening a second meeting or through a mail-in ballot, the votes from which shall be collected/ received and counted within 30 days after the first meeting. A quorum shall not be necessary for the second meeting and a decision may be approved by a vote of a majority of the members present.



(1) The Members of Executive Board

(a) The Executive Board of this Association will be comprised of 7 members including the ex President.. The positions on the Board are President, a Vice President, a Secretary, the Treasurer, Social Events Chairperson, two at large members. The immediate past president of VATAN shall automatically be a member of the Executive Board.

(b) Executive Board Members, except for the ex President, shall be elected by the General Assembly. The term of office for Executive Board Members shall be two years, unless an extraordinary General Assembly is convened for a new election. For continuity purposes, the tenure of the BOD members is staggered to have no more than 3 elected during each election. The outgoing Executive Board shall continue with full responsibility until the new Executive Board is elected.

(2) Powers of the Executive Board:

Subject at all times to this Constitution, the Executive Board shall have the power to do and perform every act which it shall deem necessary to carry out the goals of the Association, as listed herein, including but not limited to determine the membership dues, to establish, guide and dissolve committees to carry out specific duties and projects. The Executive Board shall form specific committees to carry out the specific activities of the Association.

(3) Duties of the Executive Board Members:

(a) President shall be the spokesperson of the Executive Board, explaining decisions, scheduling and chairing regular Executive Board meetings, and calling special meetings as necessary, provided that the President gives a minimum of one-week notice to the other Executive Board members. The President shall generally supervise and manage the business affairs of the Association.

(b) Vice President shall preside over Executive Board meetings whenever the President is unable to do so. In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President and shall be responsible for the communication between the VATAN committees. In addition, the Vice President shall assist the President in carrying out his/her duties.

(c) Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings in VATAN registry, shall maintain the official correspondence of the Association, and perform all other duties as required of him/her by the Executive Board.

(d) Treasurer shall keep records of all financial transactions of the Association, and make regular financial reports to the Executive Board, the ATASC CFO, and to the Auditor. The Treasurer shall prepare the yearly budget for the Executive Boards review and approval. The approved financial reports and annual budgets shall be kept in the Registry as official records. The Treasurer shall make the financial records of the Association available to the membership for review.

(e) Social Events Chairperson shall coordinate all social functions and events with the Executive Board, organize committees for those activities, and perform all other duties as required of him/her by the Executive Board.

(f) Two Members at large will help in wherever necessary to execute the duties of the VATAN BOD.

(g) Turkish School Director will not be a member of the BOD. He/she will be invited to board meetings whenever necessary. School Director shall coordinate the activities of the school with the Executive Board, organize committees for these activities and perform all other duties as required of him/her by the Executive Board.

(h) Public Relations director shall coordinate the activities of VATAN in the public relations area; most importantly the construction, renewal and updating of the VATAN website, VATAN public/confidential information, VATAN servers, mailing lists, etc and perform all other duties as required of him/her by the Executive Board.

(4) Executive Board Meetings: The Executive Board shall hold official meetings at least six times per year, preferably once every other month (or more frequently if needed). The presence of four Executive Board members shall constitute a quorum. All resolutions shall be approved by majority vote. In the event of a tie, the President’s vote shall count as two votes. The minutes of each meeting including the resolutions shall be kept as official records of the Association.

Any Executive Board member, who misses three consecutive meetings, without a compelling excuse, shall be considered to have resigned.

Past presidents of the Association, the representatives from student Association’s, and other members of the Association may observe the Executive Board meetings by making arrangements through an Executive Board member. However, these members shall not be entitled to vote for Executive Board decisions.



There are no plans to form an advisory Council at this time.


(1) A member of the Association shall be elected as an Auditor as described herein. The duties of the Auditor shall be to audit the financial records of the Association on behalf of the Association members at any time if requested by a member. The Auditor shall report his/her findings to the Executive Board quarterly and provide an updated written report at the General Assembly before the general elections. The Auditor shall be independent and shall have a right to attend the Executive Board meetings, but is not entitled to vote. In case the Auditor resigns, the person with the second most number of votes for the Auditor shall be asked to assume the position.


(1) Elections of the Executive Board shall be held during the ordinary General Assembly in December. In the event that any Executive Board Members resign before completing their full term in office, elections may be held in an extraordinary General Assembly.

(2) For 2009 and later elections, the Executive Board shall start the election process two to three months prior to the actual elections by actively soliciting nominations for the election with the objective of finding the candidates and publishing their qualification statements via mail or e-mail before the elections.

(3) General Assembly-Elections:

(a) At the General Assembly, the President of the Association shall open the meeting and, if a quorum is present in accordance with Article V (2) herein, the President shall request nominations from the floor for a three-member General Assembly Election Board, who shall then preside over the meeting. The Election Board members elect or identify among themselves the Chairperson of the Election Board. The other two members of the Election Board shall assist the Chairperson and record the proceedings. The Board’s ultimate purpose is to complete the elections during that General Assembly in a fair and democratic manner.

(b) The Chairperson of the Election Board shall conduct the meeting in accordance with the VATAN constitution and prepare the agenda for this meeting. The agenda shall include but is not limited to the discussions of the activity report of the Executive Board and the Auditor’s financial report, resignation of the current (outgoing) Executive Board Members and the Auditor, election of the new Executive Board and the Auditor, miscellaneous business, and member’s suggestions. The agenda shall also include a vote to absolve the Executive Board Members for VATAN/the Association’s financial accounts for the duration of their last term in office. Votes shall be cast by the General Assembly before the resignation of the outgoing Executive Board. The outgoing Executive Board Members cannot participate in the vote to absolve themselves. The General Assembly may make additions to the agenda of the meeting, provided there is a vote of at least one-fourth of members present to add an item to the agenda.

(4) If the General Assembly does not absolve the outgoing Executive Board, the General Assembly may vote to censure such Members and such Executive Board Members may never be reelected to the Executive Board.

(5) The Chairperson of the Election Board shall request group (minimum of  five or greater) nominations, from the members who are present or from members who accepted the nomination, for positions as Executive Board Members and Auditor. After all of the nominations are received (minimum of three for the Executive Board and minimum of two for the Auditor), members shall cast their votes, by listing a maximum of three names for the Executive Board and maximum one for the Auditor, by secret ballot. The votes shall be counted before the General Assembly, and the Election Board shall enter the results into the official records of the Association. The three  nominees who receive the highest number of votes shall become Members of the Executive Board. Among the remaining group, the one or two with the highest number of votes shall be considered as substitutes for the Executive Board in the event that Board members resign before completing their term. If a member of the Executive Board resigns or is unable to serve as a Member until the end of his/her term of office, the substitute with the most votes shall be asked to fill the vacancy.

(6)After 2009, for a person to be nominated, he or she shall be a member in good standing for at least one year prior to the election or must be recommended by the Executive Board.

(7) Only the members who have paid their dues, in accordance with ARTICLE III (2) to end of 2010 herein, are entitled to vote. Voting and nominations by written proxy shall be accepted for only one proxy for one attending member. 

(8) The Executive Board shall be responsible to provide a copy of VATAN’s Constitution/bylaws and a list of the members with dues paid to the General Assembly Election Board. Those who have paid their dues during the General Assembly Meeting shall be added to the membership list. Only the members on such list shall be eligible to be nominated, pursuant to ARTICLE IX (6) herein and to cast votes.

(9) In the event the quorum under ARTICLE V (2) herein is not present for the General Assembly, elections may be conducted either by holding a second meeting or using a mail-in or e-mail ballot the votes from which shall be collected/ received and counted within 30 days after the first meeting. A quorum shall not be necessary for the second meeting and a decision may be approved by a vote of a majority of the members present.

In the event that mail-in/e-mail ballots are used, the returns shall be forwarded to the General Assembly Election Board Chairperson if he/she was elected in the first meeting, otherwise the returns shall be forwarded to the Executive Board for tally.

(10) During the first meeting after election, Executive Board Members shall elect the President and the remaining officers among themselves. The Executive Board shall have the power to reelect the officers, including the President, at anytime with at least three or more votes. All seven Executive Board members must be present in person for such a reelection.


(1) The Executive Board Members shall be responsible for keeping the following records of the Association, and turning such records over to the incoming Executive Board Member, along with the properties of the Association, at the end of the Members’ term:

(a) Membership Register: The names and addresses of VATAN/the Association’s members, records of payment of dues and dates of payment, and meeting minutes which shall be recorded in the Membership Registry;

(b) Executive Board Records: The minutes of the Executive Board meetings and the resolutions, which shall be recorded by the Secretary of the Association and kept together in a hard-copy version;

(c) Financial Records: The income, expenditures and annual budget of the Association which shall be recorded by the Treasurer in an accounting book or database showing at all times the balance in the Association’s bank account(s) and the cash at hand; and

(d) Property List: A list of all of the properties and items belonging to the Association, which shall be kept as an official record by the President.



All spoken and written communications for this organization shall be conducted in English.  The official language shall be “English.”

The Executive Board can publish newsletters (hard-copy or electronic format) or other acceptable means either directly or through a Publications Committee to be established for this purpose. The Chairperson of the Publications Committee shall be appointed by, and be responsible to, the Executive Board. The Chairperson of the Publications Committee shall have the title of Editor. The Executive Board shall provide additional guidance to the Editor upon the Editor’s request. The Executive Board is the only entity to express VATAN’s official vision.  The contents of VATAN’s official website shall also follow the guidelines listed below.

(1) The Editor shall recruit other members of the Committee. The Editor shall determine the contents of the newsletter using the following principles as guidelines:

(a) Truthfulness and clarity;

(b) Avoiding articles that conflict with the interests of the Republic of Turkey, the United States and/or the Association;

(c) Avoiding conveying ideological doctrines offensive to the sense of the community or which are divisive of the same;

(d) Conveying the national and moral values, culture and history of the Turkish people and the Republic of Turkey;

(e) Promoting balanced use of the Turkish and English languages; and

(f) Encouraging reader participation in the arts, educational, cultural, and sports activities.


Minor Amendments or revisions of this Constitution may be proposed by a motion from Executive Board passed by a simple majority of those Board members present at a meeting of VATAN BOD.

For major changes, Members of the Executive Board shall vote on proposed amendments The Bylaws of this Constitution may be changed by a 2/3 vote of sitting Executive Board members.  In the event that a revision is passed by the approval of a 2/3 majority vote of the Executive Board Members, the Executive Board shall prepare a letter to all members stating the proposed amendment and asking for an affirmative or negative vote for the same. At least ten percent vote of the current members responding by the announced deadline shall be required for final approval of the amendment.

In addition, the Bylaws shall be reviewed at least once every four years for effectiveness and sensibleness. During this process, at the direction of the Executive Board, a Bylaws Committee shall develop revised Bylaws and present it to the VATAN Executive Board.



Revised Bylaws signed by the current Executive Board on April 27, 2011

President - Leyla Cohen

Vice-President -  (TBD)

Secretary - Nilufer Yasa

Treasurer – Hikmet Ucok

Social Director – Brenda Mollman

Member at Large - Aynur Avsar

Member at Large – Lizette Borg

Member-at-Large and  Past President: Vega Sankur



VATAN President's Message

VATAN President Dr. Vega Sankur's message.

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Contribution from Ralphs to ATASC

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