Joining TCA staff on the trip to Ankara, Istanbul and Patara were Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5th) and senior Congressional advisors from the House Democratic Caucus; the House Committee on Homeland Security; and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Later in the trip, the delegation was joined for an evening by Congressman William Delahunt (D-MA-10th).
At the end of the trip, Congresswoman Foxx noted, “This visit to Turkey proved to be a valuable experience where I learned more about America’s important relationship with Turkey. Turkey is a critical ally in an often volatile region of the world and increasing understanding between the leaders and people of our two nations is in America’s national interest.”
The delegation started off in Ankara on June 2nd with a dinner with members of the Turkish Parliament, and spent the following days in meetings with key Turkish and American officials, including US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey and Turkish Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Selim Yenel, as well as Turkish business and NGO leaders. The delegation also participated in the Global Leadership Forum organized by Bahcesehir University, and met with members of the Turkish press.
Like previous TCA-sponsored congressional delegations, the trip included a visit to Patara, the capital of the ancient Lycian Federation, whose governing principles influenced the founding fathers of the United States during the drafting of the US Constitution. TCA invited representatives of the Istanbul- based consular corps to join the Patara visit; the consul generals of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Iraq joined the delegation on this segment of the tour. While in Istanbul, the delegation members visited several famous landmarks including the Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Spice Market.
The TCA Congressional delegations are designed to enhance dialogue between Turkish and American policy makers and contribute to a greater understanding on issues related to US-Turkey relations.