Upon the invitation of Egemen Bagis, Chairman of the Turkey-USA Inter parliamentary Friendship Caucus, a US delegation, headed by Congressman Edward Whitfield and consisting of Dan Burton, Russ Carnahan, Stephen Cohen, Virginia Foxx, Luis V. Gutierrez and 2 former members along with staffers, visited Turkey during May 26th through 31st. The delegation which had Ankara and Istanbul programs was welcomed by the media with interest. The delegation had made the headlines 2 years ago when they had become the first official delegation to visit the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus via Ercan airport.
Visiting Turkey during the same dates was a 5 senator US Senate delegation consisting of Benjamin Nelson, Trent Lott, Judd Gregg, Evan Bayh and Richard Burr. Both delegations had some joint official meetings in Ankara. Prime Minister Hon. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hon. Abdullah Gul had a joint meeting with the two US institution delegations. The delegations also had joint meetings with General Staff Deputy Chair Full General Ergin Saygun, Grand National Assembly President Hon. Bulent Arinc and some leading establishments.
Briefing the press at the National Assembly halls, delegations attended a dinner reception on their honor at Assembly's Protocol Hall, organized by Chairman of the Turkish-USA Interparliamentary Friendship Caucus Mr. Egemen Bagis. Aside from the delegations, Ambassador of US to Turkey Hon. Ross Wilson took his place among many other guests.
Uttering his pleasure for being together again with the first foreign delegation which landed the Ercan Airport in 2005, Egemen Bağış emphasized that that the first stop of this delegation during the trip, was yet again a lunch organized by Tamer Gazioglu, the Ambassador of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), and that this is the indication of how Turkey is not alone any more in her Cyprus Allegations.
Bagis expressed that the support to TRNC by her allies on the Cyprus Issue should be crowned by removing the isolations implemented. Bagis continued his speech by making remarks on terrorism, democracy, and some other current issues.
Concluding his remarks, Bagis expressed proudness of being able to host two different US institutions, namely Congress and Senate, together with their spouses.
Speaking on behalf of the US-Turkey Interparliamentary Friendship Caucus, Co-Chairman Edward Whitfield noted the significance of the strategic alliance between Turkey and US, and touched upon the endeavors of the US Congressional Study Group on Turkey in the US in order to increase the relations between the two countries.
Speaking on behalf of the Senatorial delegation Benjamin Nelson expressed his joy for being in Turkey. He further noted that in the name of getting to know Turkey better, trips like these should be intensified.
The delegations left Ankara the next day. While the Senatorial delegation continued their trip to the Middle East, the members of the Turkey Caucus transferred to Istanbul to have meetings with some NGOs and religious leaders.