Justice & Development (AK) Party Istanbul Representative and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Egemen Bagis met with US Congressman and representatives of Turkish community in Washington DC.
Being in DC to attend a panel during the 25th annual convention of the American Turkish Council and Turkish American Business Council, Bagis met with Congressmen Ed Whitfield (R; Kentucky) and Robert Wexler (D; Florida), both founding members of the USA-Turkey Interparliamentary Friendship Caucus. Bagis also had seperate meetings with Congressmen Joe Wilson (R; South Carolina) and Dan Burton (R; Indiana).
Also meeting the directors of Assembly of Turkish American Assocations, he also had a meeting with Alan Makovsky, Chief of Staff for the senior congressman Tom Lantos.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency regarding his visits in Washington, Bagis mentioned that the hot topics in the meetings were Turkish American relations, Iraq, Afghanistan, increasing business, and alleged Armenian attrocities. Bagis noted that as April 24th, the self-proclaimed anniversary of the so-called Armenian genocide, approaches, the Congress' support for Turkey is still continuing and that there is no negative attitute, but the Senate has to be worked on.
Egemen Bagis noted that in these contacts he described the efforts of Turkey for stability in Iraq, that processed oil goes to Iraq from Turkey, that considering the truck drivers, engineers and workers, Turkey has the second largest loss of people in Iraq after USA, that Turkey has shown strong effort to incorporate the Sunnis to the elections, and that the bases in Turkey are used for rotation of US troops and for humatarian relief efforts. Bagis states that the congressmen thanked for the friendship of Turkey.
Bagis noted that during these meetings the visit of Hamas was also asked and that he noted Turkey's history, geographical position and weight in the region should be considered and said: "When evaluating this visit, one should see that the volition behind this visit is the same volition that brought together the Israeli and Pakistani Foreign Ministers, and the same volition that supported the Sunni leaders meet with US Ambassador to join the election in Iraq. Turkey has always been and always will be in an effort to prevent the deaths of innocent people in the region. Hamas' desicion to participate in the elections was approved by the international community and Hamas won. Before they began their administration we gave messages to them that any other country could not have. And that's a part of our geographic and historical responsibility."
Excerpts: Deniz Arslan, A.A. 29/03/2006