Traditional US-Turkey Friendship Seminar has started in the City of Memphis, US
The members of Turkey-US Interparliamentary Friendship Group and the US Congress Turkey Working Group participated in the seminar which commenced after a dinner as an organization of the US Congress Turkey Working Group.
Egmen Bagis, AK Party Vice Chairman, Abdulkadir Emin Onen, AK Party Urfa PM and Sukru Elekdag, CHP Istanbul PM, are in the Turkish delegation headed by Mevlut Cavusoglu, AK Party Antalya PM, while the US delegation is made up of Edward Whitfield, Working Group Chairman and the parliament members Stephen Cohen, Jean Schmidt and John Tanner. Member of the European Parliament Cem Ozdemir is also among the participants of the seminar.
In the opening speech Tennesse PM Stephen Cohen said that they were very pleased for having the Turkish delegation in Memphis. Stating that his visit to Turkey opened new prospects for him and made it possible for him to have new friends Mr. Cohen said that he understood better the importance of the relations between these two countries during his visit. Mr. Cohen said, "We don't have a better friend than the Turkish government and Turkish people both in NATO as well as in the Middle East where we need a reliable and real friend." Egemen Bagis, on the other hand, said that the passive politics of the US for Turkey's struggle against terrorism had been a problem in the mutual relations in the past, however this changed when on November 5, 2007 President George Bush declared PKK as the common enemy of Turkey, Iraq and the US.
After such a long time that they have been waiting, this date is particularly important for the Turkish Parliament, the government and for the Turkish people said Mr. Bagis. "Since that day the cooperation and the solidarity between the two countries have reached high levels. Since then we receive real time intelligence that allows us to organize land and air operations against the terrorist organization in the northern Iraq and we have given significant damages to the PKK organization. Today Turkey is a safer place and our children are growing in a safer environment." Mr. Bagis said that they are grateful to the US for its active participation in this struggle.
"Our support to the US dates back to the Korean War, since then in every problem, in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq we supported the US. We are proud that we are one of the most reliable allies of the US in one of the most challenging regions of the world," said Bagis.
Underlining that terrorism does not make discrimination among young or old, men or women and military or civilian Bagis stated that no discrimination should be made in the struggle against terrorism as well. "There is no good terrorist, all of them should be suppressed as necessary," he said. "What PKK means for Turkey is what Al Qaida means for the US."
Bagis said that Iraq is making progress for a lasting democracy and Turkey is pleased with this fact. The only way not to be harmed by the fire in the neighbor is to help put up the fire, Bagis said. And Turkey is in an effort to put up all the fires in the Middle East.
Bagis underlined that Turkey has become a peace platform for all of the problems in the region and Turkey outstands as a peacemaker for the solution of these problems.
Turkey and the US have a lot of thing to do together, Bagis said. The contribution of this seminar to the development of mutual relations will be significant, he added.