Washington, DC, November 9, 2010 - Participants in the TCA Native American Business Cooperation Trip to Turkey met yesterday with Turkish Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan and the leadership of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly to discuss opportunities for economic cooperation between Indian Country and Turkey. Topics covered during the meeting included natural resources, tourism, and construction.
In his remarks, Caglayan promised the attendees that they would not find better business partners than the Turks. He in turn extolled the
benefits of pursuing business partnerships with Native American tribes, highlighting their status as sovereign nations and their independence in creating foreign policy.
Caglayan's speech was followed by presentations from many of the tribal representatives, who spoke optimistically of the potential for a strong relationship between the Turkish and Native American peoples. Caglayan was invited to visit the many tribal homelands, and the minister promised to schedule visits during his next trip to the U.S.
Kimberly Vele, president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, said she was astounded by how similar Turkish culture was to Native American culture. Michael Finley, chairman of the Tribes of the Colville Reservation, shared his vision for the effects of the meeting: "Ten years from now, I hope that we will be meeting as business partners, not just people pursuing business opportunities."
The delegation today also visited the Ataturk Airport Free Trade Zone to learn about creating "free zones" in the U.S., enjoyed a
lecture on Turkish tents by Dr. Nurhan Atasoy, renowned art historian and Senior Scholar in Residence at the Turkish Cultural Foundation, and met with Turkish business leaders for a networking session hosted by Bahcesehir University. The delegation remains in Turkey until Nov. 14 and will also visit Ankara and Gallipoli for meetings and cultural research.
Tribes represented on the TCA Native American Business Cooperation Trip are: Arizona: Navajo Nation; Idaho: Couer d'Alene Tribe; Louisiana: Tunica-Biloxi Tribe; Michigan, Bay Mills Tribe of Chippewa; Montana: Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes, Crow Tribe, Salish & Kootenai Tribes; New Mexico: Navajo Nation; New York: Seneca Nation; Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Osage Nation, Quapaw Tribe; South Dakot:, Rosebud Sioux/Sicangu Oyate; Washington: Tribes of Colville Reservation, Yakama Nation; Wisconsin: Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.