Efforts to flesh out model partnership with US gain momentum
Efforts to put flesh on the bones of the proposed model partnership between Turkey and the US have picked up momentum in recent months. A joint conference between the Turkish-American Business Council (TAIK) and Foreign Economic Relations Council (DEIK), and the first ministerial meeting on the establishment of a model partnership between the two countries, are scheduled to take place this week. The annual conference of the American-Turkish Council (ATC), set to begin today in Washington, will be attended by a host of high-level Turkish officials and businesspeople, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan, TAIK head Haluk Dince, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu, and Koc Holding Chairman Mustafa Koc. The three-day gathering will also include the first ministerial meeting of Framework for Turkish-American Strategic Cooperation, coordinated on Turkey's side by Babacan and Caglayan and on the US side by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Trade Representative Ron Kirk for the US. The groundwork for the framework was laid during Erdogan's US visit early this year. The meeting is expected to produce a blueprint and cooperation agreement to boost bilateral trade ties. After taking office early last year, Barack Obama paid his first overseas visit to Turkey and proposed the model partnership.