US-Turkish group to hold conference next week
The American-Turkish Council (ATC) is scheduled to hold its annual conference on ties between the two nations in Washington early next week. The conference, originally planned for April, was postponed in the wake of the US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee's passage of an Armenian "genocide" resolution, but the resolution never got a vote on the House floor. Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be keynote speakers at the conference. Other participants include State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan, US National Security Advisor James Jones, US Export-Import Bank head Fred Hochberg, Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman, and Murad Bayar, Turkey's undersecretary for defense industries. The ATC, whose members include top US and Turkish companies doing business in both countries, aims to bolster US-Turkish political and economic relations at the 29th annual conference. The conference also comes amid tensions with the US over Ankara's ties with Iran and Israel, while Ankara has been without an American ambassador for nearly three months.