March 18, 2015 – Washington, D.C. – 5th Annual Turkic American Convention and Business Summit Continued on Wednesday with a breakfast meeting at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Business people from over 15 countries, as well as all corners of the United States met bright and early, at 8:00 AM to discuss issues related to their businesses and to lay foundations for further cooperation, investment and partnership. The meeting featured several distinguished guests who took the podium to share their ideas with the rest of the guests.
U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (New York – 20th) expressed his gratitude for being invited to the breakfast. The Congressman noted that he looked forward to strong partnerships that would be built as a result of the meeting. He also mentioned that he was delighted at how active the Turkish American community in his district was, specifically highlighting Embrace Relief, a relief organization based in Mr. Tonko’s district. To conclude, the Congressman reassured the guests that he stood ready and able to help them however he can to strengthen relationships and engage in dialogue and urged the organizers to “… continue these events, continue our relations.”
Turkic American Chamber of Commerce board member Gokhan Ozkok congratulated all the organizers for a successful convention. Mr. Ozkok presented details about TACC. According to him, TACC had been established in 2006 with 14 Turkic American associations across the United States and Canada.
Ahmet Ciger, Vice President of TUSKON, noted that he was delighted to participate in the breakfast and noted that his organization was proud to co-organize such an event. He noted that he had come to a realization that Turkish Americans’ presence was increasing at an exponential speed, noting that the trade volume between the U.S. and TUSKON member businesses had been increasing as well. He closed by noting that TUSKON’s aim was to continue contributing to that trade volume, but that ambition could only be possible to fulfill with democracy and free media.
Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of SelectUSA, was the keynote speaker of the breakfast. Ambassador Thummalapally started by expressing gratitude for being invited. He highlighted the bilateral business relations with not just Turkey, but with other countries in the region as well. After giving brief information about SelectUSA, he continued to note that consumer size is very important, and that 420 million consumers in Turkey and the surrounding region make it a very attractive location for business. Ambassador Thummalapally also reassured the guests that although the recent plunge in oil prices has kept many people concerned and worried, in the long run, it had a positive effect on long term stability by making cost of production of oil and other sources of energy more efficient and attractive to investors. He closed by mentioning that SelectUSA worked with a lot of academic development organizations to help start up and develop businesses all around the nation, and that he would be able to help connect any potential investors to these organizations if needed.
Overall, the breakfast took place in a formal, yet warm environment, allowing participants to make individual connections and absorb as much useful information as possible. The guests will continue their days with meeting in the U.S. Congress and some government agencies, and the Convention will formally come to a close with the Gala Reception at Willard Intercontinental later on Wednesday, at 6:00 PM ET.