US House speaker tells TÜSİAD that Turkey should not be excluded from transatlantic trade alliance
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) Chairman Muharrem Yılmaz and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan participate to the event marking the 15th anniversary of the business group's Washington bureau. AA photoThe U.S. House Speaker John Boehner agreed that it would be unfair to exclude Turkey from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) during a meeting with Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) in Washington, the organization's chairman Muharrem Yılmaz said on Oct. 11.
Yılmaz said that a TÜSİAD delegation held high-level meetings in Washington with officials from the National Security Council, the State Department and members of the Congress.
He said that they conveyed their discomfort about the possibility of being excluded from a free trade agreement between the U.S. and EU during their meetings.
“We find Turkey's exclusion from the TTIP, which one can describe as an economic NATO, as unacceptable,” Yılmaz told the Anadolu Agency.
“We were able to express our discomfort of not being included in this development which does not only possess benefits to the economy, but also a geo-political strategic depth,” he added.
Yılmaz emphasized his belief that the message got through quite clearly during their meeting with Boehner, who is also a leading Republican.
“[Boehner] shares the same opinion as us that it would be unfair to exclude Turkey from such an important agreement between the EU and the U.S. I believe that he understood us in this matter. That’s why we have voiced our expectation on a parallel free trade agreement,” Yılmaz said.
Ankara had already engaged in talks to push for a Turkey-U.S. free trade deal as an alternative formula in order to avoid Turkey’s exclusion from the TTIP agreement.
Yılmaz assured that Washington saw Turkey as an essential ally for the West. “They are following Turkey with a lot of sensitivity. We noted that Turkey’s reformist perception was occasionally questioned,” he said, asseting that the steady growth was interpreted positively.
Yılmaz also said that officials in Washington are taking careful heed of Ankara’s democratic reforms . “They are closely following Turkey’s determination. We have noted a particular sensitivity on this matter,” he said.
Yılmaz added that they had invited Boehner to Turkey.
The business association delegation also participated in special events marking the 15th anniversary of the opening of their bureau in Washington.