US to glad to welcome Turkey's main opposition CHP leader
Kılıçdaoğlu and Ricciardone had a private dinner on Oct. 23, but both sides were tightlipped about the content it. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SönmezU.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone has said that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu would be welcome for a visit to Washington, where he would also be met with interest by executives from the U.S. administration as well as members of Congress.
“It’s quite a normal thing for any ambassador to meet in any democratic country with leaders of the opposition. It’s also quite normal and regular in Washington for us to receive representatives of foreign countries from their legislatures who are not in the government, who are in the opposition. So we welcomed the CHP delegation last month. We would even be delighted if the general secretary of the CHP decides to go next month we would welcome him in Washington and receive with great respect,” Ricciardone said at a meeting with members of the Diplomacy Correspondents’ Association (DMD) yesterday.
Kılıçdaoğlu and Ricciardone had a private dinner on Oct. 23, but both sides were tightlipped about the content it.
CHP sources told the Hürriyet Daily News that in addition to CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu and Ricciardone only one interpreter assistant from the embassy was present during the dinner. None of the senior foreign affairs executives of the party - such as veteran retired diplomats Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu and Istanbul deputy Osman Korutürk - participated in the dinner, they said.
CHP Deputy Chair Gürsel Tekin described the meeting as “a private one,” and said they would not have any information about the content of such private meetings.
The request for having such a private meeting came from the U.S. side, Tekin added.
“I know that he [Ricciardone] voiced uneasiness over some sentences reflected through the media,” he said. In response to a question, Tekin said this “uneasiness” stemmed from remarks by CHP officials who said that they had had to postpone a prospective visit to Washington because they could not find a “counterpart.”
Earlier this month, party officials confirmed that Kılıçdaroğlu’s visit to the United States, which was scheduled for November, had been postponed.
Kılıçdaroğlu was planning to hold a visit to the United States in an effort to boost his party’s international visibility. However, the much-anticipated visit will now not take place until after the March 2014 local elections.
In order to test the waters in the U.S., the CHP’s two deputy chairs, Loğoğlu and Umut Oran, paid a visit to Washington on Sept. 23 and 24 and held a number of meetings, including with U.S. Senator John McCain.