On October 20, 2010, at the Turkish Consulate in Manhattan, some of the members of the Board of Directors of the Turkish American

Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TACCI) had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting with Turkey's Minister of State for Foreign

Trade, Zafer Caglayan.

Minister Caglayan made some remarks about his activities. He then gave those assembled the opportunity to introduce themselves.

TACCI's President Celal Secilmis then briefed the Minister on TACCI's work and he also suggested ways in which TACCI could be an

important and valuable component of the Minister's US-Turkey trade strategy. It was suggested that TACCI would be in a good position to

help implement the objectives and goals that the Minister has charted for the improvement and increase of Turkish-US trade and


The Minister began his career as a businessman and industrialist in the 1980's. He became chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Industry in

1995 after serving as acting chairman. He served as Vice President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB)

for many years.  Minister Caglayan began his political career in 2007 as an elected MP for Ankara 2nd District. He was appointed Minister of

Trade and Industry, and then assumed the position of Minister of State in May 2009.

The Minister has travelled around the United States to meet with American businessmen (including in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and

Houston) in order to promote increased bilateral US-Turkey trade and investment. In these meetings with American businessmen, the

Minister is able to apply his years of business experience and talk "businessman to businessman" in a very effective way for the purpose of

promoting his important messsage, that of deepening and diversifying the economic relations between the US and Turkey - and increasing

trade levels with the US.

Prior to the Board briefing, earlier in the same week, Minister Caglayan had given a very important keynote address at the American Turkish

Council Conference in Washington, D.C. In addition, the inaugural meeting of the US-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and

Commercial Cooperation also took place in Washington, D.C., attended by Minister Caglayan and Economy Minister Ali Babacan, for

Turkey, and for the United States, the meeting was attended by US
Trade Representative Ron Kirk and US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

At our briefing, the Minister demonstrated extraordinary leadership qualities - he is a good listener and is extremely gracious to everyone

(including people like myself who were meeting him in person for the first time.) After listening to the presentation of TACCI President

Secilmis, and the comments of the Board members, the Minister responded with concrete ways in which TACCI could become an integral

part of trade strategy as it affects the US. All of the Board members present were greatly honored by having had the opportunity to have a

private briefing with so distinguished a leader from the government of Turkey.

Also present at the New York TACCI briefing with the Minister were Consul General Mehmet Samsar, Commercial Attache Yavuz Ozutku, as

well as officials from the Turkish Ministry of Trade.