The Middle East Institute in Washington, DC hosted its third annual conference on Turkey.
In his opening keynote speech, Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke about the future of U.S.-Turkish relations and the roles the U.S., NATO and Turkey plays in Syria. He said he was critical of President Obama’s approach in Syria and was “disappointed” with NATO. The Senator condemned actions of Syrian forces who shot down Turkish jet.
Echoing Sen. McCain, Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Namik Tan condemned Syria and said Turkey now regard Syria as a visible threat and will respond to the attack within the framework of international laws. The Ambassador also describe U.S.-Turkey relations as "robust and resilient."
Ibrahim Kalın, Chief Adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, delivered the afternoon keynote address via Skype. He positioned Turkey's foreign policy within the context of global events, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. and the Arab Spring. Mr. Kalin also called Syria's downing of the F4 Turkish jet a violation of international law, but stressed that Turkey had no intentions of escalating tensions with Syria.
The day-long event included panel discussions in which academic scholars, journalists and Turkish government officials focused on the domestic and regional challenges for Turkey as well as Syria, a Post-Arab Spring and Middle East policy.