November 10, 2011 — Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Namik Tam, comes to the University of Virginia Monday to discuss his country's foreign policy and bilateral relations with the United States.
Tam will deliver his twofold message, "Turkish Foreign Policy in a Changing World" and "Turkish-American Cooperation in the 21th Century," in Nau Hall from 5 to 6 p.m. as part of the University's Ambassadors' Speaker's Forum, sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Programs.
The Ambassadors' Speaker's Forum is free and open to the public.
His visit comes just weeks after an Oct. 23 earthquake devastated part of southeastern Turkey, killing more than 500 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. A second major quake struck the region today.
The natural disasters in the mainly-Kurdish region have trained a new spotlight on long-held tensions between Turks and the Kurdistan People's Party, or PKK. The group has been fighting for autonomy since 1984 and is labeled a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, the European Union, NATO and several other countries.
The United States and Turkey enjoy cordial relations. At the annual conference on U.S.-Turkish relations, held Oct. 31 in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated U.S. support of Turkey in its struggle against what she termed the "violent extremism" of the PKK.
The U.S. has also praised Turkey's stance against the Syrian government's violent crackdown against government opponents. The United Nations said Tuesday more than 3,500 dissidents have been killed by Syrian government forces and militiamen since late January – despite the Syrian government's recent agreement to a peace plan sponsored by the League of Arab States.
The University's Ambassadors' Speaker's Forum continues Nov. 17 when Robert O. Blake, U.S. assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, will give a talk on his recent participation in the 17th annual summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in the Maldives. The U.S. enjoys special observer status in the regional organization. Blake was previously U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Switzerland's Guillaume Scheurer, deputy chief of mission in the Swiss embassy, will speak Nov. 28, from 5 to 6 p.m., in the Dome Room. He will discuss his country's role as the United States' representative in Iran for the past 30 years, as well as the impact of sanctions on trade, business and banking.
Ghana's ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Ohene Agyekum, comes to the University Dec. 6. He will talk about Ghana's emerging market, how the Ghanaian diaspora can contribute and the country's role in the African Union. The talk is from 5 to 6 p.m., also in the Dome Room.