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Tribes Foster Trade Ties with Turkey

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A Native American delegation representing 17 tribes from at least 10 U.S. states met with the Turkish government last week to open trade ties with the lure of tax incentives for operating in sovereign nations, reports the Associated Press.

In an ongoing effort to forge global partnerships, in turn creating jobs and new businesses in Indian Country, Native American businessmen have reached out to Chinese, Spanish and Australian companies. The meeting in Turkey marked the tribal leaders’ first significant overseas trade meeting, the delegation told AP.

Mehmet Zafer Caglayan, the Turkish minister who oversees foreign trade, met the U.S. Indian delegation in Istanbul and discussed a potential collaboration in tourism and construction. Talks with other foreign companies concerned the fields of telecommunications and the mining industry, including copper, said Lincoln McCurdy, president of the Turkish Coalition of America and organizer of the trip.

"Ten years from now, I hope that we will be meeting as business partners, not just people pursuing business opportunities," said Michael Finley, chairman of the Tribes of Colville Reservation in eastern Washington State.

In addition to bolstering trade ties, the delegation also visited several Turkish universities to discuss scholarships for Native American students.