Traveling as part of a Congressional delegation isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes it involves catching up with relatives.
Last week, we checked in with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and others as they shot hoops in India, as well as a House-led delegation’s swing through Turkey and the Middle East, where, among other very important items of business, bazaars and pudding shops were visited.
House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), meanwhile, took time out from what a committee staffer described as a “robust schedule of meetings with Turkish government officials, opposition leaders and others to discuss Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, the Turkey-Israeli relationship, religious freedom and other important topics” to reunite with 15 members of her extended family in Turkey.
The Turkish Coalition of America, which arranged the meeting, said the “lively and sentimental gathering” at the Ritz-Carlton in Istanbul provided the opportunity to draw parallels between the history of Ros-Lehtinen’s relatives, who left what is now northwestern Turkey for Cuba in 1913, and those of numerous other Turks who suffered during the Balkans’ seemingly endless stream of wars.
“I’m very happy to find my roots and to meet my family,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a TCA release.
A Foreign Affairs Committee spokesman said the meeting took place at the hotel where the delegation was staying and required no additional government resources.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.