Secretive meeting held in United States

Turkish Daily News
Friday, June 6, 2008

The Bilderberg Group, an elite club of politicians, executives and intellectuals, held their 56th annual meeting in Chantilly, Virginia. This year's meeting, which started Thursday and was due to end Sunday, deals mainly with “a nuclear free world, cyber terrorism, Africa, Russia, finance, protectionism, U.S.-EU relations, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Islam,” according to the Centre Daily Times Web site.

Approximately 140 participants attended the meeting, of whom about one-third of the guests are politicians and government officials, while two-thirds come from the world of finance, industry, labor, education and communications, according to the Web site.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan departed Thursday to attend the meeting, reported Hürriyet newspaper Friday. Except Babacan; Ferit Sahenk, Board Chairman of Dogus Holding, Mustafa Koç, Board Chairman of Koç Holding, Faik Öztrak, lawmaker from the Republican People's Party, or CHP and Zeynep Gögüs, journalist, are attending the meeting, reported Hürriyet.

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António Costa, Mayor of Lisbon, Rui Rio, Mayor of Porto, the second largest city of Portugal, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, member of Bilderberg's Steering Group, Donald Graham and Jimmy Lee Hoagland, chairman and associate editor of The Washington Post are among other participants, claimed the Web site.

Anti-US concerns:

The Bilderberg Group is an unofficial, invitation-only conference that gathers together influential figures from the realms of economy, media and politics. The name Bilderberg comes from the group's first meeting in 1954, which was held in Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands.

The declared purpose of the group during the “Cold War” was to create a common political line tie between the United States and Europe against the Warsaw Pact. Conferences were held in France, Germany, and Denmark over the following three years.

The group gained notoriety throughout the years as its meeting were highly secretive and participants agreed not to discuss details with the media.

Bilderberg in Istanbul:

After the first gathering in Istanbul in 1959 and the second one in Izmir in 1975, last year's Bilderberg Conference took place from May 31 to June 3 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Istanbul.

Over the years, Bilderberg meetings had important Turkish participants. Among them, former president Süleyman Demirel, former Central Bank Governor Gazi Erçel, former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, businessman Selahattin Beyazit and Kemal Dervis, a former economy minister and the current chief of the United Nations Development Program, stand out. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the group focused on enhancing the U.S.-led globalization. The focus changed to one of “dialogue” between civilizations after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

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