Heard on the Hill: A Ros-Lehtinen Family Reunion

Posted January 15, 2012 at 11:07am

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.