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Mayor Dayton Gary Leitzel and Ahiska contingent to visit Turkey.
Mayor Dayton Gary Leitzel and Ahiska contingent to visit Turkey.


Mayor Gary Leitzell and his counterparts in Trotwood and Riverside are traveling to Turkey next week as part of a contingent to build stronger relations with the Turkish government, and business and education communities.

Leitzell said he is paying his own way for the week-long trip — $2,500.The group will include economic development experts from each city as well as a Wright State University and University of Dayton officials, local community leaders and a member of Dayton’s Akiska Turk community. 

"The trip makes sense, in part, because of our large Turkish community,” Leitzell said.Islom Shakhbandarov said his community numbers more than 400 families in and around Dayton."The purpose is to build better relationships between our region and Turkey and to explain our region and what opportunities it can offer for Turkish businesses,” he said.Leitzell said the group will be meeting with political and business leaders as well as educators. "Part of the trip will be cultural so we can learn more about Turkey,” he said.Riverside Mayor Bill Flaute also is paying his own way, while the city is picking up the $2,500 tab for Bob Murray, Riverside’s director of economic development and planning."Having a Turkish community here that speaks the language, this seems like a natural,” Murray said.


"It seems like we have a leg up than other places in the country.” Last year, Riverside approved a zoning permit converting nearly 16 acres of land on Old Troy Pike into a Turkish cemetery, and about a year ago, a Turkish barbershop opened near the intersection of Woodman Drive and Burkhardt Road.

"To me, it’s an international mission to help people and help our city, and I’m excited about that,” Flaute said. "We want those folks to come here and open businesses, like the barbershop.”

For Trotwood Mayor Joyce Cameron, who previously worked in NCR’s international division, it will be her third trip to Turkey but her first as a public official. Cameron said she, too, is paying her own way. No other city staff are making the trip. The city, she said, "cannot afford a trip like this.”

Wright State’s associate vice president for international affairs, Stephen Foster, will be meeting with various Turkish education officials, according to Jim Hannah, a university spokesman. Last year, the school signed a cooperation agreement with ATILIM University in Ankara, paving the way for the two schools to collaborate in research and graduate education. Hannah said Foster would be focusing on such partnerships during the trip.

UD Provost Joseph Saliba also is making the trip.

The group leaves Saturday and returns July 1.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2290 or dpage@DaytonDailyNews.com.

© NNA-TV



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