House Speaker Kurt Daudt and two other Minnesota state representatives are in Istanbul, Turkey this week on a trip sponsored by a nonprofit organization.
International tension in the region spiked on Tuesday after Turkey acknowledged that it shot down a Russian warplane along its border with Syria.
Daudt, R-Crown, is part of a small Minnesota delegation that also includes Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, and Rep. Paul Rosenthal, DFL-Edina. The trip was put together by the Niagara Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit that "strives to promote social cohesion by fostering civic conversations and sustained relationships between people of different cultures and faiths," according to its website.
Spokespeople for the House GOP and DFL said no taxpayer funds are being spent on the trip. Susan Closmore, spokeswoman for House Republicans, said Daudt and Kresha covered their own travel expenses. DFL spokesman Mike Howard said he didn't know whether Rosenthal covered his own costs.
A spokesman for the Niagara Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for more details about the Turkey trip.