Ambassadors Remarks on Turkeys Republic Day

Vaşington Büyükelçiliği 29.10.2010

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Members of the Turkish – American Community,

Sevgili Vatandaşlarım,

Memory is a garden that needs perpetual care. What we remember or forget reconstructs both our today and our future. It is in this context that Abraham Lincoln said “we cannot escape history.”

National days, in this sense, are exceptional opportunities for us to revive our memories and recall the episodes that have brought us to where we are, and where we are headed. For those of us who happen to be away from our homelands, national days also remind us that we are part of an historical flow that transcends our individual existence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we are gathered here to observe and celebrate the 87th anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic.

Eighty-seven years represents a very short timeline in the history of mankind. Indeed this magnificent building of the Turkish Embassy is older than the Republic itself. Yet, the last eighty-seven years of Turkey, have been the most significant for the Turkish nation.

Our Republic, as our American friends will well appreciate from their own history, was built on the selfless efforts and determination of the Turkish nation under the visionary leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Today Turkey is the sixteenth largest economy in the world and the sixth within the European Union. The Turkish economy was able to expand amid the recent global economic crises. In fact this year Turkey was the fastest growing economy in Europe.

It is not only the success of the Turkish economy that encourages us.
After eighty-seven years; we are proud that our beloved country is a democratic and secular state based on the rule of law.

Our universities rank among top two hundred education institutions worldwide.

The achievements of the Republic are reflected in the prominence of the Turkish Community in the United States. American people take care of their bodies in line with recommendations of Dr. Mehmet Öz. A symbol of American life, the Coca Cola Company is directed by Muhtar Kent. I have observed with interest that shoppers striding through the M Street of Georgetown carry books by Turkish novelists. In a recent visit to Boston, I happily saw that Turkish academicians are fully participating in American intellectual life.

A few days ago in this building we remembered Ahmet Ertegün, founder of Atlantic Records and a great sponsor of African American music. Nowadays NBA fans cheer for Turkish players at All – Star games. Turkish sports fans cheered for the U.S. national basketball team this summer at World Basketball Championship held in Turkey, although we lost against you in the final.

And of course, many American citizens of Turkish descent contribute in different ways to American life and culture.

Indeed, four students of the Pinnacle Academy, a school established by the Turkish businessmen in Virginia, are here with us today. These four students; Selin Altıntaş, Nurbanu Şimşek, Zehra Yılmaz and Madina Khurishanova, were awarded first place at the Washington DC Metropolitan Area Future City Competition and they were honored by an audience of President Obama at the White House. I applaud them, their families and the school.

Also, we have now another connection that links Turkey to the United States: Direct flights by Turkish Airlines from İstanbul to Washington DC, which will commence in just a few days.

Furthermore, Turkish Foreign Policy makes Turkey a source of stability beyond its borders and an essential partner and ally of the US.

The agenda of Turkish foreign policy now covers global issues that were not on our radar previously. As the Turkish Ambassador I am approached by journalists who want to report on Turkey’s views on a wide range of topics from global warming to the future of research on nanotechnology.

Ladies and gentlemen, Sevgili vatandaşlarım,

During his first bilateral overseas trip, in April 2009, President Obama addressed the Turkish Grand National Assembly and chose to use the term “model partnership” to qualify Turkish-American relations.

The term “model partnership” emphasizes the importance of high level cooperation between two regional and global actors, which have different cultural and historical backgrounds, and yet share common values and principles.
Indeed, if you list the top ten basic issues of concern, which my Foreign Minister and Secretary Clinton generally deal with, you will find only a few items which are not identical.

Turkish and American soldiers are in Afghanistan to bring peace and stability. We work together to ease the cultural tensions between the East and the West. We work together to ease the economic tension between the North and the South.

Serving for the third time in the US, I am very pleased to observe that the time tested relations between Turkey and the United States do make a real difference in the world.

The success of the Republic of Turkey did not come overnight. As I already underlined, contemporary Turkey is rising on the shoulders of the imagination and courage of its founding fathers.

And we, the citizens of Turkish Republic are also well aware that modernization is a never-ending process. What has been achieved so far can merely be the first steps of what will be accomplished in the time to come. As the founder of our republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk said, going beyond the level of contemporary civilization is the driving force of the Turkish nation.


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