George W. Bush photo

Exchange With Reporters at Sedgefield Community College in Sedgefield, United Kingdom

November 21, 2003

Terrorist Attacks in Turkey

President Bush. It was a sad day yesterday, but it's a day that reminds us all that we've got a job to do; that is to defeat terror.

Q. What did you tell Erdogan, sir?

President Bush. What?

Q. What did you tell the Turkish leader?

President Bush. I told him our prayers are with his people. I told him that we will work with him to defeat terror and that the terrorists have decided to use Turkey as a front.

Q. [Inaudible]—specific aid, like sending FBI agents or investigators?

President Bush. You'll see as time goes on. Both countries want to help. Obviously, we need to share intelligence. The best way to defeat Al-Qaida-type killers is to share intelligence and then work with local authorities to hunt these killers down.

Great Britain has got a fantastic intelligence service, and we've got a good one as well. And we want to work with countries like Turkey to anticipate and to find killers.

War on Terror

Q. Is Turkey a new front in this war on terror?

President Bush. It sure is, two major explosions. And Iraq is a front. Turkey is a front. Anywhere where the terrorists think they can strike is a front.

Q. [Inaudible]—Turkish officials wanted to go and strike Al Qaida in perhaps another country or another site?

President Bush. We'll work with any country willing to fight off terror, just like Great Britain. This country is fortunate to have a Prime Minister who is clear-sighted about the threats of the 21st century, and America is lucky to have a friend as strong as Tony Blair.

The Press

Q. Do you like having all these press around you?

President Bush. Do I like having all the press around me? Let me see here. [Laughter] Now, who has the final—let me ask, who has the final word, I wonder, me or the press? I love the press around me. Just take a look at this lot. Take, for example, Scott [Scott Lindlaw, Associated Press]. He thinks he's a fine runner—until he came out to the ranch—never mind. [Laughter]

Prime Minister Blair. I'll tell you the truth a bit later, okay? [Laughter]

President Bush. Yes, we like the press. A vibrant society is a society with a free press.

Thank you all.

NOTE: The exchange began at 2:22 p.m. at the All-Weather Pitch. During the exchange, the President referred to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

George W. Bush, Exchange With Reporters at Sedgefield Community College in Sedgefield, United Kingdom Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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