George W. Bush photo

Remarks Prior to Discussions With Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey's AK Party and an Exchange With Reporters

December 10, 2002

President Bush. Mr. Chairman, welcome to the home of one of your country's best friends and allies. We're impressed by the leadership—your leadership and your party's strong victory. We thank you very much for your commitment to democracy and freedom.

We join you, side by side, in your desire to become a member of the European Union. We appreciate your friendship in NATO. You're a strategic ally and friend of the United States, and we look forward to working with you to keep the peace.

It's my honor to welcome you to America.

Chairman Erdogan. I thank you very much. We're very happy to be in the United States, who is our ally and friend, and it's also another source of happiness for us that Mr. President spare the time to meet with us.

Undoubtedly, we see our bid to European Union membership as the most important modernization project of our country since the establishment of the Republic. And this will serve as a great jump-start for democracy, enhancement of democracy.

This week is a very important one for us. This is actually a turning point in our history. It's also very meaningful that this turning point merged with our—coincided with our new established Government and our election victory. We're aware of your support on this matter, and we are very appreciative of this. But it shouldn't end here. We expect that to continue, of course, now—[laughter].

President Bush. Well, thank you all.

Q. Sir, can we ask——

President Bush. Not today. But you know something? I appreciate the effort. [Laughter]

Q. O for two today——

President Bush. Well, you know something, it's good for you—brings discipline. Right, Randy [Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters]? If I answer questions every time you ask one, expectations would be high. And as you know, I like to keep expectations low. [Laughter]

Turkey's Bid To Enter the European Union

Q. ——expect some phone call for European Union?

President Bush. I made a lot of phone calls already. My administration is working hard on Turkey's behalf.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:15 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. Chairman Erdogan's Adalet ve Kalkinma Party (Justice and Development Party) won a majority of the Turkish Parliament in the elections of November 3. A portion of these remarks could not be verified because the tape was incomplete.

George W. Bush, Remarks Prior to Discussions With Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey's AK Party and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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