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Remarks at the Arrival Ceremony in Ankara, Turkey

July 20, 1991

President Ozal and Prime Minister Yilmaz, Your Excellencies, my friends. Barbara and I are very grateful for this generous reception and for the chance to be here in Turkey. Having heard all our lives about Turkish hospitality, I can say just from this initial impression that reports of its warmth have not been exaggerated.

Thirty-two years ago when President Eisenhower visited Turkey, he was greeted by a roaring crowd and thousands hailed him in the streets, cheering not merely America but also our shared values and ideals. One sign in particular touched him. It read: "Welcome to your second home." And today I already feel as President Eisenhower did, that Turkey is a second home. And I say that not merely because of your famed hospitality but because of these common ideals and interests. Turkish-American friendship reaches back as far as the late 18th century. And we forged close ties through trade and commerce, military cooperation, and above all, a vision expressed by your great leader, Ataturk, that the voice of the government must speak the words of its people.

And recently, Mr. President, your people proved that friendship anew, or as the Turkish proverb says: Good friends become apparent on black days.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Turkey acted courageously to ensure that aggression would not stand. And as the whole world knows, the international coalition could not have achieved the liberation of Kuwait without Turkey's pivotal contributions. Because we were resolute against naked aggression, our nations stand together now at the dawning of a new world order.

Over the next 2 days in Ankara and historic Istanbul, Mr. President, I would like to discuss our future with you, your Prime Minister and with the Turkish people. We'll talk of regional disputes, environmental challenges, and Turkey's economic reforms, reforms that have helped you build a foundation for lasting prosperity. And here let us strengthen our developing strategic relationship by agreeing to closer consultations on the vital political issues we face, building expanded security ties, and establishing a much more vigorous economic dialog.

But let us not stop there. Let us broaden contacts between the Turkish and American people so that, in science and medicine, the environment and education, technology and trade, culture and human rights, we might understand each other better and strengthen the bonds that connect us.

And as I've just come from Greece, let's talk about ways of building a path to peace on Cyprus and making possible the reconciliation between Turkey and Greece.

For 40 years, Turkey's been an integral part of the West. And recently, you've helped the Iron Curtain fall from Eastern Europe, spurring democracy abroad, just as you've worked hard to build it at home. I firmly believe the years ahead will lead to even stronger and broader U.S.-Turkish ties, and we look forward to laying the foundations for the future by maintaining the alliance that has served us so well.

A Turkish proverb reads: A shared cup of coffee results in 40 years of memories. Well, Mr. President, our conversations can result in deeds and dreams that literally will inspire future generations. So, over the next 2 days in your great country, let's have no fear, as Ataturk said, of speaking the truth. Indeed, let's use the truth to attain the stable peace and greater prosperity that this nation, this region, and our world deserve.

And again, sir, to my friend, the President, let me thank you for this magnificent reception. To all the officials of the Turkish Government and the court and all the leaders here today, thank you, too. And may God bless your great country, and ours, the United States of America, as well. Thank you.

Note: President Bush spoke at 11:02 a.m. upon arrival at Esenboga Airport. In his remarks, he referred to President Turgut Ozal and Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz of Turkey; Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. A tape was not available for verification of these remarks.

George Bush, Remarks at the Arrival Ceremony in Ankara, Turkey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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