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The SPEECH DELIVERED by PRESIDENT CLINTON on July 9 ,2002 at Çıragan Hotel hosted by TABA - AmCham

at Çıragan Hotel hosted by TABA AMCHAM


Thank you very much Ladies and Gentlemen . I am delighted to be here to night and thank you Dr. Erdem the President of Turkish American Business Association for giving me another excuse to come to Turkey . Mr . Deputy Prime Minister I especially thank you for your wonderful remarks . Foreign Minister Cem , Governor and Mayor , all the leaders of the Business Community . I'd like to say special word of thanks to the representatives of various religions . Religious faces who made a special atmosphere . I would like to say a special word of appreciation to Deputy Prime Minister Yılmaz . I'm honored to be a guest of Turkey today as I was in November of 1999 . My wife Hillary and I often talk about that visit . It was one of the most memorable visits our family took when I was President due to the hospitality of President Demirel , Mr. Ecevit and the people of this Country . It was a wonderful greeting .

I was also glad to host you at White House in 1997 , I am sure you will remember . Then when I came here in 1999 , it was a greatest time of hope for both of our Countries and the world . At the organization of the Security Cooperation in Europe conference here in Istanbul , we signed a treaty to cut the number of tanks and nuclear weapons across Europe . We agreed with the Countries of Central Asia , Baku - Ceyhan pipeline .It was also then a time of improving relations between Turkey and Greece , between lines of communication and understanding . I must say I want to mention this again , was due to the pain that you shared in the aftermath of the earthquake . I was also grateful for the opportunity to spend few moments with your National Assembly .

Mostly I had a good time as a tourist . I went to Ephesusus , the Hagia Sophia , Blue Mosque , Topkapı . I saw the sunset from this building in the Bosphorus . I had a very moving visit to which Mr.Yılmaz referred to . The city which was a camphousing with the victims of the earthquake where I met that wonderful little boy got up to my arms and squeezed my nose . Thanks to the press of Turkey, they made us world famous . Some of you , may know that later a gold coin was printed to commemorate this occasion . If you come to visit me in New York City , in my office you will see that gold coin of the little boy squeezing my nose . I hope he is doing very well . I do not know whether I can withstand the feeling in Turkey Mr . Yılmaz referred to . If you really believe that I am responsible for both earthquakes we are in trouble indeed.

I would like to begin my remarks with a reference of one word to my last trip . When I was here last time I visited all his Holiness Patriarchs .

Bartholomew who is here now gave me a magnificent gift . An inccribed

Parchment containing one of my favorite verses from the Christian New Testament . Here is what it says . " Faith is the substance of the things hoped for . The evidence of things unseen . " A great deal of getting through life to the destination you seek for , is keeping that kind of faith through difficult times as well as good times". Working toward the goals that you may not be able to see but you do hope for and believe in . That I think is very important . I believe that Turkey should have faith that in the early 21st Century you will not only be a member of the European Union but you will be critical to the world's greatest struggle; to create a Global Community . I believe that the alliance between the United States and Turkey is essential to achieve your dreams and ours for our children .

I would like to thank the members of the Business Association for all you do to strengthen our relations . When I was President , trade between our Countries nearly doubled and increased to 6,5 billion Dollars . Last year American investments in Turkey is about 3 billion . It should be greater and it will be . And when Turkey enters EU ,these ties will be strengthened not weakened. I am very grateful to the long history of partnership between the United States and Turkey . I am proud that at the end of the Cold War President Truman made a commitment to protect Turkey's Sovereignty . The Truman doctrine sealed our partnership and laid down the basis for the Marshall plan , for Nato , for our entire Post - War relationship with this part of the world . For more than 50 years now our alliance , indeed our friendship have stood to the test of time in the strain of war from Korea to Kosova to Afghanistan and since 1989, I would argue that the relationship between Turkey and the United States has become even more important , as together we have expanded the Nato , met new demands and made partners for peace in Bosnia Kosova and in the Middle East . Turkish forces in the Nato , helped to end Balkan wars and ethnic cleansing of millions of people in Bosnia and Kosova , most of them European Muslims . Since then , we work side by side for enduring peace there . In the 1920's the great Kemal Atatürk received the American delegation here with the words ;

" The US is an old democracy on a new continent and Turkey is the new democracy on an old continent . Well , he said that almost 80 years ago . Now Turkey is also an old democracy . But like United States and free people everywhere , we will stay forever new and young if we continue to face the challenges there before us . You have a special opportunity and therefore a special responsibility to play a larger and larger role . For you stand between Europe and Asia , between the west and the Muslim world , between the promise of open democracy and the perils of fundementalism , between the promise of prosperity and freedom and the pain of poverty and segregation .

In 1999 when I addressed your grand National Assembly , I said that our vision for a better future and my hope requires a strong Turkey playing its rightful role , at the crossroads in the world , at the meeting place of three great faiths . A future in which , tolerance itself is an article of faith and terrorism is seen rightly a travesty of faith , in which people are free to pursue their beliefs that forfeit their heritage , in which women are treated with equal respect , no contradiction between reserved conditions and participating in the life as a world . A future of growing respect for human rights , a future in which nations that are predominantly Muslim are partners with nations that are not . Acting together, we will realize the shared hopes of our people .

How are we going to realize that vision today and what is your role in it ?

If I go anywhere in the world and ask people to sum up with one phrase what is the nature of the century's world ? Most people will say " well, it is the age of globalization , of course ". But I prefer the term interdependence . Because we associate globalization with economics and the nature of modern world , it's about far more than economics . This is the age of interdependence . We have torn down walls , we have collapsed distances , we have spread technology and information more widely than ever before . But as we , in the US learned so painfully on September the 11th, our interdependent world is not yet an integrated global community . So what happened last September the 11th is that people were worried of their lives and worried of their visions of the future . Use the forces of interdependence that have been good to America and good to most of you in this room . They used the same forces . They used collapsed distances , open boarders and easy travel . Their access to high powerful technology and information about how to operate it caused to murder of 3100 people from 70 nations . We were interdependent and on that day we did not like it very much .

Now we have two choices and you can see one of them in a lot of the recent elections in Europe where the anti-immigration candidates have been waking more votes . So can we say , " Now , we are scared of interdependence . " Can we think we will slow it down . We tore the walls down . Can we put barbed wire in its place ? We might do a little of that but I think all of us know that at the end that is a strategy doomed to failure . And that the genius of free people is that they keep going forward not that they turn around and run back . The genius of the Turkish experiment of secular government is being faithful to the fact that almost everyone who lives here is a Muslim is free to practice his or her faith but no one is killed or pushing you because of your faith . It's about going forward .

The genius of American segregation of church and state where we have one of the highest rates of people being active in their religious faiths of any country in the world is because we have freedom of faith . And we can impose no doctrine on people . Those kind of people , they always go forward . So , if you do not want to put up barbed wire on the walls in its place , you should say what is the alternative ? The alternative is to recognize what the struggle of this new century is . We are engaged in a battle between the forces of integration and harmony . World trade , information technology scientific advances , democracy and diversity , against the forces of disintegration and chaos . Terrorism spread of weapons of mass destruction , organized crime and narco therapy , environmental destruction , poverty , disease , and politics leading in religious , racial and ethnic hatred . In short , we are in the midst of a conflict between those who are trying to move for a world of integration into a genuine global community and those who are trying to use the same forces of interdependence to break the world up and draw people apart . I used to think I was almost naïve when I was President when I just kept saying over and over " I wake up in the morning to think my job is to go put things together " despite when I was a little boy , I had some toys called Lincoln rolls . We built houses and palaces with these Lincoln rolls. I used to think about those toys all the time I was president because I had a friend . Every time I built a cabin , he'd come along and kick it down . I thought that I was in a contest between the people who try to build things and people who try to kick them down. We have to be builders . I spent a lot of time as president working on that .

You mentioned Deputy Prime Minister the decision in Helsinki about EU to open the possibility of membership to Turkey . I worked hard on that , as you know because I can't imagine building 21st century unless Turkey is part of Europe. So, what are we going to do now and what is Turkey's role in this? And what is required of you?

Well , first of all , let me just say very briefly because I know you have questions and I want to hear your questions , I think there is a security component to build an integrated world . I think that US and allies will stay in Afghanistan till we disaccomodate the Al-Quida network . I think we should end North Korea's missile problem . I think we should restrict the production and distribution of weapons of mass destruction and their component parts . There is a security element in it . But as we learned from the last 50 years , we cannot build a world we want for our children solely with the strategy of prevent and punish . We need to spend some of our money and time to build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists There was an unbelievable reading here that Dr. Erdem told me about between Kemal Atatürk and Douglas Mc Arthur in Turkey in 1933 . When Atatürk predicted that world would be at war by 39 or 40 . Mc Arthur predicted that all of Asia would come into the war . And they both predicted that the big winners coming out of that would be a new , communist China and Soviet Russia . But after World War II , we did not make the mistakes to let their predictions . Instead of running away from each other, we ran toward each other . We had the United Nations, we had the Nato , we had the Marshall plan . We had International Financial Institutions . We had international declaration of human rights We ran toward each other and what happened ? We had a lot of trouble in the world in the last 50 years but no nuclear war , no World war III , and in the end freedom and free enterprise prevail in the cold war .

Why ? Because people at the end of World War II who spent their entire lives making war said we have to spend some time and money to make a world with more partners and fewer terrorists .

For America , that means we have to have more trade with countries , more aid , more debt relief . It means we have to invest something to get all the children in the world who are not in school go to school . It means we have to do our part in help to roll back global aids epidemic and other problems like that . It means we have to help couple of these new democracies in the former Soviet Union and Africa and other places to function well so people will wish to invest their money and be trade partner with them .

But we have to think about this as we were at the end of 2nd World war and we never were in that nightmare again . We need to be thinking about , in 21st century terms , what things should we do to build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists . One thing we plainly have to do is to build more international institutions of cooperation than conflict . That's why I have always supported the strengthening and expanding EU Supported the international justice court . We have to cooperate even if it may not be perfect .

And we have to deal with the peace business . The world is paralyzed today by the conflict between India and Pakistan over Cashmere which is now 50 years old and the most dangerous place in the world because both have nuclear powers there . The world is gripped by the horrible prices paid in the middle East and Europe . There also has been anxiety by the fact that the problem between Greece and Turkey is not yet solved over Cyprus . And all of these problems are old problems .

One way to look at the world today is there is a real challenge between those that are interested in tomorrow and those that are trying to hang on to yesterday , those who want a shared future and those who want a separate future , those who believe in inclusive communities and those who want to live in their own , exclusive communities . In some ways , have you seen all three of these conflicts as a representative of our time.

So here is what I want to say . I hope I have proved my friendship to Turkey . I love this country but I also believe that you are very very important to America's future . I was telling people on my table that after I was elected president in November 1992 , a long time ago , I had a meeting before I became president and I said let's think about what are we going to do over the next eight years . And one of the big questions that will shake the future of the century world and I had six on my list and one of them was , one of the six most important things was what will happen to Turkey . That is what I believe . So my affection is genuine but it is not just a miracle in my heart . This is where my head is . It matters to us what happens to you . It matters to us that you should see in proving that you can embrace all these faiths in a country that is overwhelmingly and proudly Muslim but also with a secular government . It matters what happens to you , whether we have a defense against radicalism coming from the East and above all to put your values as a stamp on the future of the Middle East . All these things are very important so I have three things to say to you all .

Number one . Don't be disturbed about the current political problems . All countries have problems . We are the oldest continuously operating democracy on earth and we could not figure out how to count votes in Florida in 2000 . I mean, I am not proud of it as in the groovy result but we are still up and down and kicking and America is still a pretty good place . You just got to get through this . You will figure out how to do it . It is not any of my business how you do it . You will figure out how to do it . The problem is , don't despair when things happen . Some bad things will happen to people always on earth because we are people . Because we are not perfect .

Number two . Even though , it is somewhat controversial in Turkey , I think you should get rid of capital punishment and reconcile your relationships with your ethnic minorities in a way that it is in line with the standards of EU . I say that because I think it will help Turkey actually pull together . And secondly because you cannot join any union , not a marriage , not a business , not a friendship , not -forgive me gentlemen- a church or a synagogue or a mosque , and then you will agree with everything that is done by the people you have agreed to be partners with . There is no such thing unless you just turn your mind off. And it seems to me that benefits of Turkey's membership in the EU just dwarf any problems that complying with these conditions represent to you . Believe me that EU needs you as much as you need to be in , America needs you to be in , the world needs this . But I think you should do it just as we all have to make changes . When I got America into WTO we had to change the things we did not want to change but we did . And when they ruled against , at least when I was there they ruled against me , I am in the ruling even if I don't approve it . It's all part of belonging to something big .

And the third point I want to make is , I have talked to enough people in Turkey and enough people in Greece to know that both countries are full of people who want to put difficulties from Cyprus in the past rather than keep it in the future . I believe that together Turkey and Greece could revolutionize the future of all South Eastern Europe for the next 20 years . I believe that if this happens you will be able to do more good to the East and more good than they would ever be able to do for above these cultural , religious and political reasons . I think the fact that you have to keep carrying this around with you like a chain is a bad thing . For Turks , for Greeks and for Greek and Turkish Cypriots . The whole world is talking about integration . Now every disintegrated place on earth from lower Manhattan on Sept 11th to the west bank in the middle east is in trouble for the disintegration.

So I say to you as a friend there is got to be a way to work this deal out .

They've got to give a little , you've got to give a little . If you go into the EU , I can tell you one thing that the EU is going to need the Turkish military to do other things . You have a much more modern military, your capacity is greater . You can do all the things for the EU that they cannot do for themselves now and at many countries don't want to spend money on . And you need to be free to do this . So, I would implore you to try to get this resolve and do it in a hurry before Kopenhagen if you can . Because if you did that , Europe would be on its knees in gratitude or jumping up and down shouting Hallelujah and you would go through .

That is the last thing I wanted to say . Our relationship is strong , it is going to be stronger . When you go into the EU , it will be better for America not worse . I want you to do what it takes to get there and I want you to get rid of yesterday's problems so you can think about tomorrow's possibilities . We've got a lot of things to do in America and for the rest of my life , I'll do what I can to make sure you get there .

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