World Bulletin/News Desk
US Secretary of State John Kerry said "Turkey has been and will continue to be a vital partner" during the crisis in Syria, the new challenges exposed by the transitions in the Arab World, and the opportunity to forge peace in the Middle East.
John Kerry and the US Vice President Joe Biden gave a lunch in honor of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the State Department on Thursday.
Kerry said at his speech at the lunch, "Your [Erdogan] visit to the United States is really a great celebration of the firm U.S.-Turkish friendship. And we affirm today that it is stronger than those who try to intimidate us with violence, it is tougher than the tests we face together in all corners of the globe, and our arms reach out wider than the waters that separate us."
Kerry reminded at his first 100 days as secretary of state, he have visited no country more than Turkey and said, "And I have been there three times already. And to put that in perspective, I have been home only twice."
Kerry expressed that he very much appreciate that his friends in Turkey have welcomed him into their homes and added, "I've had the pleasure of marveling at the foreign minister's extraordinary collection of calligraphy. I've experienced the warm hospitality of our friends. And I've laid a wreath at Anitkabir and the beautiful monument to the founder of the Republic. And in our many conversations in Ankara and Istanbul, in Rome, in Brussels and in, what I think I'm at, are almost daily telephone calls, we have strengthened our very strong personal relationship and our strategic alliance."
"Turkey send more students to the US than to Europe"
Kerry said, "The long list of successful exchange students includes Hamdi Ulukaya, who is here today. And when he left eastern Turkey's dairy country to come to study in upstate New York, he didn't know a word of English; he had $3,000 to his name. Today Hamdi employs 3,000 employees at Chobani, which runs the two largest yogurt manufacturing facilities in the world. And in the great Turkish tradition of philanthropy, every year Hamdi gives away 10 percent of his company's profits."
Kerry said the visit of Erdogan was really a great celebration of the firm U.S.-Turkish friendship and noted, "And we affirm today that it is stronger than those who try to intimidate us with violence, it is tougher than the tests we face together in all corners of the globe, and our arms reach out wider than the waters that separate us. As the proverb says -- and I will try this
Mountains do not come together, but people do. And it's up to us to make it so."
Biden: "We have the same objective
US Vice President Joe Biden said at the lunch that Turkey and the US have the same objective and that they need to work as closely as they can to bring them to fruition.
Biden reminded, "I'd like to say to all our -- all our Turkish and American guests here today that you all may think you understand something about hospitality, but the last time I visited Istanbul, the prime minister had just returned home from the hospital. And he was kind enough to invite me to his home. He surrounded me with his beautiful children and grandchildren. And we spoke candidly for hours. And so I say to my American friends, you cannot understand the true meaning of hospitality until you've been welcomed by a Turkish family into their home."
Biden noted that he said to Erdogan at their first time when they met, that he have great faith in his leadership and explained, "Turkey is a great and growing power. And this visit is at a critical moment in one of our most important relationships. Our countries, as John has pointed out, have been NATO allies for more than 60 years. But I'm not sure there's ever been a time when the challenges of a changing region and a changing world have so powerfully brought our interests together."
Biden said, "The challenges of not just hastening Bashir Assad's departure but laying the groundwork for a stable, secure and democratic day after, because that's the only way to truly end the suffering of the Syrian people, the challenge of holding open a closing window for Middle East peace by helping both sides find constructive ways to move forward, the challenge of winding down a war in Afghanistan -- all of these challenges, we are tied together."
Biden underlined the beginning of "our first administration, he said Turkey's greatness lies in your ability to be at the center of things. I'm sure that sometimes you wish you were less at the center of things, but in this imperfect world, as we all well know, Mr. Prime Minister, that's the price paid for leadership. And the good news is that when the United States and Turkey stand shoulder to shoulder, no challenge is too great for us."
Biden highlighted, "I will demonstrate a lack of hospitality unless I let you sit down and eat something. I'm going to forgo the rest of what I was going to say and just say to you, Mr. Prime Minister, the U.S.-Turkey relationships have brought enormous benefits to both sides over the past 60 years."Last Mod: 17 Mayıs 2013, 11:42