It is a friendship that flourished in the years after World War II, when President Truman committed our nation to the defense of Turkey’s freedom and sovereignty, and Turkey committed itself to the NATO alliance. Turkish troops have served by our side from Korea to Kosovo to Kabul. Together, we withstood the great test of the Cold War. Trade between our nations has steadily advanced. So has cooperation in science and research.
The ties among our people have deepened as well, and more and more Americans of Turkish origin live and work and succeed within our borders. As a basketball fan, I’ve even noticed that Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur have got some pretty good game.
The United States and Turkey have not always agreed on every issue. That is to be expected – no two nations do. But we have stood together through many challenges over the last sixty years. And because of the strength of our alliance and the endurance of our friendship, both America and Turkey are stronger, and the world is more secure.
Now, our two democracies are confronted by an unprecedented set of challenges. An economic crisis that recognizes no borders. Extremism that leads to the killing of innocent men, women and children. Strains on our energy supply and a changing climate. The proliferation of the world’s deadliest weapons, and the persistence of tragic conflict.
These are the great tests of our young century. And the choices that we make in the coming years will determine whether the future will be shaped by fear or by freedom; by poverty or by prosperity; by strife or by a just, secure and lasting peace.
This much is certain: no one nation can confront these challenges alone, and all nations have a stake in overcoming them. That is why we must listen to one another, and seek common ground. That is why we must build on our mutual interests, and rise above our differences. We are stronger when we act together. That is the message that I have carried with me throughout this trip to Europe. That will be the approach of the United States of America going forward.
Already, America and Turkey are working with the G-20 on an unprecedented response to an unprecedented economic crisis. This past week, we came together to ensure that the world’s largest economies take strong and coordinated action to stimulate growth and restore the flow of credit; to reject the pressure of protectionism, and to extend a hand to developing countries and the people hit hardest by this downturn; and to dramatically reform our regulatory system so that the world never faces a crisis like this again.