Obama on the Record: Address to Turkish Parliament

We know that the road ahead will be difficult. Both Israelis and Palestinians must take the steps that are necessary to build confidence. Both must live up to the commitments they have made. Both must overcome longstanding passions and the politics of the moment to make progress toward a secure and lasting peace.

The United States and Turkey can help the Palestinians and Israelis make this journey. Like the United States, Turkey has been a friend and partner in Israel’s quest for security. And like the United States, you seek a future of opportunity and statehood for the Palestinians. Now, we must not give into pessimism and mistrust. We must pursue every opportunity for progress, as you have done by supporting negotiations between Syria and Israel. We must extend a hand to those Palestinians who are in need, while helping them strengthen institutions. And we must reject the use of terror, and recognize that Israel’s security concerns are legitimate.

The peace of the region will also be advanced if Iran forgoes any nuclear weapons ambitions. As I made clear yesterday in Prague, no one is served by the spread of nuclear weapons. This part of the world has known enough violence. It has known enough hatred. It does not need a race for ever-more powerful tools of destruction.

I have made it clear to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic that the United States seeks engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We want Iran to play its rightful role in the community of nations, with the economic and political integration that brings prosperity and security. Now, Iran’s leaders must choose whether they will try to build a weapon or build a better future for their people.

Both Turkey and the United States support a secure and united Iraq that does not serve as a safe-haven for terrorists. I know there were differences about whether to go to war. There were differences within my own country as well. But now we must come together as we end this war responsibly, because the future of Iraq is inseparable from the future of the broader region. The United States will remove our combat brigades by the end of next August, while working with the Iraqi government as they take responsibility for security. And we will work with Iraq, Turkey, and all of Iraq’s neighbors, to forge a new dialogue that reconciles differences and advances our common security.

Make no mistake, though: Iraq, Turkey, and the United States face a common threat from terrorism. That includes the al Qaeda terrorists who have sought to drive Iraqis apart and to destroy their country. And that includes the PKK. There is no excuse for terror against any nation. As President, and as a NATO ally, I pledge that you will have our support against the terrorist activities of the PKK. These efforts will be strengthened by the continued work to build ties of cooperation between Turkey, the Iraqi government, and Iraq’s Kurdish leaders, and by your continued efforts to promote education and opportunity for Turkey’s Kurds.

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