There is an old Turkish proverb: “You cannot put out fire with flames.”
America knows this. Turkey knows this. There are some who must be met with force. But force alone cannot solve our problems, and it is no alternative to extremism. The future must belong to those who create, not those who destroy. That is the future we must work for, and we must work for it together.
I know there are those who like to debate Turkey’s future. They see your country at the crossroads of continents, and touched by the currents of history. They know that this has been a place where civilizations meet, and different peoples mingle. And they wonder whether you will be pulled in one direction or another.
Here is what they don’t understand: Turkey’s greatness lies in your ability to be at the center of things. This is not where East and West divide – it is where they come together. In the beauty of your culture. In the richness of your history. In the strength of your democracy. In your hopes for tomorrow.
I am honored to stand here with you – to look forward to the future that we must reach for together – and to reaffirm America’s commitment to our strong and enduring friendship. Thank you.
(Source: White House)