Obama on the Record: Turkey Town Hall

You know, the American people are a very hopeful people. We’re an optimistic people by nature. We believe that anything is possible if we put our minds to it. And that is one of the qualities of America that I think the world appreciates. You know, sometimes people may think that we are — we aren’t realistic enough about how the world works and we think that we can just remake the world without regard to history, because we’re still a relatively new nation. Compared to Turkey and how old this civilization is, America is still very new.

And so it’s true that I think we believe that things can happen very fast and that transformations in politics or in economics or in science and technology can make our lives better overnight.

So sometimes we need more patience. But I also think the world needs to have a sense – (drop in audio feed). That’s a good thing and that we don’t have to always be stuck with old arguments. I mean, one thing that is interesting about Europe as I travel around is, you know, you hear disputes between countries that date back to a hundred years, a thousand years — people are still made about things that happened a very long time ago.

And so one thing America may have to offer is an insistence on looking forward and not always looking backwards.

Okay, I only have time for one more question. I’ll give it to this gentleman right here.

Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait — I’ve got to get my earplug.

Q I thank you for the opportunity to ask you a question. Right now I am in the Turkish language and literature faculty of this university. How do you assess the Prime Minister’s attitude in Davos? Had you been in the same situation, would you have reacted the same way?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think very highly of your Prime Minister. I’ve had a chance now to talk with him first in London. I had spoken to him on the phone previously, but we had the opportunity to meet in London during the G20, and then we’ve been obviously having a number of visits while I’ve been here in Turkey.

And so I think that he is a good man who is very interested in promoting peace in the region and takes great pride I believe in trying to help work through the issues between Israel and its neighbors. And Turkey has a long history of being an ally and a friend of both Israel and its neighbors. And so it can occupy a unique position in trying to resolve some of these differences.

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