April 6, 2009
Obama and Gul in Ankara, Turkey
PRESIDENT GUL: (As translated.) We are very pleased to host the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, in Turkey. It would not be wrong to say that our discussions began in Strasbourg, and the discussions that we began in Strasbourg, we continued with them today, both during our meeting and then over lunch. And it was very beneficial.
At the outset of my remarks, I would like to say that we heard that there’s been an earthquake in Italy — we just heard. And I would like to express my condolences to the people who lost their lives. We share the sorrow of the Italian people.
We are very appreciative of the fact that Mr. Obama, having been elected President, made Turkey one of his stops in his first overseas visit, and we have been very happy with that — the Turkish people have been very happy with that.
We have had opportunity to review the strategic dimension of our relations. Most of our relations seem to be on a military and political dimension, but we are also determined to move forward on the economic dimension of our relations. On the area of technology, we’ll continue to support development of economic and technology cooperation. These are areas which we place importance on.
In we look at Turkish-American issues, we see that the United States is very much interested, and must be interested, in important issues around the world as a superpower, and Turkey is an important country in her region, and Turkey is very much interested in many subjects. So if we were to make two separate lists of the issues that our countries are interested in, we would see that they are very much alike. And so I’m very pleased to say that Turkey and the United States have great understanding for each other and they work in cooperation with each other.
Of course, fighting against terrorism is one of the most important issues for both of the countries, and the cooperation that we’ve had so far will be further developed, and in many geographies, from Afghanistan to the Caucuses to the Balkans to the Middle East, we are working together and we are determined to continue to work together. And the President has also shown great interest to Turkey’s relations with the European Union. We appreciate that very much. We thank him very much for his words in that regard.
I think that this visit has been very beneficial. I’d like to welcome the President once again and wish him success.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you very much. And, President Gul, you could not be a better host, and we are grateful to you and your team, as well as all the people of Turkey for the extraordinary hospitality that you’ve extended to us.
As you mentioned, we just heard the news of the earthquake in Italy, and we want to send out condolences to the families there and hope that we are able to get rescue teams in and that we can minimize the damage as much as possible moving forward.