Remarks at the Welcoming
Ceremony for President KenanEvren
June 27, 1988
Reagan. The founder of the TurkishRepublic, Mustafa KemalAtaturk, once said, ``Happy
is he who can call himself a Turk.'' Well, I can say that I understand that
sentiment. And I can also say that, ``Happy is the American President who can
welcome the Turkish President.'' So, let me welcome you to the United States on behalf of myself and
the American people.
are proud to have the Turkish President here. Turkey and the United States have the strongest of
bonds: friendship and alliance. Our relations have been characterized by
success. Together with their NATO allies, Turkey and the United States have been partners in
the most successful alliance the world has ever known, an alliance that has
maintained the peace for nearly 40 years.
modern Turkish-American partnership began in 1947. The Turkish people
demonstrated the will and the courage that were required to meet the threat of
aggression. The American people, with similar will and courage, were able to
support them. In the 40 years that have followed, the strength and durability
of our partnership, and of the NATO alliance, have discouraged aggression. In Korea, Turks and Americans
shed blood together on the battlefield in defense of freedom. Today the
solidarity of our mutual commitment to collective security keeps us safe and
enables us to seek improved relations with our adversaries from a position of
ties between Turkey and the United States are broader than our
common security interests. We are brought together by the strong bonds that
derive from shared values as well. And I might say,
Americans have admired the way that Turkey pulled itself back to
democracy when challenged by the violent forces of terrorism and anarchy a
decade ago. We are well aware of your own distinguished role, Mr. President, in
maintaining Turkey's devotion to the
ideals of Ataturk. Your country's pride in that
accomplishment is understandable. For our part, the American people are proud
of the decades of support they have given to Turkey. Friendships must never
be taken for granted. We want our ties with the Turkish Nation to grow and to
deepen. Happily, that process is well underway. As vigorous democracies, our
peoples should get to know each other better.
year the ``Suleyman the Magnificent'' exhibit,
magnificent in itself, opened the eyes of Americans to the richness of the
Turkish heritage. Visits between American Congressmen and women and Turkish
parliamentarians have increased in recent years, and with that increase has
come better understanding. Our trade relations are growing, and Turkey is strongly attracting
American investors. And I firmly believe that trade and investment are the
surest ways that Turkey can find to ensure the
prosperity its people seek.
Mr.President, Turkey and the United States are allies and friends;
as such, we have a record of success together. In our coming meetings, I know
that we will enhance that friendship and add to the record of success. I am
confident, too, that your full schedule, with its intense program of contacts
with American political, economic, and cultural leaders, will further
strengthen mutual understanding and our sense of common purpose. I look forward
to discussing with you the ways in which we can strengthen our established ties
and create new forms of cooperation in defense of these purposes and values. As
Turkey and the United States look ahead to the next
century, our continuing friendship and alliance will continue to serve us well.
It cannot be otherwise, for at the root of our relationship are common goals:
democracy, peace, and security for our peoples.
now, Mr. President, I have the honor of presenting to you the Legion of Merit,
Chief Commander, one of the highest military honors our country awards, for the
service of Turkish forces in the Korean conflict. I present this not only as a
tribute to the valor of the Turkish military and the people of your nation but
as a symbol of our alliance on so many fronts over so many years in the cause
of peace and freedom.
Evren. Mr. President, Mrs. Reagan, I thank you for
the kind invitation to visit the United States of
America and for your generous hospitality. Your warm
words of welcome have moved us. This ceremony, which marks the beginning of my
visit, brings together the national flags of Turkey and the United States, allies whose ties have
stood the test of time.
of Turks like myself still recall the memories of
fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Korea for the defense of
freedom. We have been allies at war and in peace. This Legion of Merit award is
a reflection of the fact that the outstanding services of the Turkish brigade
in Korea are still fresh in the
minds of our American friends, and I accept it with deep appreciation on behalf
of the entire Turkish Nation. In so doing, I express not only my own personal
thanks but also those of my 54 million fellow Turks who share with me the pride
of their nation on this occasion. Recalling our comrades in arms who made the
ultimate sacrifice in Korea, I assure you that the
dedication of the Turkish people to the principle of freedom and democracy
remains as undiminished today as it did 40 years ago.
President, my visit to your country is also the natural consequence of the
interest and support which your administration from the outset has extended to Turkey and to the development
of Turkish-American friendship. This interest, which we much appreciate, is
rooted in Turkey's dedication to Western
ideals of democracy, peace, and stability. As in the past, the core of
Turkish-American relations continues to consist of commonly held political
views and values. Those elements constitute the most valid guarantee of the
durability and closeness of our friendship, as well as the fruitfulness of our
cooperation. The stable development of Turkish-American relations, based on
equality and mutual interests, is to the benefit of our countries, the free
world, and international peace and security.
President, I am confident that my visit will provide the opportunity for a
productive dialog on how we can further expand and deepen our bonds. At the
same time, I hope that my visit will also contribute to a better recognition of
Turkey and the United States by our respective
peoples, and particularly of Turkey as a reliable partner.
President, the people of Turkey follow with admiration
your determined efforts for the defense of freedom, strengthening of peace, and
development and reduction of international tensions. Strengthening of peace,
freedom, and independence remain high on the global agenda. Situated in a
region where these issues are paramount, Turkey is determined to
continue her contribution to peace and stability. Turkey serves as an anchor of
democracy, freedom, and stability in a region in turmoil. Your own Thomas Paine
once wrote: ``Those who expect to reap the blessings
of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.'' Mr. President, let me
say that in Turkey we do not feel fatigued
by our support of the Western allies because we know that by supporting the
allies we may all continue to reap the blessings of freedom.
President, I am delighted to meet you, the distinguished members of your
administration, and be among the great people of this country. As a final word,
let me say that I look with hope and confidence to the future of the relations
between our two countries sharing the ideals of peace, stability, freedom, and
prosperity. I thank you once again for your kind invitation.
Note: President Reagan
spoke at at the South Portico of
the White House, where President Evren was accorded a
formal welcome with full military honors. Following the ceremony, the two
Presidents met in the Oval Office.