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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2002 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Change and the Value of Enduring Alliances

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Remarks to the American Turkish Council
Washington, DC
March 19, 2002

Thank you Mr. Tuncer for that kind introduction. It is an honor and a great personal pleasure to be here with you today. This is such a great event because it celebrates two great countries; Turkey and the United States.  Those of you who know my story know that Turkey has changed my life. For the better! I lived in your beautiful country and enjoyed your gracious hospitality for 6 years. I am so pleased that this connection has continued and that you would invite me here today.

The events of September 11 will figure prominently in my short talk today. How could they not? Turkey has suffered terrorism. The US has suffered terrorism. This is an added bond between us. But I do not want to give you an update on the latest battle in the war on terrorism. Instead, I would like to talk about the attacks in terms of change: the changes they have brought about, in our world, in our respective countries, and in the relationship between our two countries.  

September 11 has made me think again about how we manage change in this complicated world. Of course, the challenge of managing change is not news to Turks. Attaturk set you on your noble course with change as his guide. But change can only be successfully managed when we have our principles. For the both the United States and Turkey, these principles, -- the ones that help us manage change-- include freedom, democracy, human rights, and the belief that free markets bring prosperity.   And so, September 11 changed the world.

The United States certainly changed. The comfortable insulation Americans felt was shattered. Turkey was also a victim, as were the 79 other countries who lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania.   Here are two things have not changed.

First, Turkey is once again highlighted as a model for those countries with an Islamic heritage who choose to be – and work to be -- modern, secular, democratic, and true to their faith simultaneously. Those of us who have admired Turkey for this vision for years now find we are not so alone in wishing that your great endeavor succeeds.

The other constant is the US-Turkey relationship. We are friends and allies. Turkish troops and American troops have a history together. Turkey has supported us at the worst of times; the truest measure of its friendship.

We deeply appreciated the immediate and heartfelt condolences extended by Turks and by Turkey after September 11. Turkey has been a steadfast partner in the War on Terrorism since September 11. In addition to its role in ISAF, Turkey has extended basing rights and overflights to coalition forces. It has also provided trainers for the new Afghan police force and brought medical care for the people of Afghanistan.

In the six month memorial ceremony at the White House, President Bush singled out Turkey for special thanks and Ambassador Logoglu was one of three Ambassadors chosen to speak at the commemoration.

Since the 11th of September, I have kept a list on my desk of all the things that could change for the better in this world if we make the right decisions today. As President Bush said last week, " When the terrorists are disrupted and scattered, and discredited, many old conflicts will appear in a new light. … We will see then that the old and the serious disputes can be settled within the bounds of reason, and goodwill, and mutual security. I see a world beyond the war on terror, and with courage and unity, we are building that world together."

What can we make of these events and the campaign that has followed? What legacy do we leave?

We are fighting a new kind of war. Our mutual friend, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and a great supporter of Turkey’s, captured this last week in a speech. Paul said, "This war is a unique war. It’s unique in the way in which it began, with the largest attack on this country in our nation’s history. It’s unique in that we continue to fight abroad while there’s a continuing threat of attack at home…. It’s unique in that it’s much more subtle and complex than a conventional war. It’s unique in the speed with which it came together…. I think it’s unique therefore, in the fact this is a war that has to be fought by many means other than just military."

As we change to fight this war, and as we look beyond it to the form we want our rapidly changing world to take, we must also ensure we live up to our principles. Here are four:

  • First, our commitment to Turkey: Turkey matters to the United States. We are friends and allies. It is in both our interest that we remain strong, stable, reliable partners.
  • Second, our commitment to NATO: The first use of Article V of the NATO Treaty has been invoked in defense of the United States. Our NATO allies have matched their words with deeds in the War on Terrorism. Some, like Turkey, have committed forces to serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and are leading and manning the International Security Assistance Force on the ground today. NATO countries have contributed more than 90% of the troops that comprise ISAF. All but one of the fifteen countries participating in ISAF are either NATO members or PFP partners.

And we look ahead to the Prague NATO Summit in November, what do we see?

    • New capabilities for NATO
    • New Members for NATO
    • A new relationship with Russia in NATO

We should be led by President Bush’s statement in Warsaw earlier this year: "As we plan the Prague Summit, we should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to expand the cause of freedom.

  • A third bedrock principle is our commitment to Freedom and Democracy. I believe ever more that there is a connection between peace, freedom, democracy and economic development. More democracy and economic development will help root out the inequities that help give rise to terrorism.

As Secretary Powell said this month introducing the 2002 Human Rights Reports, " The United States welcomes the help of any country… that is genuinely prepared to work with us to eradicate terrorism. At the same time, we will not relax our commitment to advancing the cause of human rights and democracy. For a world in which men and women of every continent, culture, creed, of every race, religion and region, can exercise their fundamental freedoms is a world in which terrorism cannot thrive."

Freedom boosts the economy. Democracy reinforces economic prosperity.  Freedoms must be exercised and protected. It is the ability to exercise freedom which symbolizes genuine tolerance in a civil society.

That is why the US is pleased to see that Turkey is moving to enhance Turkey’s democracy. The 34-article constitutional amendment package passed last year was a significant step. We know that Turkey will continue to move forward on the legislative changes necessary for implementation of the amendment package. We are strong supporters of Turkey’s commitment to join the EU; and we know that you will make the political, economic and other reforms necessary to achieve membership.

  • Fourth, our joint economic commitments. In January, President Bush and Prime Minister Ecevit agreed to deepen our bilateral economic relations. Our first step in this process was the Economic Partnership meeting in Ankara last month. The goal was straightforward; outline the roadmap for improved economic relations.

Turkey has tremendous potential to attract foreign direct investment- hard working people, a strategic location and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. However, to fulfill that potential, investors will have to see an even stronger framework for investment. Increased FDI can be Turkey’s engine to move quickly from economic recovery to growth.

Another key for attracting new investment will be progress on resolving some of the high profile economic disputes between Turkish and American businesses.   We look forward to continued economic dialogue at the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks next month, and again at the second Economic Partnership Commission in the fall.

And when we think of change, what about the Aegean? There have been many positive developments, such as discussions between Greece and Turkey to further their cooperation and resolve outstanding issues. We support efforts to increase commercial and cultural links between the two countries. There have been ongoing talks between the two leaders on Cyprus. Turkey’s support for this dialogue has been vital. And in the larger neighborhood,Turkey’s decision to relax the visa regime between Turkey and Armenia is also an encouraging sign. We also support Turkey’s strong relations with Israel.

Before I close, Iet me pay tribute to the ATC. Non-governmental organizations such as the ATC cementing our relations. Organizations such as yours have been invaluable in bringing our two worlds together and increasing our mutual understanding. The ATC remains vital to promoting US-Turkish ties. I am proud to be with you again today and congratulate you once again on the success of this annual conference.

I’d like to end with a quote from Secretary Powell, "Democracy and free markets work, and the world knows it. And there is no finer example of this than America and her allies, who together comprise the strongest economy in the world, helping to reshape the entire world by willing to trade openly and encourage others to do likewise. And there should be no question in any world leader’s mind that the first and most essential ingredient for success in the 21st century is a free people and a government that derives its right to govern from the consent of such people."

That was our goal on September 10 and it remains our goal today.




Released on March 21, 2002

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