Ambassador John Bass’ Remarks at Independence Day Reception in Istanbul – July 20, 2016

Ambassador John Bass at Independence Day Reception in Istanbul

Sayın Vali, Sayın İstanbul Belediye Başkanı, Sayın İlçe Belediye Başkanı, Değerli Konuklar, Hanımefendiler ve Beyefendiler,

İyi akşamlar.  Hoşgeldiniz. I want to thank all of you tonight for joining us to mark the 240th anniversary of our independence.

Let me first express deep appreciation to our sponsors for their support and their flexibility in supporting this event.  All of them, in their own ways, are deepening the relationship between our two countries and our two peoples.

It has been a very painful year since I joined many of you here at this event last year.  And, tonight is a solemn occasion that comes at a particularly difficult time.  Both of our societies have repeatedly suffered pain and loss at the hands of terrorists.  Turkey has just experienced the shock and trauma of a violent coup attempt whose perpetrators killed hundreds of your fellow citizens.  We feel deeply the losses here in Turkey, and we again extend our deep condolences to everyone in this country who is suffering.  Başınız sağolsun ve geçmiş olsun.

While painful, the attacks each country has suffered only serve to increase our determination.  Together and separately, we must ensure tolerance and peace prevail over violence and hatred.  We must work to protect the fundamental freedoms that form the foundation of our democratic societies.  And we must seek justice, not vengeance, against those who have harmed us.  As Mevlana counselled, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

Our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, who led the United States through some of our darkest days, once said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Those words, and the caution within them, have guided the U.S. for 150 years since the end of our Civil War.

In combating terrorism, in promoting all of the efforts that we enjoy and work together so hard on, the United States will continue to support our friends and allies here in Turkey. We look forward to working with all of you in the year ahead.

Tekrar hoşgeldiniz ve çok teşekkür ederiz.