Ambassador’s speech at Tedx Tunalı Event – October 17, 2015

Ambassador John Bass at Tedx Tunalı Event

October 17, 2015

Çok teşekkürler. Arkadaşlar, günaydın, hoşgeldiniz.

I am delighted to welcome you here to this latest edition of Tedx Tunali. I cannot think of a more important topic for a day like this than the theme for this year’s TEdx, ‘perceptions.’  When we see the pain and suffering around this region, inside Turkey; the number of people in this society, in surrounding societies and indeed in the global community, that are not talking with each other, they are talking past each other; it is all the more important that we have forums like this one today, where people can really think about what it means to communicate.

A big part of what we do at the Embassy is to try to explain one government to the other, and to try to explain each country to the other.  And that is a challenge.  It is a challenge because we all perceive each other differently; particularly when language and culture come into play that is even more challenging.

But I think it is also a challenge here, because I see a lot of interaction in Turkey where Turks are trying to explain each other and the country to themselves.  And I think it is especially important at a time when Turkey is becoming a more important, a more integrated part of the global community, the global economy; and yet so many Turks when you look at polling, are deeply suspicious and have unfavorable opinions of other countries.

And so there is a paradox there that I think is grounded in, rooted in perceptions. And that is why I am so glad that all of you are going to be thinking about this today and talking about it, and hopefully helping us better understand how we can explain to ourselves and to our friends in Washington and around the United States, what it means to be Turkish today, what it means to be part of the global community as a Turkish citizen today.

I also know that I am about the last person you are all here to listen to today, so I want to thank Eray [Eray Akdag, TUSIAD Permanent Ankara Representative], I want to thank all of the other sponsors who are making today possible.  And I hope you have a tremendous experience.

Thanks very much for coming.