Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone’s Speech at 238th Independence Day Reception in Istanbul

Man speaking at podium. (Photo: Yasemin Guder)
Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone (Photo: Yasemin Guder)

İyi aksamlar Herkese,

Sayın Vali; Sayın İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediye Başkanı; Sayın İstanbul Merkez Komutanı, Sayın Istanbul Jandarma Bölge KomutanıSayın İlçe Belediye Başkanları; Sayın Ekümenik Patriği, Sayın Hahambaşı, Sayın Süryani Ortodoks Metropoliti, ve Ermeni Patrik Vekili, diplomasi, kültür, akademi, medya, iş dünyası, siyaset ve sivil toplumu temsil eden değerli misafirlerimiz; my fellow Americans, diplomats, business people:

It is a special pleasure for Marie and me and our visiting daughter and son-in-law to celebrate American Independence Day for our tenth year as American diplomats in Turkey, and for the fourth consecutive year in this dynamic city where we have so many friends.  I thank all of the American companies whose generous support made this event possible.

I also thank our superb Consulate staff who are all around us.  It has been a great privilege to serve with you all once again these past several years. Thanks for all your work and organizing and planning this event and taking care of our guests together.  And it has been a very special pleasure this past year to welcome our new Consul General, my friend, my colleague Chuck Hunter. Chuck, thank you for joining us and for leading this wing of our mission.

On behalf of all Americans here this evening, whether of our official Mission or the many members of our private sector community here, I would like thank all of our dear Turkish friends and other distinguished guests for your warm hospitality, and for the friendship which we experience with you every day.

Kariyerim boyunca pek çok ülkede bulundum. İstanbul kuşkusuz dünyanın en harikulade şehirlerinden biridir… Sadece Marie ve ben değil, İstanbul’dan ayrılan tüm Amerikalılar en kısa sürede yeniden buraya dönmek istiyor. Bu eşsiz şehir, sizlerin dostluğuyla kalplerimize taht kurdu. İstanbul’u ve siz dostlarımızı çok özleyeceğiz, unutamayacagiz sizleri. 

Her ne kadar bu yıl Boğaziçi yüzme yarışlarına katılamayacak olsam da biliyorum ki kısa sürede yine buluşacağız. 

Dear friends and colleagues, thanks to all of you for honoring us this evening by joining us in celebrating the United States’ 238th year of independence.  On this special day, we reflect with great pride on the history of our country, and the core values of freedom and equality for all which define our American identity, and which also form the basis of our abiding friendship and alliance with Turkey.

For both of our countries, the strength of our friendship has always lain not only in our profession of shared values and interests, not only in our growing partnerships in business and diplomacy, science, education, culture but also in the strength of our Trans-Atlantic alliance for our mutual defense.

More than ever during the Cold War, we stand solidly together to confront the threats to our freedom and prosperity from terrorism, international crime, naked hegemonism, dictatorial oppression, and extremism — rooted certainly not in the love of God and his prophets, but rather in the antithesis of all the divine faiths: in hate, in ignorance, and in sectarianism.

As President Obama said last month in Warsaw regarding the Euro-Atlantic alliance:  “we stand together because we believe that people and nations have the right to determine their own identity and destiny… We stand together because we believe that upholding peace and security is the responsibility of every nation.”

As we Americans and Turks and our other friends join together tonight in Istanbul to celebrate our shared acceptance of that responsibility, we can also reflect on the vision and wisdom of Turkey’s great founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who wrote to President Roosevelt in 1937, his last year of life, that “our countries pursue the same ideal foreseeing general peace and happiness of humanity.”  Ataturk dedi ki: “Bilhassa ki, bizim iki memleketimiz, umumi sulh ve insanlığın saadetini istihdaf eden aynı ideali gütmektedir.”

It is a pleasure to see so many old friends here as we bid you all farewell.   You have enriched our lives with so many fond memories since our first visit in 1977 to Istanbul.  We earnestly hope to return, and we look forward to welcoming you all in Washington.  Hepinizi Amerika’da her zaman bekleriz.  

Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’nin 238nci bağımsızlık yıldönümünü İstanbul’da bizimle birlikte kutladığınız için hepinize tekrar teşekkür ederim. [Applause] Sağolun. 

Biraz daha önce dediğimiz gibi İstanbul’da, Türkiye’de gayet güzel anılarımız var. 

Geçmiş yıllarda İstanbul’da pekçok iftara katıldık biz aile olarak. Özellikle çadırda gittiğimiz iftarlar bizi en çok etkileyenlerdi. Bu vesileyle hepinizin Ramazanı mübarek olsun…

Şimdi gecenin geri kalanını İzmir’den gelen Cansu Tanrıkulu Beşlisi’nin güzel müziği ile keyifle geçirelim hep beraber. Cansu Hanim, çok teşekkür ederiz.

Yeniden değerli arkadaşlar, sevgili arkadaşlar geldiğiniz icin çok teşekkür ederiz. Amerika’da bekleriz.