Remarks by Ambassador Bass with Consul General Davis at Independence Day Celebrations in Istanbul

On July 6, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul hosted the Fourth of July Reception at Fairmont Quasar Hotel to mark the 241st anniversary of Declaration of Independence this year.


Consul General Davis: Merhaba. İyi akşamlar misafirlerimiz ve arkadaşlarımız. Hoşgeldiniz.

It is a great honor for us to have you all here tonight as we celebrate America’s 241st birthday. We are especially honored to have Sayın Vali here and mayors from our municipalities and members of the clergy and religious orders and all of our honored guests. We thank you for being here tonight. 241 years ago, our Founding Fathers envisioned a unique experiment with democracy that set the United States on a path that today it still follows. Since its inception, the United States has striven towards the ideals of freedom of thought and expression, hard-work and entrepreneurial endeavor, scientific discovery, and the advancement of equality and the human spirit. Throughout our history, as all democracies do, at times, we have struggled. But we have always been guided by what I call our collective “true north” of decency and open-mindedness, and that spirit, inshallah, will continue to guide us for centuries to come.

I would like to express my gratitude for the work that each of you in this room is doing to make the U.S. – Turkish relationship strong. Every day, I see examples of the valuable contributions you make to advance our shared interests and to serve as a bridge between our two peoples. Tonight, we pause to honor the deeply important relationship between our two countries and to thank you all for being our friends, our neighbors, and our partners.

Hepinize teşekkür ederiz.

And now, it is my distinct honor to introduce Ambassador John Bass.

Ambassador Bass: Çok teşekkürler, Jennifer Hanım

Sayın Vali, Sayın Belediye Başkanı, Değerli Konuklar, Hanımefendiler, Beyefendiler,

Tekrar hoşgeldiniz. It is our great privilege to welcome all of you and to thank you for joining Consul General Davis eşim Holly Hanım and all of our colleagues from the consulate here to help us celebrate the 241st anniversary of our independence.

Let me first express our appreciation for the support we received from all of our sponsors for this event. Each of them in their businesses continues to help deepen our relationship – and to demonstrate anew that we are always stronger when we work together.

Maalesef it has been another painful year since many of us gathered last July, a few short days after the terrible events of 15 Temmuz. Our societies, America, Turkey, and those of many of our friends who are with us here tonight, have again suffered pain and loss at the hands of terrorists. As we saw almost one year ago today, on the terrible night of 15 Temmuz, Turkey’s citizens defended your democracy against the illegal coup attempt – at great cost. And so I want to again extend on behalf of all of my colleagues and the United States government our deep condolences to everyone in this country who has suffered losses from violence over the last year. Başınız sağ olsun.

But if we’ve learned anything from this last year, and the violence of this year, it is that the only answer to terrorism and violence is justice and tolerance. We support the Turkish government’s ongoing efforts to bring to justice those who were responsible for the terrible events one year ago.

In our own experience in dealing with terrorism in recent years, in the United States we have learned some painful lessons. Among those lessons we have learned that a rush to justice or an overly broad definition of terrorism can erode fundamental freedoms and undermine public confidence in government. We learned those lessons the hard way and it is our fervent hope that our friends here in Turkey will avoid making some of the same mistakes that we have made.

As I near the three year mark in my tenure here in Turkey, I am struck yet again by how much of what we see every day in the news focuses on our differences. Now that’s understandable, but it is also not the whole story because when I look around this room (and the room out there where people are having a good time), I see many examples of our partnership. I see people working together to innovate, to build new businesses, to create new opportunities for all of our citizens. That work is too often underreported, under recognized, but it is what binds our two societies together, and it is what carries us through these challenging times in which we currently live. And I’m confident it will continue to do so because as I said at the onset, we are always stronger when we work together, and for many years we have found ways to work together and we will continue to do so. So on this occasion of celebrating our 241st anniversary of our independence, I want to thank all of you for joining us. I want to once again say that we remain committed to working with all of you in the coming weeks, months and years.

Birlikte çalışmayı iple çekiyoruz. Çok teşekkürler.