Remarks by Charge d’Affaires Jeffrey M. Hovenier at the Independence Day Reception

June 2, 2019

Every year around July 4th we gather at our Embassies and Consulates around the world to celebrate the birthday of the United States, and to recognize our strong partnerships.

Indeed, the Turkish-American relationship is a special one. Our friendship started in 1831 during the Ottoman Empire, and was formalized with modern Turkey in 1927. Since then, it’s been an honor to celebrate our Independence Day with you each year.  And for many of those years, right here in this garden.  While the past year has certainly been full of challenges, our relationship is one of partnership, shared goals, and many successes.

Whatever the current challenges, I am confident that we will find a way forward together. I’m confident of this for many reasons, and one of them is the very good news that Ambassador David Satterfield has been confirmed by the Senate and will soon be arriving to Ankara to assume his duties.  I know he will receive a warm welcome.  And I look forward to introducing him to you all in the near future.

However, I am well aware of the fact that the only thing standing between all of you and our buffet, drinks, and the amazing live music are these remarks.  And honestly, nobody comes to an Independence Day event for the speeches.

So I’m going to keep this short. Many of you know that the U.S. is an incredibly diverse place, made up of immigrants and their descendants from all around the world – my own family included. So July 4th means a little something different to different people. Tonight we’re celebrating that diversity. For some, it’s all about the food. Or the fireworks. For others, it’s a celebration of our essentials freedoms.  Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Freedom to worship. Freedom to love. There are so many others – and they all make us strong. Independence Day is a celebration of who we are as Americans. Of that strength in diversity. It’s also a celebration of the things we value. Which includes, above all else, having a good time. Which is why we brought you here tonight.

So tonight, I hope you’ll enjoy a few of the things that reflect our diversity, and make us proud. If you think that the band has a Latin beat – si, lo tiene, or it does. Or if the food and drink remind you of a trip to the U.S. – we’re glad. Enjoy it. Tonight is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company. But most importantly it’s a celebration of the U.S. Thank you for joining us, thank you for supporting the Turkish-American relationship.