June 28, 2022
Consul General Darnell:
Good evening, everyone. It is my pleasure to welcome you all. I am so happy you could join us in celebrating the 246th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America.
We are especially honored to have governors, 52nd Motorized Infantry Division Commander,
Istanbul Bosphorus command, our district mayors, the Ecumenical Patriarch, members of the clergy, our diplomatic counterparts, artists, academics, and activists, business leaders,
members of the press, and all of our honored guests.
Each year, around the world,we come together to celebrate the birth of America, an ongoing experiment to achieve the ideals, values, and principles that animated its founding two-hundred and forty-six years ago.
Among the most important of these ideals and values are:
That all persons are created equal;
They are endowed by the Creator with unalienable rights including life and liberty;
And that the power of the state is only just when those whom it represents consent.
America’s progress toward the realization of these ideals and values has not always been even. The history of America is that of a journey towards achieving these ideals and values for all its citizens, regardless of one’s ethnic, religious, socio-economic, or other marker of personal identity. As every American undertakes their individual journey, these ideals and values remain the benchmark to which we aspire.
The relationship between Turkiye and the United States of America began in 1831 during the Ottoman Empire, and was formalized with modern Turkey in 1927. Today our relationship encompasses many areas of shared endeavor.
In the security realm,Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression on Ukraine underscored the important role Turkiye plays as our NATO Ally and partner, and we appreciate Turkiye’s continued support or Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
U.S.-Turkish bilateral trade and economic relations continue to flourish, thanks to the efforts of the excellent U.S. Foreign Commercial Service team, along with many other agencies and sections at the Consulatethat support these endeavors.
While diplomacy often centers on the relationship between governments, it is so much more. I would like to share the story of one Turkish-American who embodies the ideals and values I spoke of earlier, and demonstrates an indelible element of the American experience.
It is the story of Dr. Aziz Sancar,professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He was the first Turkish scientist to win the Nobel Prize in 2015 for his groundbreaking work on DNA repair.
Born in Savur, he emigrated to the United States in the 1970s to advance his scientific career and became one of the United States’ leading scientists and researchers.
Dr. Sancar’s story is representative of the more than 44 million foreign-born Americans living in the United States, which hosts more immigrants than any other country in the world. It also highlights one of America’s greatest strengths: its diversity.
Like Dr. Sancar,these Americans were also drawn to the United States in part by the ideals and values I spoke of earlier, which continue to inspire us.
On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to bid farewell as my time as U.S. Consul General draws to a close. This is my second tour in Turkey – my first was as Principal Officer in Adana from 2009-2012.
Turkey is renowned around the world for its gracious hospitality, which I have been the beneficiary of during my six years serving here. And my successor, Jonathan Henick, has already arrived and is present this evening.
I am confident you will show him the same kindness and generosity that you have shown me over the years. I would like to thank each and every one of you for making me feel at home here as we faced the extraordinary challenges of the last few years together.
It is my and our pleasure to host you all for this celebration of America’s birthday. Thank you. It is now my distinct honor to introduce Ambassador Jeff Flake.