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Public Papers - 1990 - September

Remarks Following Discussions With President Turgut Ozal of Turkey

1990-09-25

President Bush. It has been a very great pleasure for me, and all of us -- American side -- to welcome President Ozal to the White House. And on behalf of every American, Mr. President, I salute your leadership and your courage.

Our talks today have been most cordial and constructive, as befits good friends, and marked by respect and total candor, as befits allies and equal partners. Our two nations have been faithful to each other in war and in peace for more than 40 years. And we in the United States have always valued Turkey's vital contribution to NATO. We've stood together to defend the bedrock principles that unite us: freedom and democracy.

Our solidarity has never been more apparent than since Saddam Hussein marched ruthlessly into a peaceful Kuwait 8 weeks ago, violating all norms of international order. And since then, many nations have worked together to contain and repel Iraq's brutal aggression -- not America alone but the United Nations and staunch allies like Turkey who have told the world: We will not tolerate this invasion; it will not stand.

From the earliest stages of this struggle, Turkey has been in the forefront of the international condemnation of Iraq, thanks in large part to President Ozal's leadership. Turkey promptly shut off the pipeline of Iraqi oil and closed its border to trade with Iraq. And Turkey was among the first to endorse the U.N. embargo of Iraqi goods. Turkey has stood firm and steadfast despite the heavy burden the Iraqi invasion has placed on its own economy.

Throughout this crisis, President Ozal has been a decisive leader and a true friend. We've been in touch often since August 2d, and I look forward to continued close consultation with him in the period ahead.

In short, Turkey has served as a protector of peace, rallying to its friends when those friends are imperiled. And so, recently Secretary of State Baker and Secretary of Treasury Brady went to 13 nations, securing over billion in international assistance. Many allied governments gladly offered aid in recognition of Turkey's generous contribution in defending our mutual interests. And we stand by those who stand up for civilized values around the world.

In that spirit, President Ozal and I discussed today how we might expand the ties -- political, economic, cultural, and military -- which link Turkey and America. We agreed to work together to invigorate our economic relationship and pledged, as a first step, to initiate negotiations next month toward a new agreement on textiles.

I also told President Ozal that the United States continues to support Turkey's application for membership in the European Community. As events in the Gulf have demonstrated the indisputable strategic importance of Turkey to NATO and the United States, we also agreed to maintain our close security and military relationship.

The administration will work with the Congress to make sure that Turkey receives its fair share of security assistance in fiscal year 1991. We will also work to help modernize the Turkish Armed Forces by the future sale of F - 16's and provision of other military equipment.

Finally, President Ozal and I discussed the importance and desirability of improved relations among all countries of the eastern Mediterranean, including Turkey and Greece.

Mr. President, ties have never been stronger, our friendship never deeper. And for now, I bid you an affectionate farewell. I wish you well up there at the United Nations. And I hope and believe we will see much of each other in the months and the years ahead. Thank you for coming our way.

President Ozal. Thank you, Mr. President. I am very grateful to President Bush for his kind words about my country and myself. I was here in January, and we had a similar meeting, but then we didn't have this Gulf crisis in our hands. Today -- along with bilateral relations, which are satisfactorily gaining scope and reflect the longstanding friendship between Turkey and the United States -- the Gulf crisis, of course, was the top issue.

President Bush has shown exceptional leadership not only for his country but for the whole community of nations since the outbreak of this crisis. His firm stand against aggression and immediate reaction based on the correct assessment of the implications of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait have been instrumental in the mobilization of a united front against the aggression.

I think I am one of the few to know best the invaluable efforts of President Bush since I have been in close and constant contact with him from the very first days of the crisis. For your sagacious and determined stand, Mr. President, you deserve the appreciation of the civilized world all over.

Turkey, on her part, has not only become the key to the successful implementation of the sanctions but by her actions has also been instrumental in encouraging several other countries to follow suit. It is preferable that this crisis is resolved through peaceful means. The effective implementation of the economic embargo may be the only hope for achieving this objective. Therefore, each and every country has a collective duty to strictly observe the mandatory U.N. sanctions and make them work.

During our talk, President Bush and I had the opportunity to discuss extensively our bilateral relations. I am gratified to say that both countries have the political will to promote these relations in every field. Our relations recently began to diversify, and our economic cooperation started to gain momentum.

I emphasized to President Bush today that our motto remains unchanged: Turkey wants more trade than aid. I believe it's a valid object since we should be partners not only in security cooperation but, perhaps even more so, in such other areas as increased trade and economic cooperation. In view of our desire to enter into a closer relationship in this field with the United States, the rapid elimination of trade barriers will be in conformity with the spirit of such a partnership.

I would like to conclude by stating that our discussions were very satisfactory, reflecting the close friendship that exists between our two countries since many, many years.

Thank you.

Note: President Bush spoke at 1:38 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. In his remarks, he referred to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Prior to their remarks, the two Presidents met privately in the Oval Office and with U.S. and Turkish officials in the Cabinet Room, and then attended a luncheon in the Old Family Dining Room.

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