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Public Papers - 1991 - July

Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One

1991-07-21

Q. We like your suit. It's great!

President Ozal. Thank you.

President Bush. How about my shirt? It's sort of elitist, a little elitist -- remember when we played golf down in Jupiter?

Q. Are you looking forward to the sightseeing trip?

President Bush. Oh, yes. This is going to be wonderful.

Middle East Peace Process

Q. Have you heard from Baker?

President Bush. Never been here before. Never.

Haven't talked to him, but the report we got was pretty favorable out of the Saudis, so we'll see where we're going. I think he's making step-by-step progress here -- talking to the President about it. We both see reason to be optimistic. We'll just have to see.

Q. Does that mean you have a solution to the settlements there and the boycott?

President Bush. Oh, not the whole solution, but it's an important step.

Q. Do you have to pay tribute to the Arab world when you're dealing with Israel -- --

President Bush. I think whatever, people want peace in the Middle East. I know that's true for all Americans, including the political, which you refer to as political considerations in countries. So, I hope we have something going here that all the American people can enthusiastically support. I really believe they will. We've got to make clear what it is we're doing. But I think we're beginning to see the kinds of cooperation that is necessary for peace. We've been talking a little about that here.

Q. -- -- as being seen as pressuring the Israelis?

President Bush. It's not a question of pressuring, it's a question of bringing -- or pressuring any other country. It's a question of reasoning and taking this, what I keep calling a new credibility for the United States in the Middle East itself and using that to encourage what is a very reasonable and important step to peace. It's more that -- you start using those volatile words and it simply just hardens positions, so I'm avoiding all that.

Q. Are you worried about -- --

President Bush. I'm just avoiding all those words.

Turkey

Q. -- -- in Istanbul there have been some demonstrations. Are you worried about it, terrorism?

President Ozal. No.

President Bush. The answer -- no. And I agree with him.

Public Opinion Polls

Q. President Ozal, are you taking a chance by being so friendly with the United States -- in the newspaper today that a recent poll indicates that most Turks feel that the United States is interfering in the internal affairs -- are you spending some political capital by being so friendly with the United States?

President Ozal. I couldn't get it.

President Bush. Are you using political capital by being friendly to the United States because there's a poll -- --

Q. It means you won't win next year. [Laughter]

President Ozal. I think you talk about the poll in the British newspapers -- about the European Community -- --

Q. The line says: ``Most Turks say their future lies with the EC, not America.'' They feel the United States is interfering in the internal affairs in terms of -- --

President Ozal. We didn't see it -- --

President Bush. He's like me, he doesn't live by these polls. I've told you that over and over again: We do not live by polls. Remember all the accusations made against me last year? Do you remember all of them? Tom [Tom DeFrank, Newsweek], I know you would never have written anything like that -- --

Q. [Inaudible]

President Bush. That's right. If you believe that, you'll believe anything. [Laughter]

Q. Well, you read your polls, don't you?

President Bush. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], my wings would drop off if I told an untruth, so put it this way: From time to time, I look at them but I don't live by them or make decisions by them, and I hope our record has proved that by now. So, we'll see.

If he lived by them -- I suppose if he lived by every little tick in Turkish pulse there would have been a lot of reasons for Turkey not to do what they did. And they stood firm and it was a wonderful example of how you ought to do what is right. So, with those words of wisdom, see you.

President Ozal. Sometimes you have to lead the way.

Q. Thank you for not wearing a tie.

President Bush. That's right -- no ties. He said no.

Secretary of State's Secret Trip

Q. What's this secret trip that Baker is going on?

President Bush. Secret trip? It's so secret he hasn't told me about it.

President Bush's Schedule

Q. After the trip to the Soviet Union will you go straight to Kennebunkport or back to DC?

President Bush. Oh, gosh, I haven't looked at the exact dates. I may have to go back for a while. We've got a couple of grandchildren appearing that will -- Barbara's schedule. But I think I'll have to be back in DC, I mean, rather than just land at Pease, or something.

Q. Right.

President Bush. No, I think -- I haven't talked to them, but I better ask before I say. I haven't gotten that far down the road.

Relax. See you in Istanbul.

Note: The exchange took place while President Bush was en route to Istanbul, Turkey, where he toured the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Topkapi Palace, and the Bosphorous Strait. A reporter referred to Secretary of State James A. Baker III. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

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