your dairy industry. I worked hard to help secure the necessary licenses to increase livestock shipmentsto Turkey.
Turkey‘s economic success is well
-known, but your growing achievements in education,infrastructure, and humanitarian assistance are no less im
pressive. Nationwide, Turkey‘s blooming
university systems will graduate more than 700,000 students this year. As I toured this magnificent cityyesterday, I was awed by the history and by the palpable energy that is making the most modern city inthis striking country ever more modern, while respecting your storied past and hallowed traditions.Turkey is also engaged on the world stage in a way that it has not been since before the FirstWorld War: 18 new Turkish embassies are now located across the African continent alone. As Turkeycelebrates its 88
anniversary next week, the progress of the last decade can be summed up by the
words of Ataturk 10 years after he founded the Turkish Republic: ―We have accomplished great things
in a short period of t
In the same address, President Ataturk called on his countrymen to accomplish even greaterthings to achieve his vision of a country that is among the most prosperous and civilized in the world.As the centennial of the Republic approaches and the drafting of a new constitution is being considered
in this country, it is apt to remember that his famous phrase, ―How happy is the one who says ‗I amTurk,‘‖ was not only a boast, but also a challenge.When I am asked about the trajectory of Turkey‘s
future, there are two simplistic questions that
often come up in the West, and in Washington, in particular: ―is Turkey turning toward the East or West?‖ And, ―is Turkey becoming more secular or more Islamic?‖ Unfortunately the either/or
approach of these inadequate
questions fails to appreciate the rich diversity of Turkey‘s people and
culture, and the strength it provides to your great country.
Elif Shafak said it best when she said that ―if modernity is a project fraught with uncertainty, we
haps say this much: it is alive and well in Turkey.‖ This is Turkey‘s time. It is at a crossroads.
n my mind the key to Turkey‘s stronger role in regional and global affairs rests in whether Turkey
is becoming more moderate, more democratic, and more protective of human dignity at home, andabroad.I know Turkey has hesitated to label itself a model for the region, but it is obvious that yourrecent successes qualify you and your country as sources of inspiration for young, impressionableaudiences in neighboring countries during the Arab Spring. Since it became the first majority Muslimcountry to hold free multiparty elections in 1950, Turkey has proven that a Muslim-majority countrycan elect a secular representative democracy.Turkey is also suited to promote democratic values because Turkey is complex and not easilydefined or assigned a stereotype. As a result, people watch it more closely than other countries. I canattest that this principle applies equally to American politics as it does for countries like Turkey.Washington has become more partisan in recent years than in the past, and my reputation as a centristmeans I am criticized from both ends of the political spectrum. But my colleagues frequently reach outto me precisely
I am willing to pursue pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to our nation‘s problems.
Turkey, too, has the opportunity to be at the center.
The ideas and narratives that emanate from Turkey‘s leadership will increasingly carry beyondTurkey‘s borders in t
his age of digital technology and a 24/7 news cycle. The ideas and narratives that