President Obama said Monday that the United States and Turkey can send a powerful message to the world through their friendship.
“I have now spent a week traveling through Europe, and I’ve been asked, ‘Are you trying to make a statement by ending this weeklong trip in Turkey’ And the answer is yes,” Obama said during his first state visit to a Muslim nation. Obama said he is trying to make a statement about the importance of Turkey — “not just to the United States, but to the world.” “I think that where there’s the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation, a predominantly Muslim nation — a Western nation and a nation that straddles two continents,” he continued, “that we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous, that there are not tensions — inevitable tensions between cultures — which I think is extraordinarily important.” Obama said “one of the great strengths of the United States” is that it does not consider itself “a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values. I think modern Turkey was founded with a similar set of principles.”