tv [untitled] June 27, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
the turkish ambassador. the foreigned a virz will be joining us today by skype. unfortunately they were called back to deal with the downed aircraft and the nato crisis. unfortunately they will join us by skype. of course, these kinds of conferences don't just happen. they take weeks, months, of very hard work. and i would like the thank a couple of people, ambassador ross wilson, who is now chairman of the board of governors of george town university, institute of turkish studies, and the directors. for the cosponsorship. without their partnership, we wouldn't be able to expand the
annual conference to this larger space, which we have clearly needed to do. we have a number of speakers who have come from out of town. i would like to welcome them. i would especially like to thank the middle east substitute's own, who is our director of the center for turkish studies. she's been working for months on this with her very able interns, and the entire staff of the middle east substitute has pitched in. and i would like to thank them publicly for all they have done. and i would like to point out to those of you joining us today. welcome you warmly. but also we make a point of offering this conference free, without charge to the public. we want -- it's consistent with the mission of the middle east institute to promote knowledge and understanding, and to do so in the broadest way by making it
public. so enjoy it. i hop you get a lot out of it, i hope you will consider becoming a member. i would like to point out there is a table out front for joining a member. with membership, of course, there are many perks, including a subscription to the middle east journal. and now i would like to hand the microphone over. >> thank you, western di. good morning. i would like to welcome you all to our third annual conference. and as you can see, our audience has grown considerably. since our first annual conference in 2010. and it's now one of the most
important venues for a candid discussion of turkey's domestic and foreign policies. and i would like to express my sincere preeshs to our president ambassador, wendy chamberlin, our vice president, kate sealy. our director and corporate relations. patrick and isha meyer. and all my colleagues at the middle east institute. i would also like to thank our cohost, ambassador ross wilson, and the director of institute of turkish studies for their invaluable spoth. and special thanks to my interns for arranging today's event. and i would now like to introduce ambassador ross wilson.
on the region that extends from east central europe, across the black and beyond to central asia. in december of 2008, he completed nearly three decades in the u.s. foreign service. including six years as american ambassador to turkey. in washington, ambassador wilson served in various posts, including the chief of staff for deputy secretary of state, robert zolig. and principle deputy at large and specialed a virz to the secretary of state for the new independent states. and deputy executive secretary of the state department. and he also serves on the board of governors for the institute of turkish studies. ambassador wilson? [ applause ] >> good morning to all of you.
and welcome to this how turkey relates fay to the middle east. what american policymakers should be thinking about as we develop our own policies in response to rapidly changing events and dynamics in that region. on behalf of the institute of turkish studies, ooem pleased to welcome you all to the annual conference, which they are pleased and proud to the cohost of the middle east institute. since the establishment in 1982, its has carried out and funded a variety of initiatives to promote turkish studies by american scholars and students. it's done so through grants to establish the formal programs at american colleges and universities. through funding to support the
development of to back up the programs. financial aid for undergraduate, graduate, post doctoral and sabbatical study and research, to publish books and journal articles in the field. its also carries out an active program through campus visits, academic conferences and events such as this one. i would note when i.t.s. was established in 1982, this space was rather relatively empty space. today a variety of institutions, including m.a.i. are very much engaged on turkey and the region around turkey. turkey emerged over the last 40 years for the relative margins of europe and the middle east, to occupy an increasingly
important and influential place in the regional -- in the region and on the world stage. the country's new role is born of immense transformation. economically, socially and politically over the past two decades or more, that have made the country in many respects more successful, and certainly more confident that at any time in maybe 150 or 200 years. it's also made possible by reappreciation and reappraisal by turks. by citizens in the region, countrymen in the region. by the united states, europe and others. turkey's dual middle eastern and european character. the absent to some liabilities that come with that. this conference is an unusually important opportunity to examine aspects of turkish middle east character. i want to add my congratulations for organizing this event. thank you very much.
>> and now it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome senator john mccain to the third annual conference in turkey. this conference falls at a time of great tension in the region, in general with syria, but specifically, and as you know, senator mccain has been one of the leading voices in calling for a more assertive u.s. action to help the syrian opposition. and i'm sure you all have also noted that in april, senator mccain, and senator joe lieberman went on a surprise trip to the turkey-syrian border. they met with leaders of the free syrian army and visited free syrian refugees. this is an enormously important mission for u.s. senators to do.
he met with turkish leaders as well, commenting on that time -- senator mccain said -- this has not been easy or cost free for turkey, but it's the right thing to do. and it demonstrates the compassion of turkey's great democracy. so i'm not going to go through his bio. you all know it. his distinguished record as an american hero during the vietnam war. his long service to the united states in the house and senate, and hissed by for presidency. suffice it to say that senator mccain has always been true to his values, and that has reflected in his friendship for turkey. we are honored to welcome the senator, and to give -- so
please join me in a warm welcome for senator mccain. [ applause ] >> thank you, wendy, for the kind introduction, and you had to mention that i ran for president, i guess. i often say after i lost i slept a baby. sleep two hours, wake up and cry. sleep two hours, wake up and cry. thank you for that kind introduction for your leadership of the middle east institute, your many years of service in our diplomatic core. i've had the great honor of knowing many members of the diplomatic core. wendy chamberlin is one of the most outstanding and remarkable people that i have had the opportunity of dealing with. let me also thank ambassador tan, the turkish government, and our many guests for turkey for their generous support of this conference. i'm grateful that wendy and the
middle east institute would think to invite me, a member of congress to speak with you this morning. most americans no longer care what we in congress have to say. last time i checked approval rating of congress was 11%. we are down to blood relatives and paid staffers. i'm not so sure anymore about paid staffers. our thoughts and prayers are with the pilots and their families. rk all of us are praying for the rescue and safe return. this was an unnecessary and unacceptable act of aggression. as tensions between turkey and syria continue to rise, the
turkish government and people must know that their american ally stands firmly with them. i often talk about my lifelong affinity for turkey and my abiding belief in the central role in history. i remember as a young man studying the epic history. the empire and founding of modern turkey. i remember how learning one of the turkish units fought to repel the chinese invasion, and that man was ordered to surrender so he could tell his countrymen about the heroism of his comrades.
throughout my involvement, i can not recall a more dynamic time until now. times of significant change within turkey and techtonic shifts. both are casting our alliance our alliance in a new light. there's been a lot of debates about what the changes in turkey mean. it's turning its back on the west in favor of the east. and u.s. turkish cooperation is being placed by a more tense rivalry. some commentators have asked, quote, who lost turkey? much of the recent debate has missed the point. it tends to rowmanticize the past. turkey is changing and the nature of our alliance is changing with it.
nonetheless, there's ever reason to believe that these changes can mostly be, and should be for the better. indeed, we now have an opportunity to fundamentally transform our alliance, to make it broader, deeper, more durable, and more relevant. in short, to make it one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. for both our countries. no one should expect this to be easy. it won't be. nor does it mean we will cease to have our disagreements. these will persist. but if we remain guided by a few core principles, we can succeed in transforming our alliance. one of those is the united states and turkey need to deal with each other realistically, talk with each other honestly and build trust. this should begin with us in the united states. we need to realize that the u.s.-turkey alliance does not consistent of americans giving orders and turks getting in
line, and to the extent that we have acted this way in the past, it might explain why many turks still feel our country would distrust and even distaste. we also need to realize our alliance with turkey, like other relationships that we value most, should not be reduced to the one dimensional perspectives of domestic special interests, as worthy as they may be. but perhaps most importantly, we americans need to realize that we are now dealing with a different turkey. over the past decade, turkey's democracy has become more inclusive and representative of turkish society as a whole, including citizens who want greater freedom to express their identity as muslims. as a result, turkey is defining a new balance between the islamic and secular heritages, and between the authority of elected civilian leaders, and the military's historic role in
political life. america should not vuz either of these developments as inherently bad. at the same time, the turkish economy has experienced a decade of strong growth, which has fueled an emerging middle class. catapulted turkey under elite global decision makers, and inspired a more confident turkish foreign policy. these sit side by side with more troubling ones. it's widely reported there are more journalists in jail in turkey than in any other country, and that intimidation of the media is a persistent problem. the ongoing detention and prosecution of military officers have raised suspicions that many of these actions are politically motivated. which has cast the liberal tendencies of some turkish
leaders in a more disturbing light. the deterioration cannot serve a responsible interest, and it's especially painful for us as we count both israel and turkey as vital allies. i take no pleasure in raising issues such as these. and i do so not as an enemy of turkey, but one of the strongest and most enduring friends. who believes it's through a candid exchange of views that we will build trust and make the most of this opportunity to transform our alliance. if we are not open and honest with one another, especially where we differ, if leaders in both of our countries do not defend the alliance and explain the new importance to our publics, even when it may be unpopular to do so, we will be consumed by fruitless introspection, rather than directing our energies outward
to advance our common interest and values. we must deal with each other realistically. but we must do more than that. america does not fear the growth of turkish power, nor do we seek to limit it. to the contrary, we have a major stake? turkey's success, and we want to enhance it. politically, economically, and yes, militarily. the more capable, more active, and more influential turkey with which we share values is a benefit to america's national interest. and both countries need to invest more ambitiously in this relationship, just as the united states and india have done with each other. one way to do that is by strengthening our common fight against terrorism. especially the pkk.
turkish recent strikes against pkk fighters in iraq. this is one indication of the threat of the terrorist group. that's why senator joe lieberman and i have offered a resolution expressing the -- and urging greater cooperation against the financing and propaganda efforts. as well as greater u.s. intelligence and military support for turkish actions to take senior pkk leaders off the battlefield. such depths could empower turkish leaders who want to express the legitimate demands of turkey's kurdish citizens. as the prime minister has shown a desire to do so. another way to invest in each other's success is through greater trade. and here we need to be much more ambitious. the best way to do so would be to explore the possibility of
negotiating a free trade agreement, more ambitious still would be to join with turkey in constructing a new architecture of open trade to the middle east and north africa, similar to the transpacific partnership. it shouldn't hold us back either. similarly, while our defense remains strong, we now have a huge opportunity to expand it even further. turkey is one of the only member states increasing defense spending. ground, naval, air, intelligence and missile defense. the united states is a natural partner for turkey in the military modernization.
and we should use this to better align our military capabilities to devise a common strategic frame work to guide cooperation between our defense industries. more importantly than how we relate to each other and more important than how we invest in success is how we do together. how we can align our great power in pursuit of common goals. not just to responding to events in europe, the middle east, north africa and central asia, but leading and shaping those events for the better. in accord with our shared interests and values. it's certainly true that a more powerful turkey is more able and willing to go its own way when its national interest demand. but what is equally true and far more important is that the interest and values of a rising democratic turkey are increasingly in alignment with ours.
this is evident in our cooperation on missile defense, our major contributions together in afghanistan, and our closely coordinated efforts in response to the revolutionary changes sweeping the broader middle east. it's a division of democracy, individual rights, opportunity, and the rule of law. a vision most importantly that we share with the vast majority of people from north africa to central asia. our ability to translate this common vision into action is being tested. it's being tested across the region. but nowhere more than syria. it's now believed that now more than 12,000 lives have been lost. and still assad escalates the
violence. going from infantry and snipers to tanks and artillery to unleashing plain-thugged clothes to produce mass atrocities. syria's recent attack on a turkish fighter jet fits into this troubling pattern of escalation. all the while, assad's slaughter is being enabled by russia, and iranian weapons, and there are even reports of iranian operatives on the ground in syria. clearly, this is not a fair fight. we visited a camp in syria, whose population, by the way, has since doubled. i have seen my share of suffering and death. men who lost all their children. women and girls who had been gang raped. children who had been tortured.
and none of this -- none of this was a random act of cruelty that sadly occurred in war. syrian army defectors told us that killing and rape and torture is what they were instructed to do as a tool of terror and rape and torture and intimidation. so if i get a little emotional when i talk about syria, that's why. the conflict in syria is becoming a strategic threat to turkey. the country is already facing massive floes of refugees, and it's welcoming them by the thousands. turkish pilots shot down over
the waters. and the longer the conflict grinds on, the worse it gets. the more al qaeda gains influence, the more the syrian state disintegrates and the more turkey is faced with violent chaos on the border. the united states needs to help end the conflict in syria as soon as possible. not just because it's the right thing to do and it will be a strategic defeat for iran. but because it can help to consolidate a new relationship with turkey. it can somehow the turkish people and government that america is willing to take risks for the sake of their security and invest in their success. and we're not an unreliable partner or declining power, as some in turkey allege. we cannot afford to squander this opportunity. the conflict in syria is but one
part of a larger story now unfolding across north africa, the middle east, and central asia. it is a story of struggle by people throughout this region to reconcile islam with democratic politics, and a secular state. to subordinate the power of armed groups and military forces,ed civilian authorities. to resolve through politics, not violence. to balance the dynamism of free markets with popular demands for equitable economic development and to do all of this while waging a broader struggle against the subversive visions of iran. turkey is now an epic player in this story. as i travel through the region again and again and how much they wish to emulate it in their
country. modern turkey has never had greater influence to shape the development of the region, and with that power comes a greater responsibility. responsibility to lead by example. more and more people in north africa, the middle east and central asia are now looking to turkey for lessons to guide their own struggles for justice. it is minorities, religious liber liberty, intolerance, freedom for journalists, relations with neighbors, and the integrity of democratic institutions. in short, turkey's ability to set the highest standards of democratic development has never been more critical. it's this simple, my friends. if the broader middle east is more by peace and war, my by prosperity than misery.
more by freedom than tyranny, i believe future historians will look back and point to the fact that two of the world's preimminent powers, turkey and the united states transform their long standing alliance to address the new realities of the 21st century. if we keep this vision of our relationship always uppermost in our minds, there is no dispute we cannot resolve, no investments we cannot make in each other's success, and nothing we cannot accomplish together. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> nart mccain, that was inspiring. i'm sure there will be a lot of questions. we have microphones that the interns will bring to you.
>> the debacle with the goldman sachs recently, it showed that the measures of frank-dodd bill will not be sufficient to -- off a new bubble. now is the time to begin discussing the reinstalling glass eagle to prevent a hyper inflationary blowout. there are now 70 sponsors to that in the house. there must also be motion in the senate. this week is very important, as you know. there's pressure on germany to start to reinflate the european economy, geithner is also discussing, according to reports, given support to lead to a hyper inflated bubble. the glass eagle could stop that if congress that has the will and the courage to do that.