White House Statement on the Vice President's Meeting With Minister of Foreign Affairs Ilter Turkmen of Turkey

April 2, 1981

Vice President Bush today met with Ilter Turkmen, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, who has come to the United States at the invitation of Secretary Haig. The meeting included senior officials from both Turkey and the United States Government.

The Vice President and the Foreign Minister reviewed in a cordial way a number of bilateral and international issues. They discussed in particular the need for all NATO allies to continue concerted efforts to enhance their defense posture in response to existing threats in Southwest Asia and Europe. The Vice President also noted with satisfaction Turkish efforts to improve bilateral relations with Greece and Turkish support for the ongoing intercommunal talks on Cyprus.

The Vice President took special note of the excellent state of the Turkish-American relationship and the significance of this year, which marks the centennial of the birth of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

White House Statement About the Centennial Anniversary of the Birth of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey

April 2, 1981

Beginning on May 19, Turkey will launch a year of celebration to commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of the birth of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. Ataturk was a great national leader in times of war and peace. He was, and he remains, first in the hearts of his countrymen. For Turkey and its people, the Ataturk Centennial Year is as important an event as the 1976 Bicentennial was for us.

In observance of this centennial year, events are being planned in the United States and other countries to acknowledge the significance of Ataturk to the Western World. Indeed, the turbulence of our era calls to mind the enduring wisdom of Ataturk's goal -- ``Peace at Home, Peace Abroad.''

The visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Turkmen in this centennial year gives us cause to take note of the great value and importance of Turkish-American relations. The United States of America and the Republic of Turkey have been firm friends and allies for more than a generation. Beginning with Harry Truman, every American President has viewed a strong and stable Turkey as an essential goal of American policy. This is no less the case in the Reagan administration. In recent years, the United States has been working vigorously with other nations to provide Turkey the resources necessary to regain economic health and to meet its important goals as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The United States fully supports the efforts of the Turkish Government to eradicate terrorism and to carry out basic reforms that will assure the long-term stability of Turkish democracy and the well-being of the Turkish people.

In commemorating the Ataturk Centennial, the United States and its people extend best wishes to the Republic of Turkey and its people.