Foreign Minister Ismail Cem
Media Availability After Meeting With the Prime Minister
Ankara, Turkey
September 13, 2001

We have made an evaluation with the Prime Minister. This last painful incident is not one directed solely against the United States. This is murder committed against all humanity. We have felt the anguish of the American people in our hearts and will naturally do our share to ensure that the perpetrators do not get away with what they have done. We have not forgotten the support lent to us by the United States when we were targeted by essentially similar attacks.

We are in a new environment in the wake of this incident. The balances in our region and in the world are evolving. Within this evolution, Turkey will naturally take the steps to the benefit of her people and humanity. We will obviously not let our values be destroyed. We will not be intimidated and will fully discharge our duties towards our own people, the people of the region and humanity.

In this vein, the decision taken yesterday by NATO, the decision to now invoke Article 5 against terrorist attacks, reflects and attitude we have long been defending and articulated in NATO meetings, and see this result as being to the benefit of the people of Turkey, of NATO and of all nations throughout the world.

Security comes before all else, and the security of our country and our people under the new circumstances are of prime importance. We are fully cognizant of this fact. We believe that coordination, consultation and dialogue among ourselves will be most beneficial. With this understanding, we have had a very fruitful meeting at our Ministry with the representatives of the General Staff. We deem coordination and solidarity within the state apparatus as an indispensable precondition to weather this apparently difficult period with the least turbulance and in the most correct fashion.

These difficult days, this crisis, is in essence a fight between democracy and terrorism. It is a struggle between rationalism and fanaticism. As Turkey, we believe that our side will emerge victorious from this struggle. We are also against those who want to move this struggle to some other framework through erroneous interpretations and actions. Turkey is naturally the foremost opponent of those who want to portray this as a clash of religions, a clash between two religions or different cultures. To add any religion as a prefix to terrorism is the greatest disrespect to all religions. There can be no Islamic, Christian or Jewish terrorism, and we are openly conveying our thoughts in this regard to all friendly and concerned countries. We are asking them to also disseminate the correct messages so that people are not misled.

As Turkey, as Turkish foreign policy, we are as always determined, convinced. We are and will continue to affect the course of events in a manner positive for the interests and future of our country and people.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Has the U.S. asked for any material or moral support from Turkey?

FOREIGN MINISTER CEM: Our contacts with the U.S. are continuing. In light of Turkey’s particularities, we are in close contact with not only the U.S., but all concerned countries. In terms of culture, history and present, Turkey has serious connections with the geographies that have been brought to the fore. We are continuing to do whatever we can for our people, for the region and for humanity.

Thank you.