President Barack Obama continued his first trip overseas as president Tuesday with remarks at a student roundtable in Istanbul, Turkey, where he promised the world that they would find a partner and a supporter and a friend in the United States of America.
The world will be what you make of it, Obama said. You can choose to build new bridges instead of building new walls.
Obama promised a new chapter of American engagement with the rest of the world, noting that the US will have to show more patience when dealing with other nations.
In defending the US against some of the stereotypes cast against it, including that the US is selfish and crass, Obama said, I'm here to tell you that's not the country I know and not the country I love.
America like every other nation, has made mistakes and has its flaws, but for more than two centuries it has strived to seek a more perfect union, Obama added.
He further stated he is personally committed to a new chapter of American engagement. We can't afford to talk past one another, to focus only on our differences, or to let the walls of mistrust go up around us.
Some people say that maybe I'm being too idealistic, but if we don't try, if we don't reach high, then we won't make any progress.
In discussing specifically the relationship between the US and Turkey, Obama said the two nations have a long history of partnership and cooperation. Exchanges between our two peoples go back over 150 years.
Obama said the US and Turkey have been NATO allies for more than five decades, and that the two countries have deep ties in trade and education, in science and research.
And America is proud, Obama continued, to have many men and women of Turkish origin who have made our country a more dynamic and a more successful place.
He added that, though the two countries have, at times, lost the sense that both of our countries are in this together, he was there to renew that foundation and to build on it.
I believe that we can forge a partnership with Turkey and across the Muslim world on behalf of greater opportunity.
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