Office of the Press Secretary
(Istanbul, Turkey)

For Immediate Release Tuesday, November 16, 1999


(Izmit, Turkey)

12:10 P.M. (L)

THE PRESIDENT: Thanking for making us feel so welcome. I want to especially thank the governor, the mayor, the deputy governors who went on tour. (Applause.) I want to thank the Yoldas family and the other families who took us into their tents and gave us a feeling for what your lives are like here. (Applause.)

I want to thank the teachers and the students who took us into the schools. (Applause.) I want to thank the children who sang us songs and gave us their posters and gave us their little work of clay. (Applause.) I want to thank all of you who have worked hard to clear away the remaining damage done by the earthquake and to begin the process of rebuilding.

I know this is a time of great uncertainty for you, especially since another earthquake just hit not too far from here. I want you to know that most of the tents that you are staying in here came from the United States; and we have sent 500 more winterized tents to that province, to help the people who have been made homeless by the earthquake there. (Applause.)

We are also working hard to help the reconstruction process and help Turkey's businesses get back in business. We want everyone to be able to go back to work as soon as possible. (Applause.)

The one thing I would like to say today -- I know I speak for my wife and my daughter -- is that we were very, very moved by having family contact with other families. And we could imagine what our lives would be like if such a thing were to happen to us, as we have seen it happen to families in the United States. (Applause.)

We were so impressed that a total of 87 other countries came forward to help the people of Turkey who were hurt in the earthquake. And we were very grateful that one of the countries that came forward to help was your neighbor, Greece. (Applause.) And then, when the Greeks had their earthquake, the Turkish people came forward to help them. (Applause.)

I hope the ordinary people in Greece and Turkey who have suffered from these terrible natural disasters can send a clear message to the leaders that the people of this region can get along, and they should get along, and when they do get along, our children's lives and futures are better. (Applause.)

Now, in the meanwhile, I want you to know that we in the United States will do everything we can to help you until your lives return to normal. And we will help those people in the area hit by the most recent earthquake. We will stay with you and work with you. And I just want to urge you to keep your spirits up, keep the smiles on your children's faces, keep helping the people who lost their loved ones in the earthquake, and know that together we will get through this to better days.

Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)

END 12:14 P.M. (L)

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