On December 1, 2018, George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, died at the age of 94. He leaves behind a legacy of excellent service to his nation, and a President who devoted much of his term and career in public service to the advancement of United States foreign affairs. During his time in office, Bush said “International exchanges are not a great tide to sweep away all differences, but they will slowly wear away at the obstacles to peace as surely as water wears away a hard stone.”
President Bush supported strong and productive relations with Turkey, including a strong opposition to terrorist elements in the region, including the PKK and its Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian affiliates.
President Bush held close relations with Turkish President Turgut Özal through the Gulf War and Cold War, and visited Istanbul and Ankara in July 1991.
Throughout his life, President Bush commended the United States partnership with Turkey, which provides NATO's second largest military and the Adana Incirlik Airbase for U.S. access to the region, commanded NATO forces in Afghanistan, and served major humanitarian missions in the region, including accepting over 1 million Kurdish refugees during the U.S. backed Iraq war against Iran (1980-1988), 1st Iraq War (“Gulf War” / 1990-91), Iraqi Kurdish Uprising (1995-96), 2nd Iraq War (1998), 3rd Iraq War (2003-2011), 4th Iraq War (2014-2017). In 1993, President Bush visited Somalia; the second Western leader to visit Somalia was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2011.
Before his time in politics, George H.W. Bush served his country in World War II, almost costing him his life, when his plane was shot down near Japan. Miraculously, a U.S. submarine saved him after over four hours in a life raft.
Expressed best by former President Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush will be remembered as a “patriot and humble servant” who was a “testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling.”