Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 453) condemning the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Turkey, on November 15, 2003, expressing condolences to the families of the individuals murdered and expressing sympathies to the individuals injured in the terrorist attacks, and standing in solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism, as amended.
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, the resolution before us condemns the terrorist attacks in Istanbul last Saturday as well as yesterday morning. I want to thank the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings), my friend, for proffering this resolution and for the prompt consideration that is being given to it by our leadership in scheduling it very quickly before the body today.
This resolution conveys our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families and states that the United States stands in solidarity with the Turkish people in the fight against terrorism. These attacks, Madam Speaker, bear all the hallmarks of al Qaeda, and that terrorist group has claimed responsibility for these cruel and cowardly acts.
This demonstrates, once again, that the target of global terrorists is not just the United States of America, but all those who reject their hateful vision of a clash of civilizations and governments by religious extremism. [Page: H12134]
I thought President Bush in the United Kingdom the other day said it so well when he said, ``I want to express my deep sympathy for the loss of life in Turkey. The nature of the terrorist enemy is evident once again. We see their contempt, their utter contempt, for innocent life. They hate freedom,'' the President went on. ``They hate free nations. Today, once again, we saw their ambitions of murder. The cruelty is part of their strategy. The terrorists hope to intimidate; they hope to demoralize.
They particularly want to intimidate and demoralize free nations. They're not going to succeed.''
Madam Speaker, despite some significant human rights issues, and no one has been more of a critic of Turkey than I have in the past, although they are making some progress, despite all of that, Turkey remains one of the few successful democracies in the Muslim world, with a tradition of religious tolerance. The Turkish Republic is an example of how a predominantly Muslim country can enjoy a secular, democratic government. Turkey has shown that the Islamic faith of its citizens and a secular democracy
can flourish side by side.
By targeting synagogues and Turkish citizens of the Jewish faith on Saturday, the terrorists attacked the notion that Muslims can live in peace and harmony with other faiths. It was a profoundly anti-Semitic act. The terrorists know that the successful example of Turkey lays bear the emptiness of their own hateful vision. It is working in Turkey, and yet now they are trying to give a different impression to the world.
By targeting the British Consulate General and a leading British bank, these terrorists viciously illustrated that all of our allies and their targets must remain united with our allies in the fight against terrorism.
Madam Speaker, these contemptible acts killed almost 50 people, including the British Consul General in Istanbul, and injured more than 750 innocent people. Our deepest condolences go out to their families and to their nations.
Turkey has been a strong American ally, as we all know, the underbelly of NATO for more than 50 years. By agreeing to this resolution, we affirm our mutual commitment to that common defense.
I would remind my colleagues that after the September 11 of 2001 attacks, NATO invoked its collective defense clause, declaring that the al Qaeda attacks in the United States were attacks against the entire alliance.
I thought British Prime Minister Tony Blair summed it up very well when he said, ``And when they say is this an attack directed against our alliance, indeed, it is directed against anybody who stands in the way of that fanaticism'' he went on to say, ``That is why our response has got to be to say to them as clearly as we possibly can, you are not going to defeat us because our will to defend what we believe is, in actuality, and in the end, stronger, better, more determined than your will to
inflict damage on innocent people.''
Madam Speaker, let me conclude by saying this: Turkey and the United Kingdom both played important roles to drive al Qaeda from its base in Afghanistan and to replace the Taliban government that harbored those terrorists. They were the first two countries to command the International Security Assistance Force, which has stabilized the Kabul region and supported the Karzai government. Turkey and the United Kingdom stood by the United States when our Nation was the target of global terrorism. By
passing this timely resolution today in a bipartisan way, Democrats, Republicans, moderates, liberals and conservatives, we affirm our determination to stand by our longtime allies and to defeat the terrorists who bear the guilt for these highly reprehensible acts.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. LANTOS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I am strongly in support of this resolution.
First, let me pay tribute to my dear friend, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings), for initiating this important legislation and to recognize the contributions of my friends, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Wexler) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith). I particularly want to thank the gentleman from Illinois (Chairman Hyde) for being so gracious late yesterday afternoon in expediting the handling of this legislation.
Madam Speaker, at least 50 people are dead and over 700 are injured in a sickening and appalling wave of suicide bombings in Istanbul over this past week. The attacks targeted Jewish places of worship and British governmental and business institutions; but the overwhelming majority of the victims are Muslim Turks, proof positive of the total cynicism and utter phoniness of these so-called Islamist assassins.
This is not just a war on the Jews, though it is also that. It is not just a war on the British or on our own country, although it is that. It is a war on the entire civilized and democratic world and its values. It is now clear that al Qaeda and its Turkish supporters have declared war on the democratic Republic of Turkey as part of that overall assault. Al Qaeda recognizes that the existence of Turkey, 99 percent Muslim, pro-Western, a secular democracy on the frontiers of the Western world,
makes a mockery of al Qaeda's religious extremism. These terrorists want to roll back Western values by destabilizing and destroying Turkish democracy.
Madam Speaker, the Turkish Government has behaved admirably in this dark hour. It condemned the action and it vowed to catch the perpetrators, and I have no doubt that they shall. Now, the hard work of finding these terrorists, destroying their cells, and preventing future attacks begins.
The Turkish Government and the Turkish people should know that the American people will be steadfast in our support of them in this dark hour. All civilized nations must do likewise. The Turkish Interior Minister is correct to dismiss what he calls the crocodile tears of those who express condolences, but do nothing to fight terrorism.
Madam Speaker, we mourn the deaths, we pray for the wounded, and our hearts go out to the families of all of the victims. And to all the citizens of Istanbul and all of Turkey whose lives have been so brutally violated, let us honor them by joining with Turkey and with all who believe in freedom to fight the extremist criminals who want to end our way of life. They will fail and we shall prevail. I strongly support this resolution, and I urge all of my colleagues to do likewise.
Madam Speaker, I am delighted to yield 6 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings), my good friend and the author of this resolution.
Mr. LANTOS. Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Nevada (Ms. Berkley), a distinguished member of the Committee on International Relations and a steadfast fighter against global terrorism.
Ms. BERKLEY. Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) for giving me the opportunity to speak and share my thoughts with my colleagues, and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for being stellar on this issue.
I rise today, Madam Speaker, in strong support of House Resolution 453, condemning the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Turkey, on November 15 of this year and expressing my sincerest condolences to the victims and their families.
This past Saturday, as they gathered together to observe the holy Sabbath, two explosions devastated the Jewish community in Istanbul, Turkey. The first occurred at the city's largest synagogue and symbolic center to the city's 25,000-member Jewish community and the second at Beth Israel synagogue about three miles away.
More than 20 people lost their lives and more than 300 were injured as terrorism, yet again, tore the fabric of civilized society and shattered innocent lives. Most of those killed in the blasts, ironically, were Muslim Turks who lived or worked near the synagogues who were passing by when the bombs exploded. This is not the first time that al-Qaeda has targeted the Jewish institutions. In 2002, they killed 12 people in an attack at a synagogue in Tunisia.
The Turkish Government immediately condemned the terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms and I am pleased that the Turkish people have reacted in strong solidarity with the Nation's small and long-established Jewish community.
Madam Speaker, as a youngster growing up in Las Vegas, I belonged to the Jewish youth groups, and occasionally the Anti-Defamation League would bring in films of the liberation of the concentration camps in World War II. I cannot minimize the impact of those films and their impact on my life then and now. And I would sit there and watch the films and ask myself how could one human being do such a horrific thing to another, and how is it that more people throughout the world did not stand up and
vilify this horrific act.
I am here in the United States of America because my grandparents walked across Europe in order to come to this country to escape the persecution that 6 million of my fellow Jews were unable to escape in World War II. For me to have the opportunity to be on the floor of the House of Representatives and not condemn this horrific act of terrorism would be a shame and an insult to not only the 20 people that lost their lives recently in Istanbul, but the millions of other people across the world,
Jewish and not Jewish, who have lost their lives senselessly and needlessly to terrorists.
I call upon my colleagues to join us, and vote for this resolution taking a strong stance against bigotry and intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism, violence and terrorism. These are very difficult and challenging times that we are living through. But it is incumbent upon all Americans, we in the House of Representatives leading the way, to stand up and condemn this sort of activity before it becomes pervasive and matter of fact.