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article imageU.S. Secretary of State Kerry in Turkey

By Lonna Lisa Williams     Mar 2, 2013 in World
Ankara - During his first official visit overseas, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Turkish leaders and honored a fallen Turkish hero at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on his first official overseas visit, arrived in Turkey on March 1. Before leaving Turkey just one day later, Kerry met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and President Abdullah Gül. He discussed the Syrian crisis, the need to work together with Turkey to combat terrorism, and Prime Minister Erdoğan's recent statement that "Zionism is a crime against humanity," which Kerry found "objectionable."
Secretary Kerry also took time to visit the U.S. Embassy in Ankara which was attacked by a suicide bomber on February 1. A Turkish guard, Mustafa Akarsu, was killed in that attack when he tried to stop the bomber from entering an embassy checkpoint. At a ceremony which included embassy staff and members of Akarsu's family, Kerry presented widow Yasemin and children Sami and Hilal with the Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service.
Kerry spoke to the teary assembly: “in the words of the Bible, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' Mustafa laid down his life for all of us. He guarded these gates for more than 20 years. But he didn’t just stand guard; he stood tall, taking pride in his work for the people of Turkey and the people of the United States. And when the menace of terrorism came to these gates, Mustafa didn’t hesitate for a moment. He and his fellow guards acted heroically, saving lives with quickness and with bravery."
A U.S. marine then gave the Akarsu family the U.S. flag that was flying over the embassy on the day of the attack.
Kerry declared, "I have carried the memory of that courage with me in every embassy I’ve walked into since, and I will in the days ahead."
This reporter hopes that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's term in office will continue in the strong and humane way it has begun.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry honors fallen Turkish guard Mustafa Akarsu at the U.S. Embassy in...
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry honors fallen Turkish guard Mustafa Akarsu at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara
U.S. Embassy Ankara
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara
u.s. embassy ankara
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Hilal Akarsu  daughter of fallen guard Mustafa ...
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Hilal Akarsu, daughter of fallen guard Mustafa Akarsu
u.s. embassy ankara
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives an award to Hilal and Sami Akarsu  children of fallen secur...
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives an award to Hilal and Sami Akarsu, children of fallen security guard Mustafa Akarsu
U.S. Department of State Official Blog
Mustafa Akarsu  the Turkish security guard killed in the U.S. Embassy attack
Mustafa Akarsu, the Turkish security guard killed in the U.S. Embassy attack
Hurriyet
The Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service
The Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service
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