Source: Zaman Daily Newspaper
On June 29, 2004 Zaman Daily Newspaper reported, "US President George W. Bush met with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday and impressed upon Sezer the importance of maintaining the tradition of religious freedom by citing examples from Turkish history. Bush stressed that he knew about Turkey's religious diversity and the importance of maintaining it. He said that people need to be able to practice their beliefs freely, and he reminded Sezer that the European Union (EU) demanded this from Turkey as well. An American official pointed out that Bush and Sezer discussed the possibility of Turkey being a model for countries in the Middle East. 'President Sezer said that Turkey is a secular democracy and, although it has a Muslim population, it is unacceptable to call it an Islamic State or Islamic Republic,' explained the official."