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In Turkey, Obama Pleases Both Secular and Religious

By Liz Heron and Utku Cakirozer
President Barack Obama used his visit to Turkey to reach out to the Islamic world, reassuring Muslims that the U.S. is not at war with Islam. But Turkey is a country being pulled in two directions, where a powerful old guard that wants it to be a model of secular democracy bitterly is struggling for dominance with a new political elite that embraces the Muslim faith. A scan of the major Turkish newspapers suggests that Obama was able to please both factions, and improve Turks' opinion of the United States overall.

The top story in Milliyet, a pro-Western newspaper, underlined Obama's statements at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, an army general credited with founding modern, secular Turkey in the 1920s: "I will support Ataturk's modern and democratic Turkey vision."

Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila thinks Obama is moving away from the United States' tendency to see Turkey as a model for moderate Islam. "Obama's stress on Ataturk's legacy of a democratic, secular and powerful Turkey is important evidence that the discourse of moderate Islam has been left behind in the relationship," between the U.S. and Turkey, Bila writes.

In contrast,Islamist newspaper Yeni Safak quotes Obama saying, "I have Muslims in my family" in their top front page headline, and highlights his promise that he will not make war with the Muslim world.

Yeni Safak's prominent columnist Fehmi Koru referred to him proudly as "Barack Hussein Obama," and says the new U.S. president's attitude toward Muslims "seems to give the whole world the opportunity to take a deep breath."

Though the press may not agree on Obama's main message, all say that his presence is going a long way toward improving the average Turk's opinion of America.

Popular Milliyet columnist, Can Dundar, says deep anti-American sentiments in Turkish society are on the wane. "The tide of sympathy toward Obama has shown that Turks don't hold grudges, and that these sentiments were not anti-American, they were anti-Bush."

And in Hurriyet, a mainstream newspaper that appeals to both pro-Western and religious readers, columnist Oktay Eksi thinks, "Obama was successful in maintaining what George W. Bush has destroyed." Noting Obama's pledge that the United States never has and will never make war with the Muslim world, Eksi says, "These words are a sign of the difference, like black and white, between [Obama] and George Bush, who always said 'You are either with us or against us'."

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 7, 2009; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Obama Abroad  
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Comments

According to shari'a, Barack Obama is an apostate deserving the punishment of death.
As son of a Muslim, he has to be a Muslim. There is no choice.

Posted by: rgh34 | April 8, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

JakeD doesn't "hate" anyone, he would never "insult" anyone, he's not a "racist," he is an "Independent," and he is a "Christian."

Of course, he considers himself the only judge of what those words properly mean.

The rest of us look on in awe. Or pity. Perhaps disgust. One of those.

Posted by: nodebris | April 8, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Obama should come back to his muslim roots.

Amend the constitution to recognize sharia.

America can then be save!

Posted by: kighsersose | April 7, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't "hate" anyone, Muslims included (I would have gladly voted for a PRO-LIFE Muslim President), so the answer is no. Good thing to know you couldn't care less about Obama's campaign promises.

Posted by: JakeD | April 7, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse


that's correct, we did.

and practicing diplomacy in the face of a country that you MAY NEED in the future.
(love all their INTERNATIONAL ports in turkey)
is a mighty wonderful thing.

He won again Jakey!!!! And does that make your brother/sister-hating, muslim-hating heart proud?
Now go kick your dog.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 7, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Of course the Turks are happy. We discussed the Armenian "genocide" angle on another thread yesterday:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/04/06/obama_stands_by_views_on_armen.html

Posted by: JakeD | April 7, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a genuine person who can conceive of things from another person's perspective. Bush unfortunately adopted Cheney's might is right attitude and was isolated from the rest of the world. Bush's father figure is isolated and irrelevant in this world today. Even if Obama fails in foreign affairs, Cheney will never be seen as right because Cheney's interpretation of the world was never founded in facts and only in distortions.

Though Obama liberalism may not survive, it will not be supplanted by Cheney-like tyranny.

Posted by: Gator-ron | April 7, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

TIME TO HEED IKE'S FAREWELL WARNING...


The Iraq visit underscores the dichotomy between candidate Obama and President Obama in the handling of the wars in both Iraq
and Afghanistan.


The fear is that Obama has come under the "ambit of suasion" to which all incoming presidents are subjected.


Some might even posit that POTUS is a constant target of "psy ops" (psychological operations) intended to influence his decision-making.


President Obama would be well advised to re-read Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address, in which he warned of the insidious influence of the "military-industrial complex."


His staff should order an independent review of the environment in and around high government officials to ensure that their mood and behavior is not subject to external alteration or manipulation by technological means.

***

"When you see the abuse of power, you've got to speak."

-- VP candidate Joseph Biden, Aug. 27, 2008, Democratic National Convention


***


Bush-Cheney Constitutional Abuses Continue...


THE EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK:

VIOLATING HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS OF INNOCENT BUT 'TARGETED' U.S. CITIZENS...

ON THE STREETS OF NYC, DC, PHILLY, BOSTON...

...AND IN CITIES AND TOWNS ACROSS AMERICA.

And federally-funded programs equip and train the "community gang stalkers" who are terrorizing their neighbors as police look the other way -- destroying their livelihoods and degrading their health with widely-deployed microwave radiation ("directed energy") weapons


A parallel array of federal "programs of personal financial destruction" slowly decimate the family finances of "target" families -- surely a factor in the mortgage meltdown that precipitated the global financial crisis.


When victims complain, they are told there is "nothing to investigate."


True -- because federal and local authorities KNOW ALL ABOUT IT.


Will the national press corps -- and Team Obama -- wake up and realize that democracy and middle-class wealth are being stolen at the GRASSROOTS?


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

http://nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 7, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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