The World's Aaron Schachter reports on President Obama's positive image in Turkey. The president's visit to Turkey ended earlier today.
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LISA MULLINS: Mr. Obama arrived in Baghdad after a visit to Turkey. The Turkey trip topped off a European tour that's been marked by generally favorable reviews. As The World's Aaron Schachter reports, even prior his visit, Mr. Obama had a positive image in Turkey.
AARON SCHACHTER: Well, before he arrived here, Obama's image was everywhere: on TV and billboards, hawking a local bank.
OBAMA: I am sorry. I am truly very sorry.
SCHACHTER: At an apparent White House news conference, an Obama doppelganger apologizes for not coming up with an economic package like that of Garanti Bank.
OBAMA: I wish we had it, but it is a bank in Turkey that did it. It is Garanti. I wish we had Garanti in America.
SCHACHTER: In fact the President drove right by an image of himself at Garanti Bank in Istanbul's financial district. Everybody knows this isn't the real guy,â€ says Ramazan Barachik. â€œYou think Obama has solved all the problems in America and has nothing better to do with his time than be in an advertisement? Come on.â€ â€œCould someone ever make a poster like this with your president or Prime Minister? â€œ
BARACHIK: Tsk. No. It doesn't work here.
SCHACHTER: You may have missed that. TSK is basically a regional way of saying â€œno way.â€ Barachik says President Obama seems to have a sense of humor and ease about him that's unique among politicians. Barachik says, â€œObama is very likeable. He smiles a lot and his charm seems really natural.â€ He says, â€œObservers might have noticed that people lined the streets to greet him. It's the first time ever that people have greeted an American president this way,â€ says Barachik. â€œAnd that's precisely why the ad agency Halimaktifarika, created this campaign,â€ says copywriter John Chelilek. He says, â€œThe US President is a good marketing tool because Turks know who he is, and they have a sense of him being a good guy.â€
JOHN CHELILEK: You'd be surprised how well Turks know about the US President. I don't think anyone would, you know, know Obama any less than they do their own political leaders. Speaking today to a group of college students, President Obama played upon the good feelings he's generated, and the position he believes Turkey can play in the world.
OBAMA: The world will be what you make of it. You can choose to build new bridges instead of building new walls. You can choose to put aside long-standing divisions in pursuit of lasting peace. You can choose to advance a prosperity that is shared by all people and not just the wealthy few. And I want you to know that in these endeavors you will find a supporter and a partner and a friend in the United States of America.
SCHACHTER: The President asked the students not to believe the negative hype about America that they might have seen on TV or in movies. They, in turn, asked him about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about Turkey, and the European Union, and about climate change, and also whether there was any real difference between him and his predecessor, George W. Bush. The President's every move was covered in Turkey's media. After racing out of town in a motorcade, Mr. Obama waited on the tarmac in Air Force One, which gave state radio some time to opine on how the trip went. The host made a point of referring to the President as Barack Hussein Obama. She said, â€œThe visit was an important one. Everything the President said or did made news.â€ And Turkish papers on the right and left said he repaired relations that have been damaged for 8 years. For The World, I'm Aaron Schachter, in Istanbul.