James Zogby on End of Obama Trip: Aimed at Turkey, Not Arab World

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 7, 2009 2:39pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein: Arab American Institute President James Zogby was our guest today on “Top Line,” and he made an interesting point in describing President Obama’s stops in Turkey as distinct from an appearance designed to appeal to the broader Muslim world. “Well, it wasn’t a message directed at the Arab world. It actually was a message for Turkey,” Zogby told us. “I think that there was an effort to communicate to the Muslim world as well, but this I don’t believe was the long-awaited speech to the Muslim world.” “Turkey is in a precarious position. It’s on the hinge of two continents. It is playing a critical role in Middle East peace. It is deeply affected by the war in Iraq. It also wants entry into Europe and is being rebuffed by the French, and there are millions of Turkish immigrants in Europe who are treated rather badly. President Obama is sending a message that Turkey is important, plays a critical role as a very valuable U.S. ally, and he wants respect for Turkey, and he wants Turkey to know that the U.S. respects it, and the partnership that we have on so many issues is one that he wants to reinforce. The fact that Turkey is a Muslim country, albeit a secular political institution in Turkey that is edgy about its Islamic identity is simply allowing him an opportunity to speak to that question, but that I don’t think is the speech to Muslims or to the Arabs.  It’s a message really to Turkey.” Of the broader message, Zogby said: “He is turning the chapter from George Bush. He is making it clear in subtle and not so subtle ways that this is a new chapter in American relations with allies and with adversaries alike, and so this thematic was no different than that in France or that in Prague or that even at the meetings in London with the G20.  America is in a listening mode, a communicating mode. You can’t hear the other side if you don’t listen. They won’t hear you rather if you don’t listen to them first. That’s the message I think he’s sending.” Also on the program, we chatted with GOP strategist Kevin Madden — who had a pretty good explanation for why it’ll run you $250 to get Mitt Romney’s autograph on a baseball, when AL MVP Dustin Pedroia’s can be had for half that on eBay.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus