ISTANBUL - U.S. President Barack Obama’s planned visit to Turkey next month reveals Turkey could be a central actor in Washington’s new diplomatic approach to the Middle East, foreign media reports suggested.
"The decision reflects the moderate Muslim nation's central place in Obama's emerging diplomatic approach to the Islamic world. The trip will partly fulfill Obama's pledge to engage Islamic countries in a substantive way within his first 100 days in office," wrote the Washington Post.
Although the president is not expected to use the visit to deliver an address on Islam, which White House officials indicated he has promised to give in a Muslim capital, "the symbolism of the backdrop of the Bosphorus, which divides Europe from Asia, could prove difficult to resist," the article read.
"Turkey's place on Obama’s itinerary gives the administration more time to prepare the Muslim speech as Obama begins new diplomatic efforts with Syria and Iran," wrote the daily. By concluding his trip in Turkey, "Obama is seeking to highlight the country’s importance as a growing market, military ally, and key player in securing oil and future natural gas from the Caspian region," wrote the Washington Post.
Obama’s choice of Turkey for a first visit "signals the importance the U.S. attaches to strengthening ties with a NATO ally that it may soon call on for help in its military exit from Iraq or greater support in Afghanistan," wrote the Financial Times.