Whirling president

Okay, so the man who turned Hillary is now turning Turkey on its axis. No surprise. Obama overthrew Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton only to pivot her to his side Lincoln-style as his Secretary of State. Now, after charming grumbling heads of state in the EU, he manages to steer Turks 180 degrees with his winning ways.

How does he manage this people magic? Consult columnist extraordinaire Maureen Dowd:

Like a good shrink, the president listens; it’s a way of flattering his subjects and sussing them out without having to fathom what’s in their soul. “It is easy to talk to him,” Dmitri Medvedev said after their meeting. “He can listen.” The Russian president called the American one “my new comrade.”

And, good evidence from Asli Aydintasbas, former Ankara bureau chief of the newspaper Sabah, writing today in an op-ed piece in The New York Times:

Mr. Obama’s visit to Ankara was a carefully calibrated series of messages and symbolic gestures that spoke to Turkey’s different segments. He met with the government leadership as well as opposition leaders from secular, nationalist and Kurdish parties. He pledged to support “Ataturk’s vision of Turkey as a modern and prosperous democracy,” as he wrote in the guestbook at the mausoleum of the founder of secular Turkey.

In our eternal identity crisis, we Turks have lately been thinking only in opposites — that you are either secular or religious, Kurd or Turk, European or Middle Eastern. It took a young foreign leader on his first visit here to remind us that we are all of those things, and much more.

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