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Obama ends Turkey visit with pitch for Mideast peace

Latest update : 2009-04-07

At his last official event in Turkey, US President Barack Obama told a gathering of students he was committed to opening a new chapter in US relations with the Muslim world and backed the two-state solution to the Mideast crisis.

REUTERS - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he believed peace in the Middle East was possible, but added Israelis and Palestinians must make compromises.


Obama, who is in Turkey to repair America's ties with the Muslim world, hammered home his support for the creation of a Palestinian state, as he aims to change a perception among Muslims that Washington backs Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.


"I believe that peace in the Middle East is possible. I think it will be based on two states side by side," Obama told a students meeting in Istanbul at the end of a two-day visit to Turkey.


"I think we have a sense of what those compromises should be and will be. Now what we need is political will and courage on the part of leadership," Obama said.


Obama, on the last leg of his debut on the world stage, has used his visit in Ankara and Istanbul to reiterate the U.S. position of a two-state solution after rightist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took power and formed a new government.


The Muslim world had accused Obama's predecessor George W. Bush of bias in favour of Israel. Obama is trying to rebuild ties with Muslims after anger at the invasion of Iraq and war in Afghanistan.


On Monday, Obama told Turkey's parliament the United States strongly supported the aim of setting up a Palestinian state living "side by side" and at peace with Israel.

Date created : 2009-04-07