Obama to meet religious leader in Istanbul

Obama to meet religious leader in Istanbul

Ankara - US President Barack Obama was set to meet religious leaders in Istanbul on Tuesday on the second day of a visit to Turkey coloured by attempts to repair frayed ties with both Turkey and the wider Muslim world.

A major focus of the trip is to undo some of the damage incurred on those relations by the policies of the George W Bush administration.

Obama was to hold a private meeting with Muslim, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Jewish religious leaders before heading for a tour of some of Istanbul's most popular tourist and religious sites: the Hagia Sophia, a former basilica turned mosque that is now a museum, and the nearby Blue Mosque.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will accompany Obama on the tour.

In the afternoon, Obama is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting with a specially selected group of university students before departing Istanbul for Washington.

On Monday, Obama spoke to the Turkish parliament in Ankara where he stressed that the United States was "not at war with Islam" and said that force alone was not enough to deal with extremism.

Obama's visit to Turkey fulfilled an administration promise to visit a Muslim country within his first 100 days in office. (dpa)

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