The young, well-educated, secular Turkish woman who hated Bush had never heard of the presidential candidate Barack Obama. I told her Obama was black and his middle name was Hussein. "Really?" she said, raising her eyebrows on cue. She understood why these tiny facts made an American curious about a Turk's opinion of Obama, and she smiled politely.
"Is he a good person?" she finally said.
In June, a Pew poll found that out of 47 countries, Turks had the least favorable view of the United States. This must have been confusing news to Americans who heard it: Isn't Turkey our ally? What did we do to them? Didn't we do much more terrible things to other countries? And what would it take to change their minds?