From NBC's Mark Murray
Earlier today, at publication time of our First Thoughts section, we noted that President Obama told the Turkish Parliament that he was committed to renewing the U.S.-Turkey alliance; that his visit to Turkey was sending an important message; that he envisioned Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace; and that two Turks (Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur) have got game in NBA hoops.
But the biggest news from Obama's speech came at the end -- after we had published -- when the president declared that the U.S. will never be at war with Islam. "I know there have been difficulties these last few years. I know that the trust that binds the United States and Turkey has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced," he said. "So let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam."
Obama continued, "I also want to be clear that America's relationship with the Muslim community, the Muslim world, cannot, and will not, just be based upon opposition to terrorism. We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect."
He concluded, "Above all we will demonstrate through actions our commitment to a better future...And when people look back on this time, let it be said of America that we extended the hand of friendship to all people."