On the streets of Istanbul people were fascinated with all aspects of the presidential visit. Many voiced hope that US-Turkish relations would quickly improve, as well as expressed pride in the fact that Obama opted to visit Turkey so early in his presidency.
On foreign policy matters, questions of Middle East peace seem always to be in the forefront of Turks' minds. From 2001-2008, when George W. Bush occupied the White House, public opinion in Turkey grew steadily more hostile toward the United States, fuelled by Bush administration unilateralism. But Obama, with one visit, appeared to erase much of the ill-will. Whereas just a few months ago, many Turks would have said that it would be better if the United States played a lower profile role in the Middle East, now most seem to want Washington to remain closely involved in the peace process.
There are some Turks who expressed anger at the visiting US president, but most of those who are dissatisfied appear to be angry with Obama more because of the country he represents than with his personal political philosophy.
Most Turks were especially reassured to hear Obama say that US relations with the Muslim world "is critical not just in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject, but also to strengthen opportunity for all its people."
Jonathan Lewis is a freelance reporter and photographer based in Istanbul.