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Presidents Obama, Abdullah Gul Address Turkey-U.S. Relations; Deadly Earthquake in Italy; Michelle Obama's World Debut

Aired April 6, 2009 - 07:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

North Korea is calling its weekend launch -- President Obama is now speaking with the leader of Turkey. He's been in Turkey all morning.

Let's listen in on what he has to say.

ABDULLAH GUL, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): It will not be wrong to say that our discussions began in Strasbourg and the discussions that we began in Strasbourg we continue with them today both during our meeting and then over lunch and -- which looks very beneficial.

At the outset of my remarks, I would like to say that we've heard that there's been an earthquake in Italy, we just heard, and I would like to express our condolences -- my condolences to the people who lost their lives. We share the sorrow of the Italian people.

We are very -- we are very appreciative of the fact that Mr. Obama, after having been elected president, made Turkey one of his stops in his first overseas visit, and we have been very happy with that -- the Turkish people have been very happy with that.

We have had the opportunity to review the strategic dimensions of our relations. Most of our relations seem to be on a military and political dimension, but we are also determined to move forward on the economic dimension of our relations. On the area of technology, we'll continue to support the development of economic and technological cooperation. These are areas which we place importance on.

If we look at Turkish-American issues, we see that the United States is very much interested and must be interested in many important issues around the world as a superpower, and Turkey is an important country in her region and Turkey is very interested in many subjects. So, if we are to make these two separate lists of issues that our countries are interested in, we would see that they are very much alike.

And so, I'm very pleased to say that Turkey and the United States are -- have great understanding for each other and they work in cooperation with each other.

Of course, fighting against terrorism is one of the most important issues for both of the countries and the cooperation that we've had so far will be further developed, and in many geographies from Afghanistan to the Caucuses to the Balkans to the Middle East, we are working together and we are determined to continue to work together.

And the president has also shown great interest to Turkey's relations with the European Union. We appreciate that very much. We thank him very much for his words in that regard. I think that this is -- it has been very beneficial.

I'd like to welcome the president once again and wish him success and peace.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. (INAUDIBLE). And we are grateful to you and your team as well as all the people of Turkey for the extraordinary hospitality that you've extended to us.

As you mentioned, we just heard the news of the earthquake in Italy. And we want to send our condolence to the families there and hope that we are able to get the rescue teams and that we can minimize the damage as much as possible moving forward.

I have now spent a week traveling through Europe. And I've been asked, are you trying to make a statement by ending this week-long trip in Turkey? And the answer is yes. I am trying to make a statement. I'm trying to make a statement about the importance of Turkey not just to the United States but to the world.

This is a country that has been often said lies at the crossroads between east and west. It's a country that possesses an extraordinarily rich heritage, but also represents a blend of those ancient traditions with a modern nation state that respects democracy, respects rule of law, and is striving towards a modern economy.

It is a member of NATO, and it is also a majority Muslim nation, unique in that position, and so as a consequence has insights into a whole host of regional and strategic challenges that we may face. And I've been extraordinarily impressed with President Gul and the quality of his leadership as well as Prime Minister Erdogan. And so, as a consequence, I'm excited about the prospects of us working together.

As the president noted, we had a wide-ranging conversation. We thanked Turkey for its outstanding work in Afghanistan, and we discussed our strategic review. We have a similar perspective in terms of how to move forward. And Turkey's contributions to ISAF (ph) and the overarching effort is going to be critical.

We discussed the progress that's been made in Iraq and how we can continue to build on that progress as the U.S. begins to draw down its troops. Now we talked about Middle East peace and how that can be achieved. And we discussed the need, a shared view for us to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation, not just in the region but around the world.

And as President Gul noted, we also talked about business and commerce because all too often the U.S.-Turkish relationship has been characterized just by military issues, and yet there's enormous possibilities for to us grow the economy and to make sure that trade between our countries and commerce and the lines of communication between our two countries continually strengthen, because we think that that's going to be good for Turkey but it's also going to be good for the United States.

So, we also discussed the issue of terrorism more broadly, and I reiterated my support to make sure that we are supporting Turkey in dealing with the terrorist threats that they may experience.

So overall, it was an extremely productive meeting. And it gives me confidence that moving forward, not only are we going to be able to improve our bilateral relations but as we work together, we're going to be able to, I think, shape a set of strategies that can bridge the divide between the Muslim world and the west, that can make us more prosperous and more secure. And so I'm proud that the United States is a partner with Turkey and we want to build on that partnership in the years to come.

GUL: Thank you.

OBAMA: Thank you.

OK. We were going to call on one.

GUL: One. Yes.

OBAMA: OK. Do you want me to start? Or you...

GUL: You can start, yes.

OBAMA: Christi Parsons (ph), "Chicago Tribune," hometown newspaper.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

As a U.S. senator, you stood with the Armenian-American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide, and you also supported the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. You said as president you would recognize the genocide. And my question for you is have you changed your view and did you ask President Gul to recognize the genocide by name?

OBAMA: Well, my views are on the record and I have not change views. What I have been very encouraged by is news that under President Gul's leadership, you are seeing a series of negotiations, a process in place between Armenia and Turkey to resolve a whole host of long-standing issues including this one.

I want to be as encouraging as possible around those negotiations which are moving forward and could bear fruit very quickly, very soon. And so as a consequence, what I want to do is -- focus on the views of the Turkish and there are many people. If they can move forward and deal with a difficult and tragic history, then I think the entire world should encourage them. And so what I've told the president was I want to be as constructive as possible in moving these issues forward quickly.

And my sense is that they are moving quickly. I don't want to, as the president of the United States, preempt any possible arrangements or announcements that might be made in the near future. I just want to say that we are going to be a partner in working through these issues in such a way that the most important parties, the Turks and the Armenians, are finally coming to terms in a constructive way.

QUESTION: So if I understand you correctly, your view hasn't changed but you'll put in abeyance the issue of whether to use that word in the future?

OBAMA: What I'd like to do is to encourage President Gul to move forward with what have been some very fruitful negotiations. And I'm not interested in the United States in any way tilting these negotiations one way or another while they are having useful discussions.

QUESTION: Thank you.

GUL (through translator): I would like to share my views. Obviously this is a matter which has been discussed at great length. This is not a legal matter or political matter, this is a historical matter dating back to 1915 during the condition of the first World War.

At that time, the Ottoman Empire was at war fighting at four frontiers and therefore, certain of its citizens inside its territories were provoked and struggled afterwards and a lot of people, some people have died. However, it must not be forgotten that there was a great loss, especially by the Muslims, people from the Balkans to the caucuses (ph). Very, very large numbers of Muslim Turks were made homeless, uprooted and they have to move. And during this strife, something was -- something happened there and since that time, it is necessary that people must not have enmity towards each other, must not make an issue.

And obviously, Diaspora (ph) in keeping its identity has brought this to the fore again and again. But if that is the case, there are specialists of this field, there are historians. Let them sit down, let them discuss the issues. We're willing to face up to what has happened. But as politicians and lawmakers, we cannot make up our minds and say this is what's happened.

One cannot say here who is in the right, who is in the wrong. How can parliamentarians, politicians without knowing what really happened to decide on this? Let this -- our offer is that a joint commission be set up and we are willing to open up the Turkish archives to the very, very last book and we have called everybody, Armenian historians, everybody to look at these.

This could be the USA, France, anybody from anywhere in the world. They can join in this joint commission, and we will accept the findings. And we, as Turkey, want good relations with all of our neighbors, including Armenia. Obviously, our relations were almost nonexistent with Armenia. That said, about 700,000 Armenians live and work in Turkey. There are -- there's air traffic between Turkey and Armenia. Of course, we seek to normalize our relations. As the president, Mr. President pointed out, we have started negotiations and we would like a positive outcome to these negotiations.

Obviously, there is a new air in caucuses. We have seen last year how things could get very bad, very, very quickly. But what we would like is Turkey to discuss the issue, to resolve the issues, to have peace, but also by joining Armenia and to work in a positive and constructive light. And we very much hope that all of these will be resolved in due course.

MODERATOR: This is a question to both persons. Sulayman Kutter (ph) is asking the question.

QUESTION (through translator): During the period of Bush, there were difficulties between the relations between Turkey and USA and under your presidency, we have, of course, here in your third month, under your presidency, will your outlook upon Turkish-American relations be different? And how do you see this?

And also, you mentioned that you discussed terrorism issues. Of course, within the Turkish society, there's a high degree of expectation. What kind of concrete steps will be taken by yourself in this regard?

OBAMA: As I mentioned at the outset, I think despite some of the problems that we saw beginning in 2003, that you have seen steady improvement between U.S.-Turkish relations. I don't think they ever deteriorated so far that we ceased to be friends and allies. And what I hope to do is to build on what is already a strong foundation.

As I indicated earlier, commercial ties can be improved. That's an area where I think the president and I share a vision. I think when it comes to our cooperation on terrorism, I've been very clear that DKK (ph) is on our terrorist watch list as a NATO ally of Turkey's. We are very comfortable with providing them the assistance they need to reduce the threat. We have seen that cooperation bear fruit over the last several months.

Over the last year, you've seen a lessening of the attacks that have been taking place. We'll continue to provide that support. And President Gul and I discussed how we can provide additional support on that front. But we have been very clear that terrorism is not acceptable in any circumstances.

I think that where there's the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation, predominantly Muslim nation, a western nation and a nation that straddles two continents, you know, that we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous, that there are not tensions inevitable tensions between cultures which I think is extraordinarily important. That's something that's very important to me.

You know, I've said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is, although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens, who are bound by ideals and a set of values.

I think Turkey was -- modern Turkey was founded with a similar set of principles. And yet, what we're seeing is in both countries, that promise of a secular country that is respectful of religious freedom, respectful of rule of law, respectful of freedom, upholding these values and being willing to stand up for them in the international stage. If we are joined together in delivering that message, east and west, to the world, then I think that we can have an extraordinary impact. And I'm very much looking forward to that partnership in the days to come. OK.

GUL: OK. Thank you very much.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: All right, again, we had had a chance to listen to President Barack Obama speaking with the president of Turkey and they answered some questions. A little bit of the line of questioning at first was about the Armenian genocide issue but, of course, they also discussed their mutual needs for the region and how Turkey and the United States are partners that agree on much more than maybe perhaps meets the eye.

And our Christiane Amanpour is standing by here in the studio. But first, we're going go to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux traveling with the President in Ankara.

What was the headline in your opinion from this press conference, Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, really the headline was the very first question when people have been asking him, are you trying to make a statement here, this is the last stop on your European tour, your leg here in Turkey, what are you trying to say?

He says yes, I am trying to make a statement here, the very importance of the relationship between the United States and Turkey, that it really is a country that is able to bridge the east and the west. And that Turkey, because it is situated, bordered on Iran, Iraq, as well as Syria, really is geographically as well as politically situated, uniquely situated to deal with the Middle East peace crisis with a lot of the hot button issues that Turkey wants to be engaged and involved with whether it comes to Israeli-Palestinian crisis, whether or not it comes to negotiations between Israel and Syria, or even trying to bring together, closer together the United States and Iran.

So President Obama very much recognizing the importance of Turkey's role in this region and with his agenda -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Suzanne Malveaux for us in Turkey this morning, thank you.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And as Kiran said, we have Christiane Amanpour here.

The thing that struck me really was when Barack Obama said to the Turkish president, America is not a Christian nation or a Muslim nation, what was he trying to do when he said that?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think this is important because obviously Turkey is the biggest Muslim nation that straddles both Europe and as we've been pointing out, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, so uniquely situated but also wants to get into the EU. President Obama has been pushing the U.S. position on that. He got some pushback on that from France and Germany. They say, no, we don't want Turkey in the EU.

President Obama also being successful negotiating with Turkey to get the Danish prime minister into NATO as secretary-general, but the big issue is that Turkey is a moderate secular Muslim state with the rule of law, with progressive liberal democratic policies, and this is a key ally for the United States, a key ally in the region. It's helping in Afghanistan. Obviously everybody would like it to help more, but it's been a broker between Israel and Syria. They hope that this might continue although Turks very upset with the Israel-Gaza war and have walked out of their mediations right now.

The Iranians do not want any mediators, so Turkey is not going to be asked by the Iranians to help. They want direct negotiations, but Turkey vitally important for the U.S.

CHETRY: On that issue, about Mideast peace which is very interesting, it's something that President Obama brought up in this news conference as well. But when the prime minister of Turkey spoke to "The New York Times," he said Hamas has to come to the table. That if there's ever going to be any type of sustained peace, Hamas has to be included. And that really presents a problem and a challenge for the United States who said that Hamas is a state sponsor of terror.

AMANPOUR: Well, yes, the United States or its European allies do not deal with Hamas. Right now, Hamas is engaged only by Egypt and it's not being engaged in the Middle East peace process. But I've just been in Gaza and the leaders of Hamas told me that they had sent a letter to President Obama and the message of the letter is we want to be engaged no peace without Hamas. But of course the big deal is now President Obama is going to make good and to re-establish good friendly relations with Turkey after all the anxiety and stress and strained relations of the Iraq war.

COSTELLO: And I'm just curious, I'm not sure that President Obama sent a letter back to Hamas.

AMANPOUR: No, he hasn't actually responded. It was sent via Senator Kerry who was in Gaza, an amazing visit by Senator Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate. The letter was sent to him and he gave to U.S. diplomatic officials who then sent it on to the White House. COSTELLO: Fascinating. Thank you, Christiane.

New developments this morning after three Pittsburgh police officers were killed in the line of duty over the weekend. Obviously, we're switching gears now.

Police say they were responding to a domestic dispute call triggered by a fight between the gunman and his mother over a dog urinating in the house. Authorities believe the suspected gunman, 22- year-old Richard Poplawski was wearing a bullet-proof vest as he fired more than 100 AK-47 rounds at police. It was a four-hour standoff.

Funerals and a candlelight vigil for the victims of Friday's shooting rampage in Binghamton, New York. Police say the gunman, 41- year-old Jiverly Voong killed 13 people at an immigration center before killing himself. Authorities are defending the police's response to the shooting saying the victims were too seriously wounded to survive even if the officers had entered the building immediately.

The U.N. Security Council holds an emergency session to deal with North Korea's Sunday launch, but after hours no one can agree on a response. We'll ask America's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, what went wrong. She will join us live.

It's 21 minutes past.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

North Korea's controversial launch on Sunday sent the United Nations Security Council into an emergency session. President Obama, in fact, woken up at 4:30 a.m. with a phone call in Prague. It's the president's first major international security dilemma. But even after hours of discussions, U.N. officials left the meeting late night meeting with no formal response on that action.

So we bring in now America's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. Ambassador Rice, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Good to be with you, Kiran.

CHETRY: And President Obama said this launch was a "clear violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718. He called it a provocative act as did Japan's prime minister. So while the U.S. is calling for the strong sanctions against North Korean, both China and Russia, who are permanent members of the Security Council are resisting and calling for calm. So where does the U.S. go from here?

RICE: Well, the U.S. will continue to consult with our key partners in the Security Council as well as China and Russia.

Kiran, this always was going to be a process that would take at least several days. Yesterday was simply the opportunity for countries to present their opening salvos, their initial positions. We heard from all of the 15 members of the Security Council. There was a general sense of grave concern about what had transpired and recognition that this was indeed a serious development.

After that formal meeting behind closed doors, we then went into consultations with some of the most critical players on that issue. And that was where we began the discussion about what form and what substance Security Council action ought to take. We heard differing perspectives but shared view from all of the permanent five members of the Security Council in Japan that we needed to act and that that action had to be significant.

So they will go back to their capitals. They will get further instructions. We will continue the negotiations and over the coming days, we expect a more formal response.

CHETRY: And President Obama, of course, condemned the launch. He also said this, "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something."

So if words must mean something but China and Russia are not on board, what is the United States prepared to do to punish this violation?

RICE: Well, the Security Council is but one venue, an important venue for collective action. And we will, as I said, continue our efforts here.

The U.S. view is that this violation of international law and of these Security Council resolutions demands a clear and strong response. We believe the most appropriate form for that response to take would be a Security Council resolution with some teeth in it. We will continue to work in that direction.

But we have also to look at our bilateral mechanisms and further steps because, Kiran, the goal here has been and remains to have a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. That's what we've been working for in the six-party talks, and that's the goal.

CHETRY: Ambassador Rice, I wanted to ask you about that actually. One theory of why North Korea may have gone ahead with this launch is that they've been unhappy, not necessarily with the United States, but with some of the issues that have been going on between Japan and North Korea, South Korea and North Korea. And one theory is that perhaps they wanted to grab the attention of this new administration in an effort to get direct talks and ties to Washington.

What is your view about the possibility of direct U.S.-North Korea talks separate from these stalled six-party negotiations?

RICE: Well, Kiran, I think this is really not the best time to speculate about what may happen with respect to talks, but I think it's important to put it in context. The Bush administration, after tortured internal negotiations, took the decision that they would engage North Korea not only in the context of the Six-party talks but in a bilateral channel within the framework of the six-party talks that yielded some progress including the dismantlement of a key nuclear facility last year.

The question is how we can best now combine pressure and diplomatic efforts to put North Korea back into a constructive process within the six-party talks. The next step is verification. We need North Korea to agree to a credible and enforceable verification regime.

Yesterday or the day before, Saturday night, when North Korea launched this missile, it said it was intending to put a satellite into orbit. Our best information is that we have no evidence that there's such a satellite in orbit. And if that is indeed the case, this is a setback for North Korea's efforts. And now the aim must be to create a context in which we can pursue this critical long-term goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula which is necessary for security in that entire region, and for international peace and security.

CHETRY: All right. Ambassador Susan Rice who is ambassador to the United Nations, thanks for being with us this morning.

RICE: It's good to be with you.

CHETRY: Carol.

COSTELLO: President Obama expected to arrive at the Turkish parliament in oh, probably an hour or so. He's bringing hopes of warmer relations with the Muslim world.

We're following his every move this morning. It's 28 minutes past.


COSTELLO: It's 31 minutes past the hour here are this morning's top stories. What's on the agenda? Well, stories we're breaking down in the next 15 minutes.

President Obama expected to arrive at the Turkish Parliament in moments. Actually, he has probably arrived there in an hour or so. It is his first official visit to the Muslim world. He'll address the Turkish Grand National Assembly at 8:30 Eastern time. And we'll take it live here on CNN.

For the first time since the Gulf War, the media is being allowed to cover the casualties of war. Reporters witnessed a ceremony for the arrival of a Virginia airman killed in Afghanistan. The military lifted the 18-year media blackout on the fall of soldiers' casket back in February.

And developing right now, rescue teams desperately searching through tons of rubble after a deadly earthquake in Italy. Official say at least 50 people are dead including four small children. Delia Gallagher joins us live on the phone with the latest.

Delia, bring us up to date.

DELIA GALLAGHER, JOURNALIST (via telephone): Good morning, Carol.

I can tell you that I'm standing in front of what was a five- story apartment building with 12 family apartments in it. It has completely collapsed from the top down. They are digging out the rubble with plastic bucket, passing it back and forth. They heard some voices earlier. They are constantly telling the crowd to please be quiet, trying to keep the sirens and the traffic quiet so they can hear anybody who is still underneath the rubble needing help.

We are now ten hours into it. This is quite a dramatic site, as you can imagine. I talked to a few of the neighbors, the other house are still standing but severely damaged. They last ran out into the street, this house collapsed. You can see mattresses and bed spreads and couches, an oven, all the things one would expect in a house of this type.

The big question that the residents are asking is why haven't these been earthquake proof. This is a town that is on a fault line and has tried for the last 50 years to establish some kind of rules in terms of buildings, but that is yet to be determined.

We know that the Italian interior minister has said at least 50 officially dead. These are areas all around L'Aquila, which was of course the epicenter of this devastating earthquake -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Delia Gallagher reporting live in that small city, about 60 miles northeast of Rome -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, NATO is pledging more troops for President Obama's new strategy in Afghanistan, but they're not combat forces like the president has hoped for. Five thousand additional soldiers will be there helping train Afghanistan's growing security force. The announcement came after the alliance's summit in Strasbourg, France on Saturday. The president still calls it a strong down payment on the Afghan mission.

Meantime, the Taliban could be planning something big to test the will of the alliance in Afghanistan. In an exclusive interview with CNN, the commandant of the Marine Corps says that the enemy is planning for the surge in U.S. troops.

CNN's Barbara Starr is the only reporter traveling with the general in Afghanistan.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is one of the front lines for the U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan. Here at forward operating base Delaram, they have taken so much fire in recent days. Some people questioned whether it was safe for General Conway to come here.

STARR (voice-over): Despite the violence across this region, General James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, came to forward operating base Delaram to see firsthand some of the threats facing the 8,000 Marines headed this way.

The Marines, part of the administration's new counterinsurgency strategy, to increase troop levels on the ground. Across southern Afghanistan, the news is not good. In an exclusive interview with CNN , the only news organization traveling with Conway, the general warned of new Taliban threats.

GEN. JAMES CONWAY, COMMANDANT, U.S. MARINE CORPS: There is, we believe, increased enemy involvement in the south. They're going to try, I believe to create spectacular attacks before an increased U.S. presence can be brought to bear.

STARR: Conway also revealed there is new intelligence, the Taliban now could have heavy caliber machine guns that could potentially shoot down helicopters.

The general chooses his words carefully.

CONWAY: There are rumors, there are intercepts. There are indications that there could be something like that in the weeks and months to come.

STARR: The Marines already here are being hit by a growing number of roadside bombs and suicide attacks. Conway says it's a war that could go on for years.

CONWAY: I think in terms of the requirement to accomplish what the objectives are right now, it's not going to be done in a short period of time.

STARR (on camera): And as part of the new counter-insurgency strategy, expect see more bases being built across southern Afghanistan as the Marines move in and then move out into the towns and villages of this very troubled area.


COSTELLO: Barbara Starr reporting.

President Obama in Turkey this morning making overtures to the Muslim world on his first official visit to the region. What this could mean for the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's 36 minutes past.


COSTELLO: Developing news this morning, President Obama is in Turkey right now on his first visit to the Muslim world. The president says Turkey and the United States can send an important message to the world through their partnership.

Joining us from Washington is former Defense Secretary William Cohen.

Thanks for joining us this morning.


COSTELLO: You know, in a little while, President Obama will be speaking in the Turkish parliament. This is a pretty big deal, isn't it?

COHEN: I think it is a big deal. Turkey is a very important country, one of our critical members of NATO. They play an important role in helping to support our troops both in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will hopefully play a role in helping to bring about a Middle East peace settlement. So it's an important step for the president. I think it's a very historic meeting for him and for us.

COSTELLO: What specifically does the president want from Turkey to help him better get U.S. troops out of Iraq?

COHEN: Well, I think he wants the support of the government in terms of continuing to provide access to facilities that allow us to resupply our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He certainly wants whatever support they can give, consistent with what Iraq would like to have in the way of support. So anything that they can do in a material way will be important.

But also diplomatically as a Muslim nation, a secular nation, nonetheless, they send a very important signal to the rest of the Muslim world that the United States is not anti-Muslim as so many have thought we have been. But rather, here is a very strong Muslim nation that is working hand in hand with the United States. That's a very powerful signal.

COSTELLO: You know, President Obama touched a little bit on that at a news conference earlier this morning when he said that the United States was not a Christian nation, not a Muslim nation, but a secular nation. Do you think he'll be talking more along those lines when he speaks to the Turkish parliament?

COHEN: I believe he will follow that consistent theme. To say once again that we don't want to see this as the "Christian West" against the "Muslim East." That sort of portrayal is really inappropriate. That the United States is reaching out to nations of all religious beliefs and ethnicities to try to bring about a more stable world environment. I think that's a very important signal for him to send.

COSTELLO: And I think in another way, Turkey, could help the United States in its dealing with Middle East peace as far as the Israelis and Palestinians. What might it be able to do and what will President Obama be asking for?

COHEN: Well, because Turkey has had a very strong relationship with the Israelis, they have been working very closely together over the last few years, when Turkey walked out of those discussions or walked out on Israel's - after Israel invaded Gaza, that was a signal that perhaps that relationship was not going to be as positive in the future. So I think the signal again if the Turks start to work with the Israelis and help bring about some kind of a solution, a Middle East peace plan consistent with President Obama's desire to see a two-state solution. And I think they can play a very positive role in working with the Palestinians, helping to bring about some kind of a unified government.

We talked earlier about the need for Hamas to be involved. I think Hamas does have to be involved in a way that works with Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian authority. To say that they are going to present a united front and this one is going to be dedicated to a peaceful resolution with the Israelis and not with a constant war waged by Hamas. So Hamas has got to play a role.

I'm hopeful that Turkey can persuade, be a broker and bring about Hamas into a much more positive, and nonviolent method of operating and working with the Palestinian authority, that would be a major step forward.

COSTELLO: William Cohen, thanks for joining us this morning.

COHEN: Pleasure to be with you.

CHETRY: Still ahead, thriving in a tough job market. We're going to tell you what need to know when it comes to making yourself stand out in the jobless crowd.

It's 43 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: And welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Forty-six minutes past the hour.

Since the recession started in December of 2007, the economy has lost a net total of 5.1 million jobs. That is a staggering number, but there's some good news out there that there are jobs if you know where to look. And we're going to bring in our personal finance editor Gerri Willis.

COSTELLO: There's not an iota of sense.

CHETRY: I mean, we've seen most industries shed jobs right with the exception of health industries, right - health care, education and the government.


You know, these trends, they change. And even some companies that lay off people, Carol, they'll hire in another part of the country. They'll lay off some people in this area and then hire in others. So you've got to keep looking out there is my main point, but you got to look in a new way.

Guess what? Just sitting at your computer and firing off e-mails to people and with your resume isn't going to cut it. Listen to this, online applications viewed by an actual human being at companies that are hiring, ranges from five percent to 25 percent. Get this. They're not really looking at your resume anymore, companies use software programs that screen and rank candidates. So you're counting on somebody to look at it, what you should do is take the language in the ad that you saw and put in your resume that will get your resume looked at.

And of course you want to keep networking,,, These are the new ways to get your name out there and let people know you're alive and what you're doing and where you want to work. Another great website here guys that I found is Now, this website allows you to put online your resume, but with video, audio, pictures, graphics and guest what, the best part. It's free.

COSTELLO: Oh, nice.

CHETRY: That is good. And where should you be going if you're mobile and you need to find a job.

WILLIS: All right. There's some great websites out there for people who are looking. Let's start with teenagers, OK,, This will show you where you can find jobs in your area.

Now, if you're looking for contract work, freelance work,, will help you find a great job and they'll tell you how to be a part-timer because it's not easy, believe me.

And let's say you're a senior, and these are folks who are really having to learn new skill sets when it comes to getting a job. AARP has a great website for you. is a great place to go. And there are a couple of new ones we found recently. is aggregating job listings. Glassdoor has anonymous company reviews for people who work there and they even share what they're paid because they can do it anonymously. So you can figure out what I should be asking for.

CHETRY: Well, and so jobbi is

WILLIS: Correct.

CHETRY: Good tips.

WILLIS: Key websites there.

COSTELLO: Here's what we are working on for you this morning. First lady Michelle Obama getting the rock star treatment overseas. We're going to take a closer look at why she took Europe by storm.

It's 48 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: And welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. We are following extreme weather across the country this morning. Rob Marciano keeping an eye on things for us right now in Atlanta.


COSTELLO: From the economy to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama tackling them all on the world stage. So how is he doing? Ed Rollins and James Carville will face-off.

And the first lady feeding frenzy. Michelle Obama stars on the world stage. We'll look at her first trip abroad and the lasting impression she has made.

It's 53 minutes past the hour.



COSTELLO: First lady Michelle Obama back at the White House this morning. After six days overseas in Europe with the president. While over there, her every move was scrutinized and she came through with flying colors, I think that's safe to say.

Laura Brown, a special projects director for Harper's "Bazaar." She joins us to talk about the fascination with America's new first lady.

It's insane.

LAURA BROWN, SPECIAL PROJECTS DIRECTOR, "HARPER'S BAZAAR": It's insane. I mean, Obama was overseas trying to solve the greatest economic crisis almost in history and breathless coverage of what Michelle was wearing, who she was meeting, what she was wearing again.

COSTELLO: Before we get into the clothes and I know we must get into the clothes...


COSTELLO: What is the fascination with Michelle Obama?

BROWN: Right.

COSTELLO: Because if you remember during the election, she wasn't really well liked in this country. In fact, she had a lot of critics but now everybody loves Michelle.

BROWN: It's adoration now. I think she represents, she is so overused fashion term but really modern, you know what I mean? She has worked, you know, hard her whole life. She has amazing education. She is a great mother. She, I think - successful women, say in the corporate world or just working women see a little bit of themselves in her. She is not alienating and I think that we all see a little part of ourselves in her day-to-day and I think that is hugely inspiring and also not intimidating. She is accessible. COSTELLO: When you watched her and of course, Carla Bruni Sarkozy...

BROWN: Right.

COSTELLO: Two strong women and all the other first ladies sort of disappeared, didn't they?

BROWN: I mean, we all focused on the two of them and all of this hype when they were going to meet and what was going to happen. They do stand out. I think they are young and they are just very, very progressive and extremely self-possessed and charismatic. I think they both have again they had very amazing charisma before they've reached their status - Carla was a supermodel, then a singer and Michelle, Harvard-trained lawyer and a hospital executive. So they had distinctive and independent pasts before they landed in this role.

COSTELLO: I'd like to play something that President Obama said in Prague about his wife. Let's listen.


OBAMA: And to paraphrase one of my predecessors, I am also proud to be the man who brought Michelle Obama to Prague.


COSTELLO: You know that is interesting. Because President Kennedy said that about his wife.

BROWN: Right.

COSTELLO: But you know, Jacqueline Kennedy, I think, was far different than Michelle Obama in the sense that Jackie Kennedy redecorated the White House...


COSTELLO: She didn't present that strong feminist side perhaps that Michelle Obama had.

BROWN: I think she definitely had more of a traditional role. But of course, it is a different time. You know, I mean, this is early '60s and how much times have changed and how much women have progressed.

COSTELLO: You say how much times have changed but Michelle Obama is still mainly dealing with young people's issues.

BROWN: Sure.

COSTELLO: You know, she made the garden in the backyard. She is the first mom.


COSTELLO: So she is still even though she is Harvard educated, she is still forced into this role.

BROWN: I don't think anybody is forcing her in any way. I think she is making deliberate choices.

Again, this is very early days. So I think she can go out there and just be, you know, full on and aggressive. I think that she's balancing things very, very well. I think what really struck me was when she spoke to those young girls in a school in London and I think she was incredibly inspiring and she was coming there with her education and her inspiration and saying you can make something of yourself. I don't think that's - you know, I think she is doing more with the role than she may need to do. She just doesn't have to choose China patterns. You know, what I mean. She's going to do a lot more than that.

COSTELLO: Thank goodness.


COSTELLO: Just two seconds about fashion. Was she a winner in all respects?

BROWN: Yes. Fashion girls love Michelle Obama. I think she looked great. I think once she does communicate with her style is a great sense of optimism. Those jewel colors she wears and you know, the purples and the greens - I think she comes - and the yellow, she just looks like optimism.

And I think when her husband is dealing with unbelievable problems and just seeing her go around and see these girls, I think she looks great. I think she looks really independent and her support of young designers, I think is really extraordinary.

COSTELLO: Optimism. And you're wearing black.

BROWN: Yes, I know. Sorry, next time yellow. All right?

COSTELLO: Exactly.

Laura Brown, special projects director for Harper's "Bazaar," thank you for joining us this morning.