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Why did Barack Obama’s photo irk Turkey?

Last Updated: Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 14:04

Washington: A photograph of US President Barack Obama holding a baseball bat while speaking on the phone with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has angered Washington`s key ally.

The Oval Office photo of Obama was intended to promote friendship with an important ally, but it did just the opposite, New York Daily News reports.

Obama`s publicity team photographed the US President speaking with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan about the escalating crisis in Syria. Obama was holding a baseball bat signed by legendary player Hank Aaron. In the shot, Obama looked relaxed and contemplative, but some Turkish leaders did not seem to think so.

"The photo reveals from whom our Prime Minister receives orders to rule the country," Metin Lutfi Baydar, an opposition politician for Turkey`s Republican People`s Party (CHP) party, said in a statement.

Another CHP leader, party vice president Umut Oran, called the picture "an implicit insult to Turkey and its citizens" in Parliament.

It`s exactly the opposite message the Obama team was hoping to convey. "We released the photo with only one purpose in mind, to highlight the President`s continuing close relationship with Prime Minister Erdogan, and draw attention to the important conversation they had about the worsening situation in Syria," Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the White House, wrote in a statement.

The relationship between Turkey and the United States could prove crucial in the search for a solution to the Syrian crisis.


First Published: Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 14:04

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