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Turkish Officials Upset with President Obama’s Picture Holding the Baseball Bat

Turkish officials are upset over a recent photo released of President Barack Obama.

In the photo, the president is shown holding a baseball bat signed by legendary player Hank Aaron. He was speaking with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan about the crisis in Syria, when the shot was taken. And although the president looks relaxed and at ease in the photo, some Turkish officials believe it shows hostility.

“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, Reuters reports.

The president’s P.R. team insists that the call was intended to promote friendship with an important ally.  Turkish diplomacy is already edgy, given the important role that the country plays in US policy in the middle east.

“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, said in a statement released on Friday.

“The President values his friendship and close partnership with Prime Minister Erdogan on a range of important issues on which the United States cooperates with Turkey,” she wrote.

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