World Bulletin / News Desk
Amidst speculation in US and Turkish media over a photo the White House released showing US President Barack Obama holding a baseball bat while speaking to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House has said the photo was released to highlight the close relationship between the two leaders.
“We released the photo with only one purpose in mind, to highlight the president's continuing close relationship with Prime Minister Erdoğan and draw attention to the important conversation they had about the worsening situation in Syria,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Turkey's Anatolia news agency on Friday.
“The [US] president values his friendship and close partnership with Prime Minister Erdoğan on a range of important issues on which the United States cooperates with Turkey. The United States continues to value tremendously the strong and enduring friendship that exists between the people of Turkey and the United States,” Hayden was quoted as saying by Anatolia.
The White House released a series of photos on Tuesday, one of which shows Obama holding a baseball bat while speaking on the telephone. The photograph's caption reads, “President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey in the Oval Office, July 30, 2012.”
US reporters questioned Carney on Tuesday about Obama's pose. One asked if the pose was “a diplomatic gift.” Another asked if it was an aluminum or wooden bat. However, Carney laughed it off and said all he could say is that Obama is a baseball fan, adding, “As I think he said, White Sox but also watching the remarkable Washington Nationals.”