World Bulletin/News Desk
A photograph of U.S. President Barack Obama holding a baseball bat while talking on the phone to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was intended to show their close relationship, a White House spokeswoman said, after the photo caused a stir in Turkey.
The two leaders spoke on Monday to discuss the crisis in Syria, after which the photograph of Obama seated at his desk, talking on the phone while holding a bat autographed by black-American baseball great Hank Aaron, was released by the White House.
"The photo reveals from whom our Prime Minister receives orders to rule the country," Metin Lutfi Baydar, a lawmaker with Turkey's main opposition party the Republican People's Party (CHP), said in a statement.
CHP vice president Umut Oran asked through parliament if Erdogan had seen the picture and if he would take action against "an implicit insult to Turkey and its citizens".
Some newspapers took a more lighthearted view, with columnist Ahmet Hakan of Hurriyet writing: "We need to do something - retaliation seems to be the most reasonable method."
"Our prime minister needs to hold something in his hand as he's calling Obama," he added, suggesting as possible candidates a slipper, a belt or a rolling pin.
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a written statement on Friday that her department had seen the commentary and speculation about the photo in the Turkish media.
"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," she said.
"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 added.
If Ukraine scrapped its non-alliance status after the Oct. 26 vote, NATO would discuss with Kiev "how to move forward", Rasmussen said
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the government would not hesitate to enforce its writ and was considering cracking down against those attacking state institutions.
The government will seek to bring all abductees back regardless of whether they have been officially recognised as abducted
Negotiators hope a deal can draw a line under the decades of hostilities and instability in the desert north of the West African nation.
Protests descended into deadly chaos over the weekend, with demonstrators clashing with police in a central area near many government buildings and embassies
Mohammad Mohaqeq, one of Abdullah's vice presidential running mates, told Reuters the two sides could not agree on the powers of the chief executive, blaming the Ghani camp for hardening its position
Israel announced the appropriation of land in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem, a move which an anti-settlement group said was the biggest such claim in 30 years
Miguel Vasquez, a spokesman for the Mayan elders, defended their decision, saying "the constitution protects us because we need to conserve and preserve our culture."
Voters in Scotland will decide on Sept. 18 whether they want to form an independent state with opinion polls showing Scots are likely to vote to keep their 307-union with England intact.
Iceland cut the level back to orange - the next highest level - saying the eruption was not creating ash.
The move came as the government said it had lost control of most ministries and state institutions located in Tripoli after rival armed groups took over the capital
Powers will include a temporary ban on those suspected of fighting in Syria and Iraq returning to the UK.
Western officials say Iran must address the IAEA's concerns and that this is vital for any chance of success in parallel negotiations to end a decade-old nuclear standoff with the West.
Greek Cypriot mayor of Girne (Kyrenia), Galfkos Kariolu, suggested the idea as a way to boost the Greek Cypriot population in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Zuma was due to meet Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to try to resolve a political crisis in the small mountain kingdom after an apparent coup
Among the detained are several top wartime police officers and members of a notorious military group known as "Mice", suspected of committing the war crimes in the northern towns of Teslic and Doboj