Questions follow Obama pose while on phone with Turkish PM
White House Photo
Reporters directed a series of questions to White House representative Jay Carney yesterday over a White House photo showing the U.S. President Barack Obama on the phone with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan while firmly holding a baseball bat, daily Hürriyet has reported.
The photo was published on the White House official website, with a caption reading: "President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey in the Oval Office, July 30, 2012."
Reporters were keen to find out about a possible hidden message in the photo as they pounded Carney with questions over its symbolic meaning regarding U.S. foreign policy. Several questions focused on the bat itself, asking about where it came from and what it was made out of.
Carney however gave no direct response to such claims, and simply told reporters that all he could say was that the president was a baseball fan and an avid Chicago White Sox supporter. Carney also added that he would further study the photo for any other details.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a lengthy telephone conversation on July 30 to discuss ways to fill the power vacuum if President Bashar al-Assad suddenly loses control in Syria.
During the conversation, the pair discussed how figures of the old regime who have not participated in violence against civilians should take part in a possible new Syrian administration, the official said, adding that the leaders agreed that “all opposition groups want Bashar al-Assad to leave Syria if and when the al-Assad regime falls, and Turkey is also in favor of this idea.”
Erdoğan and Obama agreed that security officials and diplomats should work on such elements so that the two will have more concrete matters to discuss in their next telephone conversation, a senior Turkish official said.
Talks between the two leaders aimed at “coordinating efforts to accelerate a political transition in Syria.” The coordination “would include the departure of Bashar al-Assad and be responsive to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people,” the White House said in a statement.
The White House statement said the U.S. and Turkish teams “would remain in close contact on ways that Turkey and the United States can work together to promote a democratic transition in Syria.” Ankara has become a champion of the uprising against al-Assad’s Syrian regime and has given refuge to large numbers of army defectors, who have formed the kernel of a rebel army, as well as tens of thousands of civilian refugees.