barack_obama_14.jpgANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ Turkey's prime minister has dismissed opposition criticism of a White House photo showing President Barack Obama holding a baseball bat during a telephone conversation with the leader.


Turkish opposition groups this week picked apart the photo, claiming the picture was disrespectful.

Erdogan told Turkey's A Haber news channel on Sunday that Obama is “a friend who never falls short of respect or politeness.''

The White House issued a brief statement to the Anadolu news agency Friday saying it released the picture to emphasize the close relationship between the two leaders.