Umut Oran, vice president of the Republican People's Party, described the photo as "an implicit insult to Turkey and its citizens".
"The photo reveals from whom our Prime Minister receives orders to rule the country," said Metin Lutfi Baydar who also belongs to the same party.
Taken aback by such strong criticism of the picture, Obama's aides averred that the opposition leaders in Turkey had completely misread their intentions.
A White House spokesperson Caitlin Hayden clarified, "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."
Incidentally, the photo was taken by the US president's publicity team in the Oval Office. The bat seen in Obama's hands was signed by famous baseball player Hank Aaron.