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Turkish Foreign Minister Challenges Obama to Golf

“Barack Obama has decided to come to Antalya once his presidency tenure is over. If he plays with me I will give him a few-stroke lead,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Thursday.

As Hurriyet Daily News reports, Antalya is a Turkish province noted for its golf courses. Cavusoglu was speaking from the launch of the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open in the resort town of Belek.

“The nation now thinks that ‘if a politician can swing a club, then we can very much do it,’ and we have made many people envious,” Cavusoglu boasted.

His mood darkened when questions were asked about the situation in Iraq, whose Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared on Tuesday that “any invasion of Iraq would lead to the dismantling of Turkey.”

“There is no stronger supporter [of Iraq] than Turkey, which wants Iraq to protect its territorial integrity and its independence. Iraq’s security and stability are as important as ours,” Cavusgolu said from Antalya, as quoted by the Anadolu News Agency.

He also needled Abadi over his threats, asking, “if you have the power, why did you leave Mosul to terrorist organizations in the first place? Why has the PKK been invading your lands for years?”

The Turkish Foreign Minister was also in a grumpy mood over the U.S. State Department’s decision to advise the families of Istanbul consular employees to leave, citing terrorism concerns. Hurriyet notes that several players have withdrawn from the Turkish Airlines Open due to security concerns.

“I would like to remind you that on that very same day, there were killings in Chicago, and 12 people died,” said Cavusoglu, proceeding to tally up 650 deaths in Chicago since last year.

“I mean Istanbul is no less safe than any state in the U.S. Unfortunately, there are terror attacks and riots taking place in various states in the United States,” he said.

But then Cavusoglu cheered up when it was time to sing the praises of golf, which he said was “a beautiful sport, it is not anti-environmental, and it is not at all boring.”

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