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Two years, two pictures: How a G20 photo indicates a shift in world politics

A gathering of the leaders of the world’s top 20 economies can never be short of drama. The two-day G20 conference in China’s Hangzhou had quite a start after the tarmac dust-up between the US side and Chinese officials over President Barack Obama’s arrival.

world Updated: Sep 05, 2016 19:43 IST
Charu Gupta
G20 summit

US President Barack Obama pauses during his remarks in a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.(REUTERS)

A gathering of the leaders of the world’s top 20 economies can never be short of drama.

The two-day G20 conference in China’s Hangzhou had quite a start after the tarmac dust-up between the US side and Chinese officials over President Barack Obama’s arrival.

On Monday, too, G20 was making the rounds on social media. This time some Twitter users are talking about a picture that captures the shift in the world order.

Standing for a group photo, Obama is seen craning his neck to look at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is intently listening to his new-found friend and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

Go back to 2015 and it is a picture in contrast. The US President is smack in the middle of the picture and Erdogan, the host president, is smiling at him and cheering him on as Putin looks on from the margins.

Read | Modi’s position in G20 group photo shows he’s important in China’s eyes: Expert

Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV who reports on West Asia, posted a combination photo on Twitter.

A combination of the two pictures below was posted on Twitter by Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa)

Some of the replies to Jean Moussa’s post: 

And, what a shift it has been. Turkey’s relations with Europe and the United States are in a freefall after the purge undertaken by Erdogan following a failed coup in July.

Erdogan and his supporters are angry with their Western allies for red-flagging the post-coup crackdown. Turkey, which continues to be a Nato member, seems to have found a willing partner in Putin and two countries are on a fast track to mend ties damaged by Ankara’s shooting down of a Russian warplane last year.

A lame duck President he may be, but things are not half as bad for Obama. Dilma Rousseff, standing next to him in the 2015 G20 photograph, was kicked out of her job last week, impeached over charges of corruption. A year is truly a long time in politics.

(with agency inputs)

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