Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak had his photo taken with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Monday. The image helped Albayrak, who is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s second most powerful government official, subtly send the message that he is the heir apparent to power in Turkey.
For decades, Middle Eastern dictators have come to Washington, in the hope of having their photos taken with important public officials. They are often accompanied by their anointed successor – a son, a grandchild, a son-in-law, or other trusted crony.
When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited the United States in 2009, he imagined he had founded a dynasty and took his son Gamal with him all over town. Mubarak even attempted to sneak Gamal into meetings with President Barack Obama, but was unable to get a photo of the two of them together. Mubarak was deposed in 2011 by mass protests, partly inspired by the fear that Gamal would succeed his ailing father and there would be no end to the family’s authoritarian rule.