White House denies Turkey arms ultimatum

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, December 7, 2009.

From Laura Rozen, Politico:  The White House denied a report Monday that the U.S. has threatened Turkey with potentially withholding future arms sales because of its tougher stance towards Israel and vote against U.N. Iran sanctions.

Obama “emphatically denied” a Financial Times story saying the president had told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that future arms sales would be contingent on softening his anti-Israel talk, White House pool reporter Jonathan Weisman of The Wall Street Journal writes.

Earlier today, the Financial Times cited an Obama administration official who said that the U.S. had warned Turkey that its harder posture on Israel and vote against U.N. Iran sanctions would make it harder to get arms sales to Ankara through Congress. The Pentagon notified Congress earlier this month of its intended arms sales. 

“The president and Erdogan did speak about 10 days ago, and they talked about Iran and the flotilla and other issues related to that,” White House spokesman Bill Burton told the press aboard Air Force One Monday. “We obviously have an ongoing dialogue with them. But no such [arms] ultimatum was issued.”

“There’s no ultimatum,” Burton added.  (photo: AP)

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