The Turkish foreign minister has rejected a newspaper report and says that no country can issue warnings against Turkey, especially against its prime minister.
Ahmet Davutoglu was responding to a story in the Financial Times on Sunday in which an anonymous Obama administration official reported that US President Barack Obama personally informed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the country might have trouble getting Congressional approval for military sales given its harsh criticism of Israel and its vote against UN sanctions on Iran.
“No country can issue warnings against Turkey. No one, particularly, can talk to the prime minister in such a tone,” Davutoglu was quoted as saying in the Istanbul-based Today’s Zaman.
The White House denied that any “ultimatum” was delivered to Turkey.
But members of Congress, who can block arms sales, have objected to Turkey’s recent stances.
Turkey is seeking US drones for use against militants of the Workers’ Party of Kurdish (PKK).
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community, including Turkey, Iran, the United States, and European Union member states.
Over 40,000 people have lost their lives since the PKK launched its armed campaign against Ankara in 1984.
The PKK militants launch their attacks from Iraq’s Qandil Mountains in the areas under the control of Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.
Israel and Israeli firms also operate in the Qandil mountain range.
Eliot Engel (D-New York) slammed Turkey recently over its harsh criticism of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. He called the stance “totally hypocritical” in a recent conversation with The Jerusalem Post.
“They cannot have it both ways,” he said. “They cannot be unhelpful when it affects our most important ally in the region, Israel, and when it affects us, the United States. It can’t act negatively in that regard and then think it’s business as usual for their needs.”
Relations between Israel and Turkey have been tense since the attack on the Freedom Flotilla.
The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the Turkish-flagged M.V. Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.