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Obama Warns Turkey over Israel

Obama warns Turkey that it must change its attitudes to Israel, Iran, if it wants American weapons.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/16/2010, 9:35 AM / Last Update: 8/16/2010, 9:58 AM

President Barack Obama has warned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that if his country wants to purchase United States weapons, it must change its foreign affairs policy regarding both Israel and Iran, according to the Financial Times.

Since Erdogan took office, Turkey has been increasingly hostile to Israel, while strengthening its ties with Iran. In June, Turkey voted against proposed sanctions on Iran in the United Nations.

"The president has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised... about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally,” an anonymous senior official told the paper. Doubts over Turkey's loyalties will make Congress less likely to approve weapons requests, the official added.

Turkey hopes to buy U.S. weapons including the missile-bearing Reaper drone. The weapons are to be used to fight Kurdish separatists in the country's north. Turkish leaders are concerned that fighting will become more intense as the U.S. withdraws from Iraq.

Turkey previously obtained unmanned drones from Israel.

Erdogan has been particularly critical of Israel since late May, when members of the Turkish pro-terror group IHH were killed in a clash with IDF soldiers off the coast of Gaza. Turkey has demanded that Israel accept full responsibility for the clash and issue an official apology; a demand that Israel has rejected.