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'Turkey is Running Out of Time to Approve Troops,' says White House

The White House says Turkey is running out of time to reach a deal on staging U.S. troops ahead of possible military action in neighboring Iraq.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says there is "not much time left" for Turkey to approve the deployment of U.S. troops.

A parliamentary vote was postponed this week after the two sides failed to reach agreement on economic assistance. Turkey is holding out for substantially more than Washington's offer of $20 billion in loan guarantees.

Asked whether the Bush administration has made its "final offer," Mr. Fleischer said. "That is a pretty good way to describe it."

"Turkey has heard authoritatively what the position of the United States government is," he said. "And now Turkey has a decision to make. And we look forward to hearing that decision."

Mr. Fleischer says stationing troops in Turkey is strategically desirable, but the U.S. military is "sufficiently flexible" to act regardless of what happens.

President Bush meets later with NATO chief Robertson, who is credited with getting the alliance to agree to send defensive equipment to Turkey ahead of a possible war in neighboring Iraq.