White House Cancels Turkey Pardon After Russian Fighter Incident

WASHINGTON — White House Spokesman Josh Earnest quietly announced this morning that President Obama would cancel Wednesday's traditional "Turkey Pardon," a presidential staple since the Kennedy administration, citing protests and complaints by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The complaints follow Monday's downing of a Russian fighter by Turkish forces.

“The Sov—er, Russians were a little concerned at how pardoning a turkey might look, after the unfortunate misunderstanding between an Su-24 Fighter-bomber and a Turkish AIM-9 Sidewinder a few days ago,” Earnest said.

The State Department said initial reports indicated the downing was the fault of “a turkey, you know — the bird,” as Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters. “It was apparently sucked into the intake around 10,000 feet over the Turkish-Syrian border.”

Later, State Department Spokesman John Kirby clarified Kerry's remarks. Kirby quoted the secretary as saying, “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Sources in Moscow indicate that Putin has used the so-called "hotline" with Obama to privately threaten to“race right through the Fulda Gap all the way to the Channel if you pardon that proklyatiye turkey.”

The Department of Defense has announced what it calls "proactive moves to calm the situation," including canceling all turkey dinners for Thursday, and the destruction of approximately 425,000 slices of pumpkin pie.

In Brussels, NATO leaders are privately exploring whether or not being exclusively in the Mediterranean "really qualifies a country to join the 'North Atlantic Treaty Organization' anyway," according to a high-level, four star supreme commander with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity.