Trump threatens Turkey's economy in blunt letter to President Erdogan
United States President Donald Trump warned his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told him "not to be a fool" and threatened to destroy the country's economy in a striking letter sent on the day Turkey launched its incursion into northeastern Syria. The letter, which has left the White House red-faced, comes days after the US decided to pull troops from the Kurdish-dominated region.
Trump starts the letter urging Erdogan to strike a deal with the Kurds, followed by the threat: "You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy- and I will." Trump told Erdogan a "great deal" can be accomplished by negotiating with the head of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Abdi.
Trump added, "History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!"
EXCLUSIVE: I have obtained a copy of @realDonaldTrump’s letter to #Erdogan. @POTUS warns him to not “be a tough guy! Don’t be a fool!” Says he could destroy Turkey’s economy if #Syria is not resolved in a humane way. Details tonight at 8pm #TrishRegan #FoxBusiness pic.twitter.com/9BoSGlbRyt— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) October 16, 2019
I present to you all, Trump's crazy letter as the Star Wars crawl pic.twitter.com/0ayBvJIz1F— Eric Koch (@EricDKoch) October 16, 2019
Looks more fitting without the White House letterhead, doesn't it? So much so, that many doubted if the letter was legitimate. The White House, however, confirmed the letter's authenticity soon after its emergence. According to reports, sources later also confirmed that copies of the letter were distributed during a Wednesday meeting at the White House in an attempt to show how tough Trump is.
The White House meeting was on Trump's withdrawal of US troops from Syria. Democratic lawmakers walked out of the meet after, what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi termed, Trump's "meltdown." Reportedly, Trump insulted Pelosi, calling her a "third-rate politician." In an infantile tweet, he shared a picture of her "unhinged meltdown" during the Syria meeting. Pelosi later posted the image as her Twitter cover photo.
Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown! pic.twitter.com/RDeUI7sfe7— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2019
Meanwhile, former CIA officer and National Security Council spokesman criticized the letter saying, "These words on White House stationary(sic) should embarrass all Americans, but Trump's confidential enclosure of the SDF Commander's letter will give our allies even less reason to trust America." SDF Commander Abdi has been labeled a "terrorist" by Turkey owing to his ties to the Kurdish PKK militants in the country.
Separately, Democratic congressman Mike Quigley said to CNN, "I actually thought it was a prank, a joke, that it couldn't possibly come from the Oval Office." Quigley further said, "It sounds all the world like the president of the United States, in some sort of momentary lapse, just dictated angrily whatever was on the top of his head."
Recently, Trump hailed his own decision to withdraw US troops in Syria as "strategically brilliant" because he paved the way for a Turkish offensive. However, both state and defense departments' official assessment declared the move a disaster for regional stability and the fight against ISIS.