Turkey has on Tuesday, dismissed the United States President Donald Trump’s threat to “devastate” Turkey’s economy if it launches an attack on US-backed Kurdish militia forces in Syria after US troops pullout from the region.
According to BBC news reports, while dismissing Trump’s threat, Turkey’s foreign minister Nevlut Cavusoglu said, “You cannot get anywhere by threatening Turkey economically.”
For the long period of time, the US forces and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have fought together against Islamic State terror groups in northern Syria. But however, Turkey sees the YPG as the group of terrorists.
Also, on Monday, the US president again discussed Syria issue with his Turkey’s counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over a phone call. The Turkish presidency said that during the call conversation, Erdogan and Trump discussed the need for creating a “security zone” in northern Syria.
Trump also “expressed the desire to work together to address Turkey’s security concerns” in northeastern Syria, the White House said.
After Trump announced in December that Washington would withdraw its troops from Syria, the fears that Kurdish fighters in the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) would get attacked by the Turkish fighters once the US forces withdrew.
On Sunday, Trump, in a tweet, wrote: “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard and from many directions. Will attack again from the existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20-mile safe zone …”
Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2019
Though, Trump did not cite any specifics over how the US could hurt Turkey’s economy. The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, while responding to questions over Trump’s threat, he said: “You’ll have to ask the president… We have applied economic sanctions in many places, I assume he is speaking about those kinds of things.”
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu termed Trump’s tweet as a “domestic policy message” to critics. He rejected Trump’s threat and said: “We have said multiple times that we will not fear or be deterred by any threat.”
He also condemned Trump’s method and said: “Strategic alliances should not be discussed over Twitter or social media.”
Before Trump’s latest threat via tweet, Pompeo said he had talks with Erdogan over a phone call, where Turkey was “optimistic” that an agreement could be reached to protect Kurdish fighters.
Pompeo said the US recognized “the Turkish people’s right and Mr. Erdogan’s right to defend their country from terrorists”.
He added: “We also know that those fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected as well.”
Cavusoglu said Turkey was “not against” the idea of a secure zone – but was targeting “a terrorist organization trying to divide Syria”.