United States President, Donald Trump, has threatened to “devastate Turkey economically”, if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria.
There have been fears that Turkey will attack the Kurds, whom it perceives as terrorists. Kurdish forces were a key ally of the US in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Irag (ISIS) in northern Syria.
Trump had agreed with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to replace US troops in Syria, following his announcement that ISIS has been defeated and his country’s involvement in the war was over.
But Trump in two tweets on Sunday where he threatened Ankara, also said he did not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey either.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey. Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term U.S. policy of destroying ISIS in Syria – natural enemies. We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home. Stop the ENDLESS WARS!”
Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan’s spokesperson, responded in a tweet, saying Turkey expected the US to “honour our strategic partnership”.
“Terrorists can’t be your partners and allies,” he said.
Erdogan has spoken angrily about the US’ support for the group and vowed to crush it.
Over the weekend, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said he had spoken to Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, and was “optimistic” that an agreement could be reached to protect Kurdish fighters.
Pompeo noted “the Turkish people’s right and Mr Erdogan’s right to defend their country from terrorists”.
“We also know that those fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected as well,” he added.