Update (Oct. 17 5:40 am est.): President Trump sent a harsh letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.
Trump warned the Turkish president doesn’t want to be responsible “for slaughtering thousands of people,” and that Trump – consequently, doesn’t “want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy,” adding, “and I will.”
On the day Erdogan received Trump’s letter, the Turkish military launched a cross-border assault against Kurdish-led forces.
Erdogan’s response to the letter, confirmed by BBC News Turkey (on Thursday morning), is that he “thoroughly rejected it, threw it in the bin.”
#Turkey President’s office confirms to @bbcturkce that when President #Erdogan received #Trump‘s letter, he “thoroughly rejected it, threw it in the bin” and launched the #Syria operation the same day. His mind was already made up to move in; letter was reportedly the final straw pic.twitter.com/pHaiyF5skG
— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) October 17, 2019
Trump has been criticized for the withdrawal of special operations troops in Northern Syria, which his critics have said gave Erdogan the ability to launch attacks on the Kurds.
About 129 members of Trump’s party joined Democrats on Wednesday to formally denounce the move in a vote. The measure, which passed, 354 to 60, has called for Erdogan to halt military operations in Syria.
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President Trump shot off a very direct letter to Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, according to Fox News‘s Trish Regan, who obtained a copy.
Trump warned the Turkish president doesn’t want to be responsible “for slaughtering thousands of people,” and that Trump – consequently, doesn’t “want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy,” adding “and I will.”
“I have worked hard to solve some of your problems,” Trump continues.
“Don’t let the world down. You can make a great deal. General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they never would have made in the past.”
“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” Trump said, adding “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!
I will call you later.”
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
The letter follows Erdogan’s Wednesday refusal to speak with Vice President Mike Pence regarding a cease-fire agreement in Syria, after Trump said he would send Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to negotiate.
Erdogan told Sky News, “I’m not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I’ll be talking.” National security advisor Robert O’Brien and the special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, are also slated to be on the trip.
Turkey’s president @RTErdogan tells @AlexCrawfordSky he will not speak with the US Vice President about a ceasefire in Syria during his visit – adding that he will only talk to President @realDonaldTrump.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 16, 2019
Perhaps the NSA / CIA / NSC and FBI will fill us in on the details of Trump’s next call with the Turkish leader, which the White House will have to correct with a transcript.