Trump apparently sent the letter after receiving fierce blowback for clearing the way for Turkey’s invasion.
President Donald Trump warned President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey against being “a tough guy” and “a fool” in a bombastic letter last week that was apparently delivered as the Turkish military launched its invasion of northeast Syria.
In the letter, which was authenticated by the White House, Trump urges his foreign counterpart to negotiate an end to Turkey’s offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters, which has drawn intense criticism from the international community. Trump in particular has taken bipartisan heat for pulling U.S. troops out of the region and smoothing the way for the incursion.
“Let’s work out a good deal! 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. I’ve already given you a little sample with respect to Pastor Brunson,” Trump wrote, referring to sanctions the Treasury Department previously imposed on senior Turkish officials for the detention of an evangelical reverend.
“I have worked hard to solve some of your problems. Don’t let the world down. You can make a great deal,” he continued, adding that Kurdish General Mazloum Kobani of the Syrian Democratic Forces “is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past.”
“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,” the president concluded. “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.”
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