Turkish president ‘threw Trump letter in bin’

Turkish president Erdogan ‘threw Trump’s Syria letter in bin’ 17 October 2019 Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share this with Facebook Share this with WhatsApp Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share Share this with These are external links and will open…

Turkish president Erdogan ‘threw Trump’s Syria letter in bin’

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his office on 9 October, the day Donald Trump's letter was sent Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The letter urged President Erdogan not to be “a fool”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put US President Donald Trump’s letter “in the bin”, the BBC has been told.

In the letter dated 9 October, and sent after US troops were pulled out of Syria, Mr Trump told Mr Erdogan: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”

Turkish presidential sources told the BBC that the letter was “thoroughly rejected” by Mr Erdogan.

On the day the letter was received, Turkey launched a cross-border offensive against Kurdish-led forces.

“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,” Mr Trump said in the letter.

“History will look upon you favourably 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.”

In response, Turkish presidential sources said: “President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin.”

Image copyright Reuters

Image caption President Trump told Mr Erdogan: ‘Let’s work out a good deal!’

President Trump has faced intense criticism for the withdrawal of troops, which critics say gave Turkey the green light to launch the military attack.

Much of the criticism has come from within Mr Trump’s own party.

In a rare bipartisan rebuke, 129 members of the president’s Republican Party in the House of Representatives joined Democrats to formally denounce the move in a vote on Wednesday.

The joint resolution, which also called on President Erdogan to immediately cease military operations against Kurdish-led forces, was voted in by 354-60.

Image copyright EPA

Image caption President Trump has faced intense criticism for withdrawing US troops from Syria

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also held an apparently explosive meeting with President Trump on the issue, which led to her and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer walking out of the room.

Republican leaders said Ms Pelosi’s behaviour was “unbecoming”, and criticised her for “storming out”.

Ms Pelosi and Mr Trump also each accused the other of having a “meltdown”, with the president later tweeting a photo of their confrontation.

But the image has been praised by Democrats, who said it was “iconic” and showed Ms Pelosi’s “finest moment”. Ms Pelosi also made the photo her top image on Twitter.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Trump said the US should not be intervening in Turkey’s military operation in Syria because it is “not our border”, and called the former US allies the Kurds “no angels”.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels launched the offensive in northern Syria last week to push back from the border members of a Syrian Kurdish militia, called the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and to create a “safe zone” where up to two million Syrian refugees can be resettled.

Kurdish-led forces have been a critical ally of the US in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and there are fears the destabilisation could lead to a jihadist resurgence.

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