Washington DC: US President Donald Trump has threatened Turkey with ‘economic devastation’ if it attacks Kurdish forces in the wake of the US troop pullout from Syria. At the same time, he has urging the Kurds not to “provoke” Turkey. (Also read: ‘Trump Attaches Great Importance to US-India Ties,’ Says New Envoy)
Taking to Twitter late on Sunday, Trump said, “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.”
Soon after, he tweeted a word of advice for the Kurds as well, asking them to not ‘provoke’ Turkey. He wrote, “…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!”
The threat assumes significance as Turkey is a US ally in the fight against ISIS. However, the country recognises some Kurdish groups as terrorist organizations. Also, in the civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, a majority of US-allied fighters operating in Syria are Kurds.
Trump decided to withdraw some 2,000 American troops from Syria last month, amid consultations with the Turkish military over their planned operations in Syria. National Security Advisor John Bolton even said that US forces will not leave Syria until Turkey guarantees the safety of the US-backed Kurdish militias.
But Turkey is steadfast in its commitment to remove what it calls a Kurdish “terrorist” threat. Its defence minister was quoted as saying “Our preparation continues intensely,” this past weekend.