Turkey dismisses US warning against attacking Kurdish militias in Syria

World Today

A convoy of Turkish military trucks carrying tanks and armoured personnel carriers destined for Syria in preparation for a possible military offensive, moves in Hatay province, southeastern Turkey, near the border with Syria, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to devastate NATO ally Turkey’s economy if it attacks U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria underscores America’s commitment to its partners. (Mehmet Kocacik/Kirikhan/DHA via AP)

Turkey is dismissing President Trump’s latest warning on Twitter, saying it is not deterred by threats made by tweet. CGTN’s Michal Bardavid has details.

On Sunday U.S. President Donald Trump once again took to Twitter to make a harsh threat to Turkey.­ U.S. officials have been trying to get assurances that Turkey would not attack the Kurdish militant group, YPG, once US troops withdraw from Syria. The YPG is an ally to the US in the fight against ISIL, but Turkey considers them a terrorist organization and said it will make no such promise.

Trump tweeted: “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIL 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.” However, in a second tweet, he added: “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”

On Monday during a press conference in Luxembourg Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that strategic partners shouldn’t use Twitter as a means to communicate, and he stressed that Turkey would not be intimidated by any kind of threats.

“We had said several times that we are not going to be afraid of any threat and will not bow down to it,” Cavusoglu said. “We had said it before. So nothing can be achieved by threatening Turkey economically. We have to decide how to coordinate the solution of this issue regardless of whatever it takes.”

Cavusoglu also stated that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been calling for the establishment of a safe zone for years and that Ankara is open to dialogue on finding solutions to security threats in the region, not only for Turkish people but also for Kurds. He emphasized that Turkey would continue fighting all terrorist organizations including ISIL and the YPG. The Turkish lira slightly slid in the morning hours of trading in Turkey following the statements. In August the Turkish lira hit a record low against the dollar, partly due to a political dispute with Washington.

Namo Abdulla on Trump’s threatening Turkey tweet

Namo Abdulla, Washington Bureau Chief of Rudaw News Network, discusses President Donald Trump’s threat to “devastate Turkey economically” with CGTN’s Mike Walter.