American journalist Trish Regan shared on her social media account on Wednesday a letter dated Oct. 9 in which U.S. President Donald Trump bluntly urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan not to attack Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria.
Turkey launched its Operation Peace Spring against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Washington’s partners in the campaign against the Islamic State, on the same day.
“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” U.S. Trump told Erdoğan in the letter, also informing the Turkish president that SDF leader Mazloum Kobane was “willing to negotiate”.
“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” U.S. President Donald Trump urges Erdoğan in a letter informing the Turkish president that SDF leader Mazloum Kobane is “willing to negotiate”.
— Ahval (@ahval_en) October 16, 2019
Trump also threatened to destroy Turkish economy if Erdogan went ahead with the operation. On Monday, the U.S. president hit Turkey with sanctions, but the Turkish lira strengthened the next day as the measures were weaker than investors had feared.
U.S. Vice President and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be arriving Turkey on Thursday to have a meeting with Erdogan, in which they are expected to press Turkey to declare an immediate ceasefire.
So far Erdoğan has rebuffed the calls and said “Turkey would never declare a ceasefire” until all terrorists leave the so-called safe zone in northeast Syria.
In the letter, Trump asked Erdoğan to cut a deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazloum Kobani.
The SDF is dominated by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia. Turkey sees the YPG as an existential threat due to its links the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting an armed insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984. The PKK is labelled as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.