Turkey Dismisses Trump’s Economic Threats Over Syria Kurds

US pushes for security zone in northern Syria

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dismissed President Trump’s threat to “devastate Turkey economically” if they hurt the Syrian Kurds, saying that the US “cannot get anywhere by threatening Turkey.”

Trump’s Twitter threat was the latest in a puzzling series of escalations and reassurances surrounding US-Turkey relations and the upcoming US withdrawal from Syria. The withdrawal was initially announced at the behest of Turkey, after President Erdogan announced his intention to invade Syrian Kurdistan.

Now, US officials are pushing hard for Turkey to agree to the creation of a security zone between Turkey and northern Syria in the Kurdish area, with designs on preventing the invasion. This would allow the US to give lip-service to Turkish complaints about Kurdish terrorists without seeing any harm come to those selfsame Kurds, who are US allies.

Trump spoke with Erdogan again on Monday and reiterated his Twitter warnings, while offering to “work together” to address Turkey’s concerns, which seems at this point to mean establishing a safe zone.

As with the US border posts on the Syria-Turkey border, however, the US is presenting this as a service being done for Turkey’s benefit, while the Erdogan government sees it primarily as being done to save the Kurdish YPG, and to get in the way of Turkey’s long-planned military operation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.