“Don’t be a fool,” Donald Trump warned his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an extraordinary letter sent the day Turkey launched its incursion into northeastern Syria — warning history risked branding him a “devil.”
White House confirms authenticity of Trump letter to Erdogan, dated 10/9: “History… will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.”
First reported by Fox Business. pic.twitter.com/lImxfhb2j1
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) October 16, 2019
Three days after appearing to greenlight an invasion by pulling US troops from the Kurdish-dominated region, Trump told the Turkish president he would wreck Ankara’s economy if the invasion went too far.
In language shorn of diplomatic niceties, Trump began with an outright threat.
“Let’s work out a good deal,” Trump wrote in the letter dated October 9, whose authenticity was confirmed to AFP by the White House.
“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.”
“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” Trump said. “It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen.”
I am a historian of US foreign policy. I have read many, many letters from US Presidents to foreign leaders, and I have never read a letter from the US President so unhinged, so threatening, so bizarre, so completely lacking in basic etiquette. Trump is deeply, deeply unwell. https://t.co/XOOo2689sI
— Brad Simpson (@bradleyrsimpson) October 16, 2019
The US leader told Erdogan a “great deal” was possible if he negotiated with the head of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Abdi, whom Turkey has labelled a “terrorist” for his ties to the Kurdish PKK militants in Turkey.
“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool,” he finished, adding: “I will call you later.”
The bizarre letter was met with incredulity, with many at first questioning its legitimacy and some calling it a “joke” and an “embarrassment”.
The release of the letter came on the heels of an overwhelming House vote to condemn Trump’s troop withdrawal from Syria.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk.