Trump speaks with Erdogan after threatening to 'devastate' Turkey's economy

Trump speaks with Erdogan after threatening to 'devastate' Turkey's economy

Turkey has recently warned that it would launch combat operations across its southern border into northeastern Syria against Kurdish forces who have been allied with the the fight against ISIS.

Trump threatened Turkey on Sunday with harsh economic sanctions if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria after USA troops withdraw from the country in the coming months.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin earlier vowed Ankara would continue to fight against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia despite Trump's warnings.

Also on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the planned US troop withdrawal from Syria amounted to a "tactical change" that would not alter the overall USA mission to inflict a lasting defeat on the Islamic State, counter Iran and safeguard local partnered forces.

Trump's incendiary tweets regularly grab headlines - but they're typically directed at long-time U.S. nemeses such as Iran or North Korea.

"Seems like a long time ago but frankly it's the good work that United States did with a big coalition and we'll work with the Turks to make sure there is security for them as well and that the Kurdish people inside Syria are indeed protected".

"We will confirm that there has been no redeployment of military personnel from Syria to date", said Navy Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman.

Trump may be tweeting in earnest, but he should think twice before endangering relations with Turkey - and the rest of Washington's military allies - in such a profound way, Becker said.

"We have applied economic sanctions in many places, I assume he is speaking about those kinds of things, Pompeo said, adding he had not spoken with Ankara since Trump's comment".

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President Trump used Twitter Sunday night to spell out his plans for a pull-out in Syria. That Turkey was largely responsible for ISIS' growth between 2012-2015 by leaving its border open and, at times, assisting the flow of foreign fighters and arms to Syria, is beside the point. Cavusoglu said Turkey would not be against such a proposal.

The phone call came after Trump's tweet saying the United States would "devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds", conflating "Kurds" with the terrorist PKK/YPG, a confusion that Turkey has repeatedly criticised.

Kurds and Christians in the northeast region "have tried to put together this pluralistic model which is based on secularism", he told NPR.

A USA defense official told Fox News on Friday that the US -led military coalition in Syria started the process of removing troops from the region, but wouldn't confirm further details for security purposes.

There are reportedly around 2,000 USA troops deployed in Syria.

But the YPG is said to be seen as a terrorist group by Turkey, an American ally and fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation affiliate.

Anadolu added that the two leaders also discussed the need to complete a roadmap regarding Syria's border town of Manbij, so as to avoid giving any opportunity to elements seeking to block the planned withdrawal of USA forces.

"Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term US policy of destroying ISIS in Syria - natural enemies", Trump continued.

Turkey says the YPG is tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has been fighting a long guerrilla war for more Kurdish autonomy inside Turkey.

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