Recep Tayyip Erdogan threw Donald Trump's bizarre 'tough guy' letter over Syria in the bin: BBC report

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threw away the letter he received from his US counterpart Donald Trump in which the latter urged him to not launch a military offensive against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria

  • After US troops pulled out of Syria, Trump wrote a letter dated 9 October which told Erdogan, 'Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!'

  • The letter comes at the heels of Erdogan's meeting in Ankara on Thursday with a US delegation headed by Vice President Mike Pence with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threw the letter he received from his US counterpart Donald Trump advising him not to be a 'tough guy' in the garbage bin,  BBC reported on Thursday.

After US troops pulled out of Syria, Trump wrote a letter dated 9 October in which he advised Erdogan not to launch a military offensive against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria and advised him: “Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!”

Turkish presidential sources told BBC, "President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin," adding that Turkey launched the operation in Syria the same day.

In the letter, Trump also wrote, "Let's work out a good deal! 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 favourably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen," the letter read further.

In the letter, Trump also shared an allegedly confidential letter from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) leader Mazloum Kobani with Erdogan, whose forces were launching an attack on the SDF. “General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past. I am confidentially enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received,” Trump wrote.

Following the letter, 129 members of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives joined Democrats to formally denounce the move. The joint resolution, which also called on President Erdogan to immediately cease military operations against Kurdish-led forces, was voted in by 354-60.

“Today in the House, we voted 354-60 to condemn Trump’s actions with regard to Syria,” the Democratic congressman Mike Levin said on Twitter. “Also, this letter is an embarrassment to the office.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also held a meeting with Trump on the issue, which led to her and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer walking out of the room. Pelosi and Trump also each accused the other of having a "meltdown", with the president later tweeting a photo of their confrontation.

The Kremlin questioned the letter’s tone. “You don’t often encounter such language in correspondence between heads of state. It’s a highly unusual letter,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The letter comes at the heels of Erdogan's meeting in Ankara on Thursday with a US delegation headed by Vice President Mike Pence with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Kurdish-led SDF alliance has been a critical ally to the US in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria. The SDF is dominated by the members of a Kurdish militia called the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Trump on Wednesday hailed his own decision to withdraw US troops from Syria as strategically brilliant and declared the Kurds were “much safer now”. He added that the US should not be intervening in Turkey's military operation in Syria because it is "not our border", and called the former US allies the Kurds "no angels".

Trump also said that the PKK rebel group was "probably worse at terror and more of a terrorist threat in many ways than" IS. The PKK is already designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity.

- With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 17, 2019 23:33:28 IST