Trump threatens to ‘obliterate’ Turkish economy

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2019 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Donald Trump attends a joint press conference with visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (not in the picture) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Oct. 2, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday used a series of harshly-worded tweets as well as the stage of a joint press conference with the visiting Finnish president to defend himself against the ongoing impeachment inquiry. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua/IANS)

Washington, Oct 8 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has threatened to destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkey goes “off limits” after his decision to pull US forces out of north-eastern Syria.

In a series of tweets, Trump defended his move that could open the way for Turkey to launch an attack on Kurdish fighters across the border, the BBC reported.

The withdrawal was heavily criticised even by Trump’s Republican allies.

Kurdish forces were key US allies in defeating the Islamic State in Syria.

Trump’s surprise move – described by the main Kurdish-led group as a “stab in the back” – goes against the advice of senior officials in the Pentagon and state department.

Critics say the withdrawal could facilitate an IS resurgence and leave Kurdish forces at risk of being attacked by Turkey, which regards them as terrorists. But Mr Trump warned Turkey not to take advantage of his decision, saying he could “destroy and obliterate” its economy.

Last year, the US raised tariffs on some Turkish products and imposed sanctions on top officials as relations between the two Nato countries worsened over a number of issues.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his aim is to combat Kurdish fighters in the border area and set up a “safe zone” for up to two million of the more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said “the Department of Defense made clear to Turkey – as did the president – that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria”.

Earlier, Trump said it was time “to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal” and that “Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out”.

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