Trump Threatens To 'Obliterate'
Turkish Economy Ahead Of Planned Syria Operation
October 8, 2019
Ankara says all preparations for a possible military operation in
northeastern Syria have been "completed," as President Donald Trump
threatened to “obliterate” Turkey's economy if the country goes "off
The Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted late on October 7 that the
country’s armed forces "will never tolerate the establishment of a
terror corridor on our borders."
The establishment of a "safe zone" there is "essential" for Syrians and
for peace in the region, it also said.
The statement follows Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw U.S. forces
from areas along the Syrian border with Turkey, leaving Kurdish-led
forces in the region vulnerable to an incursion by the Turkish armed
The United States has about 1,000 troops in Syria, and 50 of them have
been pulled out from the border area and redeployed elsewhere in the
country "where they aren't in the crossfire," a senior U.S.
administration official said.
The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which dominate the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria, has been key U.S. allies
in defeating the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in the war-torn
However, Ankara brands the militia a terrorist organization because of
its links to Kurdish militants who have fought for Kurdish autonomy in
Turkey for three decades.
Following a phone call between Trump and his Turkish counterpart, Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said on October 6 that Turkey would
"soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation” into northern
Syria and U.S. forces would "no longer be in the immediate area."
Trump initially defended his move saying he had been elected on "getting
out of these ridiculous endless wars" and that "Turkey, Europe, Syria,
Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation
But amid accusations from the YPG that it had been "stabbed in the back"
and criticism from both U.S. Republicans and Democrats, Trump also
threatened to "destroy and obliterate" Turkey’s economy if it goes "off
The U.S. president later said he had told Erdogan there would be "big
trouble" if "any of our people get hurt."
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay responded on October 8, saying Turkey
"is not a country that will be moved by threats."
Russia 'Closely Watching'
Meanwhile, Germany and Britain expressed concern about Turkey's plans
for military intervention, with a German government spokeswoman saying
it would "have fatal security, political, and humanitarian
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said that "unilateral
military action must be avoided as it would destabilize the region" and
threaten efforts to defeat the IS group.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called his Turkish
counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to express Tehran's "opposition" to the
anticipated Turkish operation in Syria, Iran's Foreign Ministry said.
Zarif also "urged respect for Syria's territorial integrity and national
sovereignty" and "stressed the need for the fight against terrorism and
for the establishment of stability and security" in the country, a
statement quoted Zarif as saying.
spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had not informed in advance about
any agreements between Washington and Ankara.
"We are very closely watching the situation," said Peskov.
Russia and Iran have provided crucial support for Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s civil war, while the United States and
Turkey have backed differing rebel groups.
The conflict began with a government crackdown on protesters in March
2011 and has since killed more than 400,000 people.
Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees and Erdogan has said his
country plans to resettle up to 2 million refugees in northern Syria.