Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

The Times view on Trump and Turkey

The Times view on Trump and Turkey

He said Turkey also gave a paper to the United States delegation in return.

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues an eight-day Middle East diplomatic junket and National Security Adviser John Bolton advocates for war with Iran, President Donald Trump promises to wreak economic devastation on Turkey if the country attacks the US -aligned Kurdish militia in Syria.

"You know, what we did was to give the Turks a piece of paper, a non-paper, that's a fancy diplomatic term for just being a set of ideas, but expressing what the USA position was fully agreed upon by the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, so that the Turks knew we were all speaking with one voice despite the media commentary that would have you believe otherwise", Bolton said.

The White House meanwhile said that Trump warned his Turkish counterpart against harming Kurdish military units that have been closely allied to USA forces in Syria.

The announcement comes after the Trump threatened to cripple the Turkish economy if Ankara attacks Kurds in Syria.

After a phone conversation with Trump on 14 December, Erdogan said that the start of the operation would be postponed.

United States support for the YPG has been a major source of friction between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. The Kurds helped Washington in its fight against IS, but Turkey regards them as hostile forces posing a threat as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has for decades waged a separatist insurgency in Turkey.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter there was "no difference" between Isil and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia.

"Also spoke about economic development between the US & Turkey - great potential to substantially expand!" he added. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was not against the idea of a secure zone along the border, but said partners and allies should not communicate via social media. "Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey".

"We will continue to fight against them all", he tweeted. We have said it in the past.

Ankara, which supports Syrian opposition fighters, is also involved in the last rebel bastion of Idlib, where Turkey has agreed a buffer zone deal with Damascus ally Russian Federation. "Turkey is the country of my Kurdish brothers as well", he said. In early 2018, Syrian rebels backed by Turkish military forces captured the YPG's northwestern enclave of Afrin.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by jihadists from Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate, last week extended its administrative control over the whole of the Idlib region.

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