Donald Trump, president of the US, threatened on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with "more than sanctions" if his offensive in northeastern Syria has a "inhuman" effect on the Kurds , and assured that "it will annihilate the economy" of Turkey if it exterminates that group.
"I have told President Erdogan that I will do much more than sanctions … I agree with the sanctions, but I will do something much harder" if he acts "inhumanly" with the Kurds, Trump said in statements to the journalists in the White House.
Asked why he will do if the Turkish offensive "exterminates" the Kurds in northern Syria, Trump replied: "I will annihilate your economy if that happens, I already did it once with the (American Andrew) Brunson pastor, whose arrest led to Washington to impose sanctions on Ankara that were lifted after his release.RELATED
"We will see how he does it (Erdogan). He can do it smoothly, he can do it very hard, but if he does it unfairly, he will pay a very large economic price," Trump warned.
The president thus answered the question of whether he agrees with the initiative of Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who today announced that he will push a package of sanctions that would affect any asset in the US. of Turkish leaders, including Erdogan, in addition to banning military assistance and sales to Turkey.
Graham, one of Trump's main allies in the Senate, has been very critical of the president's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria in the face of the Turkish military offensive against Kurdish militias, but the president vehemently defended his position today.
"I think we are doing the right thing, and I think the country also believes it, beyond the small circle of Washington," Trump said in reference to the bipartisan criticism he has received in Congress.
Trump said he "likes" the Kurds of Syria, but argued that he has no obligation to protect them because they did not fight alongside the United States against Nazi Germany.
"They didn't help us with World War II. They didn't help us with Normandy," the president said.
He also stressed that Turkey has been "fighting" against the Kurds for centuries and wants to "return them to where they came from," and that the United States has been involved in that battle for too long. "This is like Israel and the Palestinians, but perhaps the hate is even greater," Trump said.
Asked what will happen if the offensive gives the inmates of the Islamic State (EI) in the area the opportunity to escape from the detention camps, Trump replied: "They would escape to Europe, that's where they want to go."
Turkey officially announced today the start of its military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish militias, which it considers "terrorists" for its ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Kurdish-Turkish guerrilla active in Turkey.
Turkey aspires to control a strip adjacent to the Syrian border 32 kilometers wide and 480 long, from the Euphrates to Iraq, a territory hitherto dominated by the Popular Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the Kurdish FSD alliance, which has de facto established a local administration.
The Democratic Syrian Forces (FSD) denounced today that at least eight people, including five civilians, have so far died from the bombing of the Turkish Army against northern Syria.