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Iran Press TV

If Turkey acts 'off limits,' Trump says will 'obliterate' its economy

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 7, 2019 05:42PM

US President Donald Trump has threatened to "obliterate" Turkey's economy if Ankara does anything that he considers to be "off limits" in Syria.

Trump issued the stunning warning on Monday on Twitter hours after announcing his decision to pull out US troops from Turkish-Syrian border areas, allowing Turkey to invade northern Syria and potentially wipe out Kurdish fighters.

Trump's latest tweets appeared to be in response to a storm of criticism from his own Republican Party and Democratic rivals that he was betraying the long-time Kurdish allies.

"If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)," he wrote.

The political turmoil first erupted on Sunday night when the White House announced that it was pulling out US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area and that "Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria."

The White House announced Turkey's planned invasion of northern Syria that seemed to indicate at least tacit American support.

The decision came after a phone conversation between Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House statement said.

The White House said US troops would withdraw from the border between Turkey and Syria and wouldn't be involved in the offensive.

Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham blasted the Trump administration for its decision to allow Turkey to invade northern Syria.

The senator from North Carolina criticized the maneuver as "a disaster in the making" in a rare public break with the Republican president.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also slammed Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from Syria.

"We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back," Haley tweeted.

On Monday, Erdogan spoke of imminent army preparations against Kurdish militants in Syria, saying, "We can come any night without warning. It is absolutely out of the question for us to further tolerate the threats from these terrorist groups."

A 'sickening betrayal' of allies

Trump's 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton also blasted the Trump administration's decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria, calling it a "sickening betrayal" of allies.

"Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America's own interests," Clinton, a former secretary of State and senator and President Trump's Democratic rival in 2016, tweeted.

"His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office."

Pentagon doesn't endorse Turkish invasion

The US military on Monday said it does not endorse the planned Turkish military invasion of northern Syria, and warned that such a move risked destabilizing the Middle East region.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told their counterparts in Ankara that "unilateral action creates risks for Turkey," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement, according to AFP.

"The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey -- as did the president -- that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria," he added.

Hoffman said the United States would reiterate to Ankara "the possible destabilizing consequences of potential actions to Turkey, the region, and beyond."

The US has long been providing the militants of the so-called People's Protection Units (YPG) with arms, calling them a key partner in the purported fight against Daesh. Many observers, however, see the support as part Washington's plans to carve out a foothold in the Arab country.

That support has also angered Washington's NATO ally Turkey, which views the YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The PKK has been waging a war inside Turkey for decades.

Turkey said it was ready to carry out an air and ground operation to push back YPG militants from border areas after a deadline to jointly establish a so-called safe zone with the US passed.

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