Trump letter to Erdogan: 'Don't be a fool'

Published October 17, 2019
"Don't be a fool," Donald Trump warned his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an extraordinary letter sent the day Turkey launched its incursion into northeastern Syria — warning history risked branding him a "devil".
— AFP/File
"Don't be a fool," Donald Trump warned his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an extraordinary letter sent the day Turkey launched its incursion into northeastern Syria — warning history risked branding him a "devil". — AFP/File

"Don't be a fool," Donald Trump warned his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an extraordinary letter sent the day Turkey launched its incursion into northeastern Syria — warning history risked branding him a "devil".

Read: US to withdraw troops as Turkey launches Syria operation: White House

Three days after appearing to greenlight an invasion by pulling US troops from the Kurdish-dominated region, Trump told the Turkish president he would wreck Ankara's economy if the invasion went too far.

This image widely distributed on social media on October 16 in Washington DC shows the letter sent on October 9 by Trump to Erdogan warning of economic sanctions after the Turkish intervention in Northern Syria. The White House confirmed the authenticity of the letter. — AFP
This image widely distributed on social media on October 16 in Washington DC shows the letter sent on October 9 by Trump to Erdogan warning of economic sanctions after the Turkish intervention in Northern Syria. The White House confirmed the authenticity of the letter. — AFP

In language shorn of diplomatic niceties, Trump began with an outright threat.

"Let's work out a good deal," Trump wrote in the letter dated October 9.

"You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will."

"History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way," Trump said.

"It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen."

The US leader told Erdogan a "great deal" was possible if he negotiated with the head of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Abdi, whom Turkey has labelled a "terrorist" for his ties to the Kurdish PKK militants in Turkey.

"Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool," he finished, adding: "I will call you later."

Opinion

Editorial

No pardon for rape
Updated 07 Feb, 2023

No pardon for rape

Cultural filters and biases can often lead to faulty applications of the law.
Health insurance
07 Feb, 2023

Health insurance

THE planning ministry is reported to have raised objections to Punjab’s flagship universal health coverage...
The people’s demands
07 Feb, 2023

The people’s demands

AS the people of KP are literally on the frontline of the battle against terrorism and violent extremism, they are...
The Musharraf enigma
Updated 06 Feb, 2023

The Musharraf enigma

The Musharraf era holds numerous lessons for Pakistan’s ruling elite, civilian and military.
Staying neutral
06 Feb, 2023

Staying neutral

THE Election Commission of Pakistan has what is perhaps one of the most thankless jobs in the country. The countless...
Wikipedia ban
06 Feb, 2023

Wikipedia ban

THE country was back in a familiar, dark place last week when the PTA blocked Wikipedia over the charge that it...