Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump, the presidents of Turkey and the United States, respectively. File photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Just hours after Donald Trump threatened to “devastate” Turkey economically if it attacks Syria’s Kurds, the US president held a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Erdogan welcomed his counterpart’s withdrawal decision from Syria and reminded him that as a NATO ally Turkey is ready to provide the US with any sort of support,” according to a statement from the Turkish president’s office.
They also discussed the idea of establishing a safe zone in northern Syria which might placate Turkey’s security concerns, the statement added.
Erdogan told Trump “Turkey has no problem with Kurds, but with terrorist organizations like Daesh (ISIS) and PKK who threaten national security,” it said.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “The President expressed the desire to work together to address Turkey’s security concerns in northeast Syria while stressing the importance to the United States that Turkey does not mistreat the Kurds,” Reuters reports.
Trump announced in December he would soon withdraw the 2,000 US troops stationed in northern Syria. America’s Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS fear Ankara will invade after the US departs.
Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to attack the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) east of the Euphrates. Ankara considers the YPG an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for greater cultural and political rights for Kurds in Turkey.
Trump's threat to “devastate” the Turkish economy earlier on Monday outraged Erdogan.
This is a developing story… Last updated 9.44 pm