Donald Trump threatens Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks Syrian Kurd militia

Vastavam web: President Donald Trump threatened Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia in Syria, weakening the Turkish lira and prompting sharp criticism from Ankara on Monday. Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained over U.S. backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.

Trump said on Sunday the United States was starting the military pullout from Syria that he announced in December but that it would continue to hit Islamic State fighters there. “Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone…Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Trump should respect Washington’s alliance with Ankara. “Terrorists can’t be your partners & allies. Turkey expects the US to honor our strategic partnership and doesn’t want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda,” he said on Monday.However, U.S. officials have given mixed messages since then. The U.S.-led coalition said on Friday it had started the pullout but officials said later it involved only equipment, not troops.

The Kurdish YPG has been a U.S. ally in the fight against the jihadists and it controls swaths of northern Syria. Erdogan has vowed to crush it in the wake of Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of the region. “Terror is terror and it must be eradicated at its source. This is exactly what Turkey is doing in Syria,” he wrote on Twitter. Turkey has swept YPG fighters from Syria’s Afrin region and other areas west of the Euphrates river in military campaigns over the past two years. It is now threatening to strike east of the river, which it has avoided until now – partly to avoid direct confrontation with U.S. forces.\