Thursday, 20 February, 2020
Turkey says 'not intimated' after Trump threatens economic devastation

Turkey says 'not intimated' after Trump threatens economic devastation

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey will not be intimidated by US President Donald Trump's threat to “devastate" its economy if Ankara attacked Kurdish militants in Syria. 

"We have said repeatedly we are not scared of and will not be intimidated by any threats," Cavusoglu said Monday, adding: "Economic threats against Turkey will get nowhere."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is known for his tough stand on policy matters, has yet to comment on the issue but his spokesman Ibrahim Kalin vowed the fight against Kurdish forces will continue.

Kalin likened the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to Daesh, saying there was "no difference" between them. "We will continue to fight against them all," he said in a post on Twitter.

His remarks came a day after Trump threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria after the US withdrawal.

"Mr @realDonaldTrump 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," the Turkish spokesman said in a tweet.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed PKK, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

The YPG forms the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants supported by the United States.

Kalin wrote in another tweet that it was "a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK," saying his country fought against terrorists, not Syrian Kurds.

US support for Kurdish militants has raised tensions between Washington and Ankara.

White House National Security adviser John Bolton’s preconditions after Trump decided to pull out all 2,000 American troops from Syria have angered Turkish officials.

Those “conditions” appeared to contradict Trump’s insistence that the withdrawal would be immediate and without conditions.

One of those provisions is that the government of Turkey guarantee the safety of YPG forces in Syria.

Cavusoglu said on Thursday that his country will launch an offensive against the Kurdish militants in case the US delays the planned withdrawal of its troops.

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