Turkey has dismissed President Donald Trump’s risk to “devastate” its financial system if it assaults Kurdish forces in Syria following a deliberate pullout of US troops.
“You can’t get wherever by threatening Turkey economically,” Overseas Minister Nevlut Cavusoglu mentioned.
US forces have fought alongside a Kurdish militia in northern Syria towards the Islamic State (IS) group.
Turkey, nevertheless, regards the Folks’s Safety Models (YPG) as terrorists.
In December Mr Trump introduced that the US would pull out all troops from Syria as a result of the Islamic State militant group had been “defeated”.
The sudden transfer shocked allies and led to criticism. A number of senior US navy officers resigned shortly afterwards.
There have been additionally fears that Kurds within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which had partnered with the US, could be attacked by Turkey as soon as the US withdrew.
What was Mr Trump’s risk?
Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday that the withdrawal from Syria had begun, and that the US would “devastate Turkey economically in the event that they hit the Kurds”.
He additionally mentioned any remaining IS fighters might be attacked from the air, and 20-mile (32km) “secure zone” might be established.
His tweet might be seen as a response to criticism that his choice to withdraw troops will harm the US’s regional allies.
Mr Trump supplied no specifics on how the US might harm Turkey’s financial system, and his announcement appeared to catch his advisers abruptly.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who’s at the moment touring the Center East, responded to questions on Mr Trump’s risk with: “You will need to ask the president… We’ve got utilized financial sanctions in lots of locations, I assume he’s talking about these sorts of issues.”
In the meantime, Turkey’s international minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described Mr Trump’s tweet as a “home coverage message” to critics.
Can the US really harm Turkey’s financial system?
Mr Cavusoglu has rejected Mr Trump’s threats, saying: “We’ve got mentioned a number of instances that we are going to not concern or be deterred by any risk.”
He additionally criticised Mr Trump’s strategies, saying: “Strategic alliances shouldn’t be mentioned over Twitter or social media.”
Nonetheless, US sanctions have had an affect on Turkey’s financial system earlier than.
The Trump administration imposed sanctions and commerce tariffs in August, amid a row over a detained US pastor – contributing to a pointy drop within the worth of the Turkish lira. Pastor Andrew Brunson was launched in October.
In the meantime, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, mentioned Turkey anticipated the US to “honour our strategic partnership”.
“Terrorists cannot be your companions and allies,” he mentioned.
Will they strike a deal to guard Kurdish fighters in Syria?
Over the weekend, earlier than Mr Trump’s newest tweets, Mr Pompeo mentioned he had spoken to Mr Cavusoglu by cellphone and was “optimistic” that an settlement might be reached with Turkey to guard Kurdish fighters.
Mr Pompeo mentioned the US recognised “the Turkish folks’s proper and Mr Erdogan’s proper to defend their nation from terrorists”.
“We additionally know that these combating alongside us for all this time should be protected as properly,” he added.
Mr Erdogan has spoken angrily about American help for the Kurdish YPG militia, and vowed to crush it.
Mr Cavusoglu mentioned Turkey was “not towards” the concept of a safe zone – however was concentrating on “a terrorist organisation attempting to divide Syria”.
How is Mike Pompeo’s Center East tour going?
Mr Pompeo is now in Riyadh, the place he mentioned Iran and the conflicts in Yemen and Syria with the Saudi management.
He mentioned he additionally raised human rights points, together with the detention of girls’s rights activists, and the homicide of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi within the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Mr Pompeo mentioned King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had each “reiterated their dedication” to holding the killers of Mr Khashoggi accountable.
Prosecutors say Mr Khashoggi, a US-based critic of the Saudi authorities, was murdered in a “rogue” operation in Istanbul, by brokers despatched to steer him to return to the dominion.
Nonetheless, many within the West have accused the crown prince of ordering the killing – one thing he has denied.
What number of US troops are in Syria?
About 2,000 US navy personnel are reported to be deployed in northern Syria.
Floor troops first arrived in autumn 2015 when then-President Barack Obama despatched in a small variety of particular forces to coach and advise YPG fighters.
The US did this after a number of makes an attempt at coaching and arming Syrian Arab insurgent teams to battle IS militants descended into chaos.
Over the intervening years, the variety of US troops in Syria has elevated, and a community of bases and airfields has been established in an arc throughout the north-eastern a part of the nation.