Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said Friday that President Donald Trump’s letter urging Turkey not to launch a military offensive in northern Syria broke with “diplomatic and political courtesy” and that necessary action will be taken.
“We will not forget this lack of respect. This is not a priority for us. But when the time comes, we would like it to be known that we will take the necessary steps,” Erdogan warned according to British media outlet The Independent.
WATCH: Turkish Pres. Erdogan says Pres. Trump's letter to him "did not go hand-in-hand with political and diplomatic courtesy" and "it would not be right for us to forget it," adding that "we would like for it to be known that we will do what is necessary when the time comes." pic.twitter.com/T3KAS5ZUvW
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 18, 2019
Trump’s letter, dated October 9, the day Erdogan launched an offensive in northeastern Syria against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, Trump urged Erdoğan: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”
The letter was made public Wednesday afternoon ahead of a scheduled meeting in Ankara between Erdoğan and a U.S. delegation led by Vice President Pence to attempt to broker a cease-fire.
“Let’s work out a good deal! 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,” Trump wrote. “I have worked hard to solve some of your problems. Don’t let the world down. You can make a great deal.”
“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,” he said.
“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I’ll call you later,” Trump wrote at the end of the letter.
Wow. #Erdogan tells news conference the letter sent by @realDonaldTrump telling him not to be a ‘tough guy’ wasn’t in line with diplomatic or political customs. He said they wouldn’t forget the lack of respect. “When the time comes necessary steps will be taken” pic.twitter.com/PU9062krr6
— Jon Sopel (@BBCJonSopel) October 18, 2019
In response to the letter, Turkish sources told the BBC that “President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin.”