Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “thoroughly rejected” a letter from President Trump urging him not to be a “tough guy” or a “fool” as Turkey prepared to launch a military offensive in northern Syria and reportedly threw it in the trash, according to the BBC.
In the letter dated Oct. 9, the day Erdogan launched an offensive in northeastern Syria against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, Trump urged Erdoğan not to launch an incursion into the region against Kurdish forces that the U.S. had backed against ISIS.
“President Erdoğan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin,” Turkish presidential sources told the BBC, adding that he launched the invasion the same day.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: I have obtained a copy of @realDonaldTrump’s letter to #Erdogan. @POTUS warns him to not “be a tough guy! Don’t be a fool!” Says he could destroy Turkey’s economy if #Syria is not resolved in a humane way. Details tonight at 8pm #TrishRegan #FoxBusiness pic.twitter.com/9BoSGlbRyt
— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) October 16, 2019