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Trump threatens to 'totally destroy' Turkey's economy if it does anything 'off-limits' in Syria

The US President cited his “great and unmatched wisdom” in deciding what is “off limits”.

Image: Evan Vucci

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has threatened to “obliterate” Turkey’s economy if Ankara does anything that he, in his “great and unmatched wisdom”, considers to be “off-limits” following the withdrawal of US troops from north-east Syria.

Trump issued the warning to its NATO ally in an extraordinary pair of Tweets this afternoon after the White House announced that US forces will be pulled away from Turkish-Syrian border areas.

The withdrawal decision appeared to give Turkey a clear path to attack its longtime Kurdish enemies, even though they have been fighting alongside the US against Islamic State militants in Syria.

The subsequent tweets appeared to signal a climb-down, following a flurry of criticism from his own Republican party that he was betraying the Kurdish guerrillas.

“If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off-limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” he wrote.

The diplomatic and political turmoil first erupted yesterday when the White House announced that it was removing troops in the Syria-Turkey border area and that “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria.”

That came shortly after a phone call between Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has long wanted to target the Kurdish militias operating in Syria.

Until now that had been impossible because they were working closely with US troops against ISIS, a campaign that Trump says is now completed.

Trump appeared to have miscalculated regarding the ferocity of the response from his own party.

A top ally, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, warned that Turkey would face sanctions if it invades Syria – and in a rare message of defiance against Trump he tweeted that the sanctions would get “veto-proof” support in Congress.

With reporting by AFP

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Ceimin Burke

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