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Trump letter to Erdogan: ‘Don’t be a fool’

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 10, 2018 (FILES) In this file photo taken on July 10, 2018 US President Donald Trump (2ndR) speaks with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) during a working dinner in Brussels, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit. - The US warned Thursday it would levy more sanctions on the troubled Turkish economy if Ankara does not soon release a jailed American pastor described by President Donald Trump as a "hostage." (Photo by BENOIT DOPPAGNE / POOL / AFP)

“Don’t be a fool,” Donald Trump warned his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an extraordinary letter sent the day Turkey launched its incursion into northeastern Syria — warning history risked branding him a “devil”.

Three days after appearing to greenlight an invasion by pulling US troops from the Kurdish-dominated region, Trump told the Turkish president he would wreck Ankara’s economy if the invasion went too far.

This image widely distributed on Social Media on October 16, 2019 in Washington DC shows the letter sent on October 9 by Us President Donald Trump to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning of economic sanctions after the Turkish intervention in Northern Syria. The White House confirmed the authenticity of the letter. (Photo by – / Social Media / AFP)

This image widely distributed on social media on October 16 in Washington DC shows the letter sent on October 9 by Trump to Erdogan warning of economic sanctions after the Turkish intervention in Northern Syria. The White House confirmed the authenticity of the letter. — AFP
In language shorn of diplomatic niceties, Trump began with an outright threat.

“Let’s work out a good deal,” Trump wrote in the letter dated October 9.

“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.”

“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” Trump said.

“It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen.”

The US leader told Erdogan a “great deal” was possible if he negotiated with the head of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Abdi, whom Turkey has labelled a “terrorist” for his ties to the Kurdish PKK militants in Turkey.

“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool,” he finished, adding: “I will call you later.”

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