By Monday afternoon, as members of his own party slammed the decision, Trump said without offering specifics: “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.”
Then, on Tuesday morning, Trump defended Turkey and its close relationship with the United States.
“So many people conveniently forget that Turkey is a big trading partner of the United States, in fact they make the structural steel frame for our F-35 Fighter Jet,” he tweeted.
“Also remember, and importantly, that Turkey is an important member in good standing of NATO. He is coming to the U.S. as my guest on November 13th. #ENDENDLESSWARS,” he added, referring to Erdogan.
Trump then went on to defend his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, a move that would pave the way for Turkey to launch a long-threatened offensive that many worry could crush the U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria. Trump said on Twitter that “in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters.”
Critics also worry that Trump’s plan could result in the Islamic State regaining strength in the region.
But Trump insisted that his administration would continue to help the Kurds.
“Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully understands that while we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency,” he tweeted. “We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!”