Turkey’s Erdogan ‘threw Trump’s Syria letter in bin’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put US President Donald Trump’s letter “in the bin”, the BBC has been told.
In the letter dated 9 October, and sent after US troops were pulled out of Syria, Mr Trump told Mr Erdogan: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”
President Trump was urging Turkey not to launch a military offensive against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria, but Mr Erdogan ignored this request.
US Vice President Mike Pence is now in Ankara to push for a ceasefire.
The US has faced intense criticism for the withdrawal of troops, which critics say gave Turkey the green light to launch the military attack.
In recent years, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance has been a critical ally to the US in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
There are fears that the destabilisation of northern Syria could lead to a jihadist resurgence.
The SDF is dominated by the members of a Kurdish militia called the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey says the YPG is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a rebel group fighting for Kurdish autonomy in the region.
In his letter to President Erdogan, Mr Trump wrote: “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.
“History will look upon you favourably 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.”