President Trump demanded that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan end the attacks on northern Syria, as the US announced sanctions against Turkey.
In a letter re-published by just about every media outlet out there, the president appeared to go off-script in pressuring his Turkish counterpart to cease his military action against Kurdish fighters in Syria.
“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” the letter said. “It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”
Following the predictable backlash from pundits in the media due to the “unpresidential” language, Vice President Pence also lent his support.
“President Trump communicated to him very clearly that the United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion, implement an immediate ceasefire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence,” Vice President Pence said.
Vice President Pence, as well as US national security adviser Robert O’Brien, are scheduled to travel to Ankara this week to attempt to negotiate an end to the violence of the war between the countries.
Last week when President Trump removed the US military forces from a section of the Syrian border, Turkey began operations against the Kurds in Syria indicating that the action is a matter of survival for them, and they refuse to tolerate the virtual self-rule that the Kurds are applying to northern Syria.
The recent incursion into northern Syria has caused alarm all over the world, and has created another humanitarian crisis in the region, as tens of thousands of people have had to flee the area for safety While many are quick to blame President Trump, the US has denied that its removal of troops gave the ‘green light’ for the Turkish incursion.
In fact, a senior US official defended the move on Monday saying, “This was not caused by any action of President Trump…nothing we did was going to deter the Turks from what they wanted to do. President Erdogan was going to act regardless.”
In recent developments, Pence’s office announced Tuesday that Pence would lead a U.S. delegation including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and the special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, to Ankara in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to stop his attack of the region.
On Tuesday, however, Erdogan said that he would not declare a cease-fire in northeast Syria. “They say ‘declare a cease-fire.’ We will never declare a cease-fire,” Erdogan told reporters. “They are pressuring us to stop the operation. They are announcing sanctions. Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions,” he added.
The Turkish leader appeared insulted and made this statement (via a translator) concerning the scheduled visits, “I’m not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I’ll be talking.”
Pence’s goal is to convince the Turkish leader to agree to an immediate ceasefire. He plans to reiterate President Trump’s commitment to the stiff economic sanctions on Turkey until a resolution is reached.
Erdogan told reporters on Wednesday that he will evaluate whether to visit the U.S. next month after the meetings with the American delegation this week.
President Trump is ready to be out of Syria and wants our troops to come home. “We want to bring our soldiers back home after so many years, and they’re the greatest warriors in the world. They’re policing. They’re not a police force,” said the president.