Just one day after President Donald Trump threatened on Twitter to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if the country mounts an assault on Kurds in northern Syria, he took to Twitter again to sing Turkey’s praises.
The president also lauded the country for releasing an evangelical minister in 2018 who had been detained there for two years: “They have also been good to deal with, helping me to save many lives at Idlib Province, and returning, in very … good health, at my request, Pastor Brunson, who had many years of a long prison term remaining.”
Also included in the tweets was Trump’s announcement that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be “coming to the U.S. as my guest” on Nov. 13 — a meeting that had been expected in the coming weeks.
Trump’s defense of Turkey came after widespread, bipartisan criticism of his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria, which his detractors say will put the U.S.-allied Kurds — who have been instrumental in America’s fight against ISIS in the region — at risk of decimation by Turkey.
The move followed a phone call between Trump and Erdogan on Sunday regarding Turkey’s planned incursion into northern Syria.
Following immediate criticism at home, even from some of his most ardent supporters, Trump insisted that the U.S. continues to support the Kurdish forces and threatened to “totally obliterate and destroy” Turkey’s economy if the country “does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits.”
On Tuesday morning, the president tweeted: “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,” adding, “We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!”