President Donald Trump issued a threat to NATO ally Turkey while defending his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria.
“Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions,” he said on Twitter late Sunday. “Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….”
The White House, State Department and Pentagon did not respond to CNBC requests for comment or elaboration at the time of publication.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded, saying that nothing could be achieved with economic threats and that partner nations shouldn’t communicate over social media, Reuters reported Monday. The minister added that Trump’s Syria tweets stemmed from domestic politics.
American support for Kurdish militias in Syria has been a major thorn in relations between Washington and Ankara, as the latter views the Kurds as terrorists and a threat to their security.