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Trump threatens Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks Syrian Kurd militia

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 14, 2019 - Duration: 01:43s

Trump threatens Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks Syrian Kurd militia

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia in Syria, weakening the Turkish lira and prompting sharp criticism from Ankara on Monday.

Emily Wither reports.

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Trump threatens Turkey with economic devastation if it attacks Syrian Kurd militia

President Trump has gone after Turkey's economy, again, and is warning to unleash quote "economic devastation" on his NATO ally if they attack the Kurdish fighters backed by the U.S. in Syria.

The remarks on Twitter alone immediately weakened the Turkish lira and prompted sharp criticism from Ankara.

SOUNDBITE (Turkish) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU SAYING: "We had said several times that we are not going to be afraid of any threat and will not bow down to it." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, EMILY WITHER, SAYING: "Those remarks from Trump caused Turkey's lira to slide as much 1.6 percent against the dollar.

And it comes at a time when Turkey's economy is at risk of sliding in to a recession many here will remember that last year's diplomatic crisis between the two countries helped push the lira to a record low last August after Trump imposed sanctions on two of President Erdogan's ministers and raised tariffs on Turkish metal exports.

It does beg the question of whether we could be heading for another tit for tat trade war." Relations have been chilled ever since the U.S. decided to back the Kurdish YPG in the fight against Islamic State.

Turkey views the group as terrorists and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK.

It's all come to a head since Trump announced he was pulling troops out of Syria.

Questions remain about the fate of the Kurdish fighters and what happens to the weapons given to them by the States.

Trump also suggested a 20-mile safe zone but hasn't given any further details about what that would mean.

Turkey's foreign minister said he wasn't against the idea of a "secure zone" along the border.

But also added that strategic partners should not communicate policy over social media.

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