President Donald Trump wrote Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an extraordinary letter warning him not to be “a tough guy” or “a fool” as his forces launched their attack on northern Syria, a White House official confirmed to NBC News.
“Dear Mr. President,” the Oct. 9 letter began, “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.”
Trump then referred to economic sanctions his administration used on the country to push for the release of an American pastor who’d been locked up in Turkey, calling it “a little sample” of what could be in store.
“I have worked hard to solve some of your problems. Don’t let the world down. You can make a great deal,” Trump wrote, asserting that the commander of the Kurdish forces is “willing to negotiate with you.”
“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” Trump wrote to Erdogan. “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!”
“I will call you later,” the letter concludes. It’s signed, “Sincerely, Donald Trump.”