Earlier today, the President of the United States issued a warning to Turkey and European countries to keep track of their ISIS fighters.  The tweet comes as the United States is pulling out of involvement in Syria, allowing Turkey to expand its influence over the north of the country, including Kurdish-controlled areas. The Kurds have largely relied on US presence in the area in order to deter Turkish expansion. While the tweet is belligerent in tone, the Turkish Government will surely be delighted with American withdrawal from the region.

The tweet read:

As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!

 

Criticism of the US position has come from both sides of Congress, with widespread condemnation of the abandonment of Rojava, the Kurdish region of northern Syria.

Lindsay Graham, Senator for North Carolina tweeted that:

  • It is never wise to abandon an ally who has sacrificed on your behalf.
  • It is never wise to repeat the mistakes of your predecessor.
  • It is never wise to outsource American national security to Turkey or any other nation.
  • Turkey does not have the capability to keep ISIS from re-emerging and their primary target is the Kurds – not ISIS.
  • It would be unwise to believe otherwise.

There was criticism also from the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

President Trump’s decision is a gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS, and a staggering betrayal of the Kurdish forces who have been America’s good and faithful partners. He has again ignored the advice of experts and jeopardized our national security in favor of appeasing Turkey’s strongman President Erdogan. Giving Turkey the green light to charge into Syria paves the way for a bloodbath that will make an already volatile situation worse. To do this after looking the other way on Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 from Russia is even more egregious.

Abandoning our Syrian Kurdish partners also opens the door to a resurgence of ISIS. The Kurds have thousands of ISIS detainees under their watch. Now, the fate of those fighters is dangerously up in the air.

And around the world, this decision sends the message to partners and adversaries alike that the United States won’t keep its word and can’t be trusted. At President Trump’s hands, American leadership has been laid low and American foreign policy has become nothing more than a tool to advance his own interests. It’s absolutely disgraceful.

But there was support certain libertarians and non-interventionists on the right, including Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky, who wrote:

I stand with @realDonaldTrump today as he once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy.

There was no immediate response on Twitter from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

 

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