Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discarded a letter from President Donald Trump who urged him not to be a “tough guy” or a “fool”, according to the BBC.
Trump sent a letter to Erdoğan on October 9 in which he urged the Turkish president to hold off the attacks against Kurdish forces in the region, following the U.S. withdrawal in the northeast of Syria. The Turkish president ignored the request, and Trump has since claimed the Turkish offensive “has nothing to do with us.”
“President Erdoğan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin,” Turkish presidential sources told the BBC, adding that he launched the invasion the same day.
The letter was made public Wednesday afternoon ahead of a scheduled meeting in Ankara between Erdoğan and a U.S. delegation led by Vice President Pence to attempt to broker a ceasefire.
“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,” the letter states, citing sanctions on Ankara over the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson as a “little sample” of how the U.S. would respond.
Trump has denied the U.S. withdrawal served as a “green light” for Erdoğan to move into northern Syria, telling reporters Wednesday that Turkey has “been wanting to do that for years and, frankly, they’ve been fighting for many, many years.”