Turkey says it will not be 'intimidated' by Trump's threats

File photo of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 14, 2019, 03.53 PM (IST)

Turkey said Monday it would not be intimidated by threats after US President Donald Trump warned the country of economic devastation if it attacked Kurdish forces.

"We have said repeatedly we are not scared of and will not be intimidated by any threats," news agency AFP quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying. 

Trump had on Sunday issued a warning to Turkey (on Twitter) that he "will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds."

"Economic threats against Turkey will get nowhere," Cavusoglu replied Monday.

Cavusoglu added on Monday, he was speaking at a press conference in Ankara with his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn, that Turkey was "not against" a "security zone" in Syria as suggested by Trump. 

"Create 20-mile safe zone..." Trump had suggested on Twitter. 

×
×

Trump, however, did not detail who would create, enforce or pay for the safe zone, or where it would be located.

"Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey," the US president added in another tweet.

US-led operations against IS in Syria have been spearheaded on the ground by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Ankara sees the backbone of that alliance, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

On Saturday, more than 600 people were evacuated from the remaining IS holdout in eastern Syria, a monitor said, as US-backed fighters prepare for a final assault on the area.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman said that several dozen jihadist fighters were among those evacuated to areas held by the Kurdish-Arab alliance. 

Abdel Rahman said some 16,000 people, including 760 IS fighters, have fled the area since the start of December, though this marked the first time the SDF and the coalition provided buses, suggesting a deal struck between the warring sides.

(With inputs from agencies)

Story highlights

'Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,' Trump had said on Sunday. 'Economic threats against Turkey will get nowhere,' Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu replied Monday.