Turkey will not bow to threats over its Syria plans, the Turkish vice president said Tuesday in an apparent response to President Donald Trump’s warning to Ankara the previous day about the scope of its planned military incursion into northeastern Syria. Mr. Trump said earlier this week the United States would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have fought alongside Americans for years, but he then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far.
The U.S. president later cast his decision to abandon the Kurdish fighters in Syria as fulfilling a campaign promise to withdraw from “endless war” in the Middle East, even as Republican critics and others said he was sacrificing a U.S. ally and undermining American credibility.
Mr. Trump’s statements have reverberated on all sides of the divide in Syria and the Mideast.
Mr. Trump insisted in new tweets on Tuesday that, “in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds,” while also lauding “very good” relations with “big trading partner” Turkey.
In Ankara, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Turkey was intent on combating Syrian Kurdish fighters across its border in Syria and on creating a zone that would allow Turkey to resettle Syrian refugees there.
“Where Turkey’s security is concerned, we determine our own path but we set our own limits,” Oktay said.
CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin said U.S. officials expect to get a warning at least 24 hours before any Turkish incursion into northern Syria, and as of Tuesday morning they had seen no indication that such action was imminent in the coming day.