Business Insider Edition

Turkey's president gave Donald Trump back a wild, threatening letter he wrote warning him against being 'a fool' and 'the devil' in Syria

Sahar Esfandiari , Business Insider US
 Nov 15, 2019, 07:04 AM
Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump in the White House Oval Office in December 2017.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he returned an outlandish letter sent to him by President Donald Trump ahead of the US pullout in Syria.
  • The letetr, from early October, urged Erdogan in strong terms not avoid slaughter in northern Syria amid a Turkish offensive. He threatened to tank the Turkish economy if Erdogan did not comply.
  • The letter - a stark departure from diplomatic norms - prompted a lot of criticism. Turkish sources told media outlets that it had been thrown in the trash.
  • However, Erdogan appears to have kept the letter instead. "This letter was re-presented to the President this afternoon," Erdogan said in a press conference Wednesday.
  • View Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he gave back a wild letter from President Donald Trump which warned him not to be a "fool" and "the devil" in Syria last month.

During a visit to The White House on Wednesday, Erdogan was asked why he "ignored" a letter sent to him by Trump in October which urged him to strike a deal with Kurdish forces in northern Syria, rather than invading.

"This letter was re-presented to the President this afternoon," Erdogan responded to the reporter.

It revived the diplomatic spat over the letter, which shocked many for its forthright language, and an explicit threat from Trump to tank Turkey's economy if Erdogan displeased him.

A copy of the letter can be seen in the tweet below:

Turkish sources at the time told media outlets, including the BBC, that the letter had been thrown in the trash.

At the press conference, Erdogan claimed that Turkey's military intervention in Northern Syria was a move against terrorism. Turkey regards Kurdish fighters in the region as terrorists, on account of links with Kurdish separatist groups within Turkey.

Erdogan's military intervention in the region was widely condemned after evidence suggesting possible war crimes against the Kurdish population emerged. The United Nations estimated that 200,000 people have been displaced.

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