Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a letter on October 9 from President Trump urging him to make a deal with the Kurds, and threw the letter into the trash bin, according to the BBC.
“You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people,” Trump wrote, “and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will.”
“President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin,” said sources close to the Turkish President.
Trump also wrote that General Mazloum Abdi, commander of the heavily-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, was “willing to make concessions” to Erdogan as part of a hypothetical agreement to prevent the Turkish invasion of northeast Syria.
Erdogan, however, launched the invasion the same day he received the letter.
On October 7, Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Turkish-Syrian border in advance of the planned Turkish operation. Turkey aims to create a “safe zone” in northeast Syria to resettle 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently residing in Turkey, as well as to combat Kurdish groups it considers terrorist organizations.
Some of those groups were instrumental in the U.S.-led fight against ISIS in Syria. The Kurds also fear Turkey is trying to remake the demographics of the region by flooding it with Sunni Arabs.
“We will never declare a ceasefire,” said Erdogan on Wednesday. “They are pressuring us to stop the operation. They are announcing sanctions. Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions.”
Pence was joined on his trip by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.