Global markets remained unstirred and the Turkish lira saved its positions against the U.S. dollar Monday despite sanctions threats by U.S. President Donald Trump over Turkey’s operation in Syria.
The lira was trading around 5.91 against the dollar before Trump published the statement on his Twitter account. It recovered from 5.9315 earlier in the day.
Trump on Monday said that in response to Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in Syria he will soon issue an executive order authorizing sanctions against current and former Turkish officials, stopping negotiations with Turkey on a $100 billion trade deal, and boosting tariffs on Turkish steel to 50 percent.
In a statement in which he vowed to swiftly destroy the Turkish economy if it continues down “this dangerous and destructive path,” Trump also said that U.S. troops coming out of Syria will redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation.
The president said he had issued an executive order to allow sanctions on sitting and former Turkish officials — although he has apparently not yet imposed them — and was immediately ending talks on a US-Turkey trade deal.
He said he was reimposing 50 percent tariffs on Turkish steel — one of a series of measures used last year to win the release of a detained US pastor which contributed to a plunge in the value of the country’s lira currency.
Minutes before the sanctions statement, Trump reiterated his reluctance to protect Syria’s borders and invited others to do it.
In a series of tweets, Trump said he had defeated “100%” of Daesh and largely moved U.S. troops out of Syria. Criticizing critics urging action to protect the PKK/YPG terror group at Syria’s northern border, Trump said the U.S. is thousands of miles away and won’t protect the “land of our enemy,” meaning Syria.
“Some people want the United States to protect the 7,000 mile away Border of Syria, presided over by Bashar al-Assad, our enemy,” Trump tweeted amid Turkey’s ongoing military operation in northern Syria against the PKK/YPG terror group to create a safe zone for millions of displaced Syrians abroad.
“I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad to protect the land of our enemy?” he said, adding that he couldn’t care less who protects who in Syria.
“Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds [referring to PKK/YPG terrorists] is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!” Trump said.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK’s Syrian offshoot the People’s Protection Units (YPG), on October 9 at 4 p.m.
The operation, conducted in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.
The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.