Trump threatens Turkey

The plans for US troops to withdraw from Syria have led to major tensions between Washington and Ankara. US President Donald Trump threatened the Turks with "economic devastation" if they attacked the Kurdish troops in northern Syria after the US withdrawal. Commentators discuss how fragile the relations between the two Nato partners have become.

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Adevărul (RO) /

Rules among allies violated

One Nato state's threatening another constitutes a breach of taboo, Adevărul writes:

“The signal from the US is that Trump could damage the Turkish economy to defend the Kurds. But by sending this signal he's violating all the written and unwritten laws of military alliances, whose goal is to avoid conflicts between partners. These laws are extremely important and have been worked out over decades in order to guarantee that the alliance functions not just in good times, but also when tensions arise. ... Does Trump's message indicate that all that could change? Yes, say the Turks, when they state that the American president has committed a 'fatal mistake'.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

A tweet has already been fatal for Ankara

Trump's foreign policy is not only annoying for Ankara but is actually dangerous, the Süddeutsche Zeitung believes:

“When the two countries were fighting over the release of a priest, a tweet by the US president triggered a currency crisis in Turkey. This time too, the lira dropped as soon as Trump threatened via Twitter to 'devastate the Turkish economy'. Erdoğan has sent tanks to the Syrian border in a show of strength. Economically, however, his country is deeply vulnerable.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Revive the peace process with the Kurds

Turkey's interests would be best served by a reconciliation with the PKK in Turkey and with the YPG militias in Syria, The Guardian writes:

“Ankara's long-term approach to the Kurdish question in Syria would be to go back to the 2014 peace process aimed at ending its conflict with the PKK. That could still be revitalised down the line and provide a lasting solution. ... Turkey lacks the capacity to suppress the YPG in eastern Syria (it has attempted, and failed, to defeat the PKK within and across its borders without success for decades). ... A compromise is not beyond reach. The US, Turkey and YPG all stand to lose if Assad and his backers take control of the east.”