Turkey’s Erdoğan to return letter to Trump during Washington visit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that he would take a letter sent by U.S. President Donald Trump with him and return it to his counterpart during his visit to Washington on Nov. 13.

Trump’s letter was sent to Erdoğan on Oct. 9, the date Turkey launched a military incursion into Kurdish-held territories in northern Syria.

Trump warned Erdoğan not be a "tough guy,’’ "devil,’’ and "fool,’’ and threatened “to destroy the Turkish economy” in the letter, which was leaked hours before a U.S. delegation headed by Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Ankara to discuss a ceasefire in northern Syria. 

The U.S. president also told Erdoğan that Kurdish commander Mazloum Kobani was ready to negotiate with Turkey. Kobani, who heads the Syrian Kurdish armed groups targeted in the military operation, is seen by Turkey as a terrorist over links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). 

“We will go to the United States upon Trump’s invitation on Nov. 13,” Hürriyet quoted Erdoğan as saying at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s executive board meeting. 

“Of course, we will take that letter with us,” Erdoğan said. “We will return it. We have things to say to Trump’s face.”

The president said Turkey had already given the necessary response to the letter by launching the military operation in northern Syria two hours after he received Trump’s letter. 

“Normally it was set to start at night or early morning the next day. But the moment the letter arrived, we made the necessary assessment and launched the operation,” Erdoğan said. 

Erdoğan’s comments came after he hinted on Wednesday that he might cancel his trip to Washington after the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted a resolution recognising the Armenian genocide and a bill calling for sanctions on Turkey over its military operation.

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