Turkey's Erdogan says he 'can't keep track' of Trump tweets on Syria

Turkey's Erdogan says he 'can't keep track' of Trump tweets on Syria
Donald Trump has been ferociously tweeting on the Turkish-led offensive on Syria over the past week.
2 min read
16 October, 2019
Erdogan and Trump have locked horns on Syria [Getty]
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he "can't keep track" of tweets from his US counterpart Donald Trump about Ankara's military offensive in northern Syria.

"When we take a look at Mr Trump's Twitter posts, we can no longer follow them. We cannot keep track," Erdogan told journalists this week.

His comment follow a week of ferocious tweeting by Trump on the US troop pull-out from northern Syria, as Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) troops launched a cross-border offensive into areas controlled by Kurdish forces.

Trump has been tweeting hot-and-cold on the subject, with his earlier announcement of withdrawing American troops viewed as giving Ankara a green light to launch Operation Peace Spring.

"The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE," were among Trump's tweets last week, signalling a US withdrawal from the region.

Since then, Trump has also threatened to sanction Turkey over the military operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces, the one-time ally of the US in the fight against the Islamic State group.

"Big sanctions on Turkey coming! Do people really think we should go to war with NATO member Turkey? Never ending wars will end!" Trump tweeted.

Despite the threat, Trump spoke with Erdogan by phone this week about the military offensive.

The Turkish president shared an anecdote from this phone call with journalists.

"I told Trump: 'You get very angry with the media from time to time. You are now under their influence. Don't listen to them, you are a strong leader. This does not befit a strong leader'," he said, according to the Turkish daily Yeni Safak.

Trump has faced criticism from the media and politicians over the US "betrayal" of Washington's one-time ally - the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces - in the battle against the IS.

Despite the pull-out of American troops from Syria, the US will bolster its military presence in the Gulf region where tensions have been increasing between Iran and some of Washington's Arab allies.