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Trump’s threats froze Turkey on its tracks

Turkey’s optimism about Trump greenlighting an invasion of Syria vanished within hours after the threats made by US president via Twitter, which shocked the Turkish financial markets.

The Turkish lira in just one hour was depreciated 2.1% against the dollar and 2.2% against the euro, as soon as news of Trump’s threats to the Turkish economy was released.

Political analysts cannot explain the developments as they stress that “only Trump and Erdogan know what they have talked about and what they have agreed to, if they have agreed at anything”.

On Monday morning everything was going well

In the morning of the same day there was a completely different atmosphere in Ankara. Prior to his trip to Serbia, Erdogan announced that he would travel to Washington in the first half of November to meet with Trump.

“After our telephone conversation with the US president, the process of withdrawing their forces has begun, as promised”, the Turkish president said.

At the same time, he left open the possibility of an immediate invasion of Syria. “As you know we had said something. Suddenly we can come one night. We are determined because it is not possible to accept the threats of terrorist organizations against our country”, he said.

Mevlut Cavusoglu’s message on Twitter was along the same lines, saying that “since the beginning of the crisis, we have supported the territorial integrity of Syria and will continue to do so. We are determined to ensure the survival and security of Turkey by clearing the region of terrorists. We will contribute to calm, peace and stability in Syria”.

The Turkish government, however, has sent a letter to the House requesting the renewal of previous authorization for military operations across the border, so that the Turkish army has the institutional cover to create a security zone.

The document will be debated in the Turkish parliament today and will be extended for one year.

Turkey’s goal: Getting rid of the refugees and creating a wall between the Kurds

There are two main reasons Ankara wants to invade northern Syria.

The first reason is the refugee problem. Opinion polls in the ruling party show that AKP voters, who come mostly from the lower social strata, are now reacting to the presence of refugees. Hundreds of Turkish jobs have been lost as Syrian refugees agree to work for less money. This results in a sharp decline in the ruling party’s percentage. The deportation of 2-3 million refugees from Turkey with their deployment in northern Syria is believed to give Erdogan and his staff a big political respite.

The second reason is that for years now it has not sit well with Turkey the fact that the YPG/PYD Kurdish militia controls northern Syria. The US has aided the Kurds in fighting ISIS, and this situation raises concerns in Ankara. With the formation of a security zone, Turkey will create a “wall” between the Kurds of Turkey and those of Syria who regard them as an offshoot of PKK and designate them as terrorists.

The question that is lurking in all of Turkey’s political wells is if the US will withdraw its forces and give Turkey space in Syria, what will the return be. Some have been talking about the possibility of Turkey purchasing the Patriot system and the subsequent storage of the Russian S-400s, but also the purchase of the F-35s.

Of course, two factors are unknown in these scenarios. Moscow’s position on these developments as it supports Syria’s territorial integrity and what transpired in the talk between Trump and Erdogan./ibna

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