Turkey will not be 'intimidated' by Trump threats over YPG/PKK: Çavuşoğlu

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu pushed back against comments from U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, saying nothing could be achieved by threatening Ankara economically and strategic partners should not communicate over social media.

Turkey on Monday said it would not be intimidated by threats after US President Donald Trump warned of devastating economic consequences over any attack on the YPG/PKK terror group, but indicated Ankara was open to the idea of a security zone in Syria.

"We have said repeatedly we are not scared of and will not be intimidated by any threats," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, adding: "Economic threats against Turkey will get nowhere."

Çavuşoğlu's remarks came in response to Trump's threat to attack Turkey's economy if Ankara hits the terror group PKK/YPG during the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

"Strategic partners" should not communicate through social media, Çavuşoğlu added, in clear reference to the perennially tweeting U.S. leader.

"[The US] Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds," Trump tweeted on Sunday, conflating "Kurds" with the terrorist PKK/YPG, a confusion that Turkey has repeatedly criticized.

He said Turkey was "not against" a "security zone" in Syria, during a press conference in Ankara with his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn.

"We're not against this idea. What is our problem? There is a terror corridor beyond our border. There is a terrorist organization that wants to divide Syria. This terrorist organization poses a threat to us. We are targeting this terrorist organization," he added.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey is not the enemy of the Kurdish people, adding that Kurds should not be equated with terrorist organizations.

He added there is serious pressure on Trump not to withdraw from Syria.

Following the surprise announcement in December that U.S. forces would leave Syria, U.S. officials said withdrawal was conditional on the U.S. not attacking the "Kurds," meaning the terrorist YPG/PKK.

Turkish officials attacked the U.S. conflation of "Kurds" with the terror group, saying a forthcoming Turkish operation in Syria targets a terrorist group which threatens Arabs, Turkmens, and Kurds alike in Syria.

In its 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives. The YPG/PYD is its Syrian branch.

Turkey is doing what is required to maintain peace and prevent violations in Syria's northern Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, Turkey's foreign minister said.

Daesh terrorists have tightened their control over the area following more than a week of fighting with Turkey-backed Syrian rebels.

Çavuşoğlu also said if Idlib becomes a "nest of terrorism", it is the Assad regime's fault for bussing in terrorists from places as far as Daraa in the south.

He added that the Idlib deal reached between Turkey and Russia last September, calling for the "stabilization" of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited, has been "successfully" implemented despite difficult conditions.

Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas where they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing renewed fighting.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.​

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