Abrupt withdrawal from Syria renews Trump Tower Istanbul criticisms

Last night, the White House announced that the U.S. would pull out of northern Syria, allow Turkey to invade, and make Turkey responsible for the nearly 60,000 ISIS imprisoned there.

The move immediately sparked outcry over the U.S. abandoning its Kurdish allies, who have been a key in the fight against ISIS. A Kurdish representative called the decision a “stab in the back” and vowed to fight a Turkish invasion

(Turkey considers the Kurds to be terrorists.)

Turkey cast the move as a means of resettling up to two million refugees who fled there to escape the Syrian civil war. The Kurdish believe that this is a ruse for an invasion.

The announcement also resurfaced criticisms of Trump Towers Istanbul. Many believe Trump’s interest in the towers violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits elected leaders from receiving economic benefits from foreign governments.

Ivanka Trump’s 2012 tweet thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for attending the opening of towers began making the rounds soon after the announcement.

(Erdogan was prime minister from 2003-2014.)

Among those joining the outcry were Nikki Haley, formerly Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Trump’s previous plan to withdraw from Syria led then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign.

On Twitter, Graham lambasted the withdrawal as outsourcing the fight against ISIS to Russia, Iran, and Turkey, which he believes will lead to the resurgence of ISIS, allow Iran to exercise unfettered control over Syria, and eventually create a “nightmare” for Israel.

He also said that abandoning the Kurds sends “the most dangerous signal possible — America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways.”

Graham later announced that he was introducing sanctions against Turkey if it invades Syria and attacks America’s Kurdish allies.

Trump, for his part, took the uproar with his usual aplomb.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!” he said in a pair of tweets.

This morning, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights warned that a Turkish invasion could create “millions” more refugees.

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Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.