Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire after a meeting with a U.S. delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The cease-fire will allow Kurdish fighters to leave the region, and Turkish troops to permanently cease military action in northern Syria.
“Earlier this week President Trump took decisive action to call on Turkish forces to stand down, to end the violence, to agree to negotiations,” Pence told reporters during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey. “And today I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America, that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria.”
The agreement came after several hours of talks between the high-level delegation and Erdogan. The cease-fire, for120 hours, will allow Kurdish forces to leave the safe zone in Syria.
“Once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent cease-fire, and the United States of America will work with Turkey, will work with nations around the world, to ensure that peace and stability is the order of the day.”
“The president made it clear that we’re not going to have military personnel on the ground, but the United States will continue to engage diplomatically, politically and, of course, in humanitarian aid and support to affect all of the people affected in this region,” Pence said.
President Trump tweeted that it’s a “great day for civilization.”
“This is a great day for civilization,” Trump wrote. “I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary but somewhat unconventional path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!”
This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
Trump spoke to reporters in Texas, saying he wanted to “thank and congratulate President Erdogan,” calling the Turkish leader “a friend of mine.”
“I’m glad we didn’t have a problem because frankly, he’s a hell of a leader, and he’s a tough man,” said the president. “He’s a strong man, and he did the right thing, and I really appreciate it, and I will appreciate it in the future.”
Last Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stood behind President Trump, despite sharp criticism from both sides of the House to the president’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
“The good news is [that] President Trump is going to intervene with the Congress in a way to punish Erdogan unlike any time in Turkey’s life. I hate this, but he brought it on himself,” Graham said. “I blame Turkey. There is going to be crippling sanctions imposed by the Congress to supplement what President Trump’s administration has done.”
“We are going to send a signal to Turkey that is unmistakable in the eyes of Erdogan and the world, and we’re going to break his economy until he stops the bloodshed,” Graham added.
Shortly after his decision, to withdraw troops, announced on Oct. 12, President Trump sent a letter to Erdogan, warning him of dire consequences should he not heed the president’s warning.
The letter stated: “You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy—and I will,” Trump wrote.
“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way,” the president continued. “It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”
Turkey has not only agreed to a cease-fire during the meeting on Thursday with the U.S. delegation, but has also agreed to help the United States in continuing to fight ISIS in the region, and “coordinate efforts on detention facilities.”