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Erdogan returns much-mocked 'tough guy' letter to Trump at White House meeting

Erdogan returned the undiplomatic letter to Trump during their Washington meeting [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 November, 2019

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had returned a letter that Donald Trump had previously sent him, in which the US president broke all the rules of diplomatic etiquette.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Wednesday that he had returned a much-mocked letter which Donald Trump had sent him on 9 October, just before the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria.

In the extraordinary letter which broke all the rules of diplomatic etiquette, Trump told Erdogan, "Don't be a tough guy! Don't be a fool!" and warned the Turkish president that he could go down in history as a "devil" for his incursion into northeastern Syria.

Trump also threatened Erdogan, "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".

Erdogan said that he returned the letter to Trump during their meeting at the White House in Washington on Wednesday.

"This letter was re-presented to Mr. President this afternoon," Erdogan told a reporter

Previous reports said that the Turkish leader had thrown the offending letter in the bin. The Turkish presidency said that Erdogan "thoroughly rejected the letter" and Erdogan previously said, "We won't forget this lack of respect".

Read more: Twitter accounts push propaganda photos of Turkish soldiers

The letter was widely ridiculed on social media. Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton posted a parody letter in the same style supposedly sent by John F. Kennedy to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, which said "Don't be a dick, OK? Get your missiles out of Cuba. Everybody will say, 'Yay Khrushchev! You're the best!' But if you don't everybody will be like 'what an asshole'".

At their Wednesday meeting, Trump said that he was a "big fan" of Erdogan and said that he planned to increase trade with Turkey, which he called a "great NATO ally and a strategic partner".

Trump avoided speaking about recent disagreements with Turkey and the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, which was condemned by human rights groups for killing hundreds of people and displacing approximately 275,000.

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