President vows to destroy Turkish economy if Syria invasion is not resolved humanely, but brash language and diplomatic missteps draw confusion

Donald Trump warned his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoan dont be a fool and said history risked branding him a devil in an extraordinary letter sent the day Turkey launched its incursion into north-eastern Syria.

The letter, first obtained by a Fox Business reporter, was shorn of diplomatic niceties and began with an outright threat.

Lets work out a good deal! Trump wrote in the letter dated 9 October, whose authenticity was confirmed to various news outlets by the White House.

Days after appearing to greenlight an invasion by pulling US troops from the Kurdish-dominated region, Trump told the Turkish president he would wreck Ankaras economy if the invasion went too far.

You dont want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I dont want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy and I will, he wrote.

History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way, Trump continued. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things dont happen.

Dont be a tough guy. Dont be a fool! he finished, adding: I will call you later.

The Trump letter to Erdoan. Photograph: White House/Reuters

International and domestic reaction was for the most part incredulous.

Erdoan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin, Turkish presidential sources told the BBC on Thursday. There was no immediate comment from Turkish officials on the BBC report.

The Kremlin questioned the letters tone. You dont often encounter such language in correspondence between heads of state. Its a highly unusual letter, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

In the US, many at first questioned the letters legitimacy. Some called it a joke and an embarrassment.

Brian Schatz (@brianschatz)

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