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Rep. Waters Statement on Trump’s Abandonment of US-backed Kurds in Syria

October 7, 2019
Press Release

Rep. Waters Statement on Trump’s Abandonment of US-backed Kurds in Syria

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement in response to the White House statement endorsing a Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria against Kurdish forces backed by the United States,[1] which followed a phone call between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.[2] The Congresswoman’s statement follows: 

“Donald Trump’s endorsement of a Turkish military operation against US-allied Kurds in Syria is another example of his appeasement of dictators. 

“The Kurds have been a reliable ally to the United States against the ISIS terrorists in Syria.  If the United States abandons the Kurds, these courageous allies will never trust us again. 

“Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds is a gift to Russia, Iran and ISIS.[3]  It strengthens the position of the brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad – who is backed by Trump’s friend and America’s enemy, Vladimir Putin – and it risks exacerbating the brutal, eight-year long war in Syria.[4]  It also jeopardizes the status of an estimated 80,000 ISIS terrorist fighters currently held in Kurdish prisons.[5]

“Trump’s acquiescence to Turkish military action in Syria will encourage Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to attack the Kurdish population in Syria just as he has repressed the Kurdish population inside Turkey.  According to Human Rights Watch’s 2019 World Report, the Turkish government ‘continued its repressive measures against elected parliamentarians, mayors and municipalities from pro-Kurdish parties’ throughout 2018, and several elected officials from pro-Kurdish parties have been subjected to prolonged detention on politically motivated charges.[6] 

“Trump knows that Erdogan is a brutal dictator with a deplorable human rights record.  According to the U.S. State Department’s 2018 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey, human rights issues in Turkey include ‘reports of arbitrary killing, suspicious deaths of persons in custody; forced disappearances; torture; arbitrary arrest and detention of tens of thousands of persons, including opposition members of parliament, lawyers, journalists, foreign citizens, and three Turkish-national employees of the U.S. Mission to Turkey.’[7]  Erdogan’s security guards even attacked peaceful demonstrators outside of the residence of the Turkish ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC, who were protesting his visit to the United States in May, 2017.[8]

“When will Donald Trump stop coddling to dictators?”