Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas October 17 1:17 P.M. CDT
Well, thank you very much. I'm very happy to report tremendous success, with respect to Turkey. And I want to thank President Erdoğan. I want to thank our Vice President Mike Pence, our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Great job. All of the people that we sent over the last three days. We sent an early group.
This is an amazing outcome. This is an outcome - regardless of how the press would like to damp it down, this was something that they've been trying to get for 10 years. You would have lost millions and millions of lives. They couldn't get it without a little rough love, as I called it. I just put out - they needed a little bit of that at the beginning. And then everybody said, "Wow, this is tougher than we thought." When those guns start shooting, they tend to do things.
But I will tell you, on behalf of the United States, I want to thank Turkey. I want to thank all of the people that have gotten together and made this happen. This is an incredible outcome.
So you have a 22-mile strip. And for many, many years, Turkey - in all fairness, they've had a legitimate problem with it. They had terrorists. They had a lot of people in there that they couldn't have. They've suffered a lot of loss of lives also. And they had to have it cleaned out. But once you start that, it gets to be to a point where a tremendous amount of bad things can happen.
So a process started and we started to negotiate. And I think that, obviously, the sanctions and tariffs were going to be very biting. I'm glad we don't have to do it. We'll be taking them off very quickly, as soon as this is finalized.
But this is an incredible outcome. This outcome is something they've been trying to get for 10 years - everybody - and they couldn't get it, other administrations. And they never would've been able to get it unless you went somewhat unconventional. I guess I'm an unconventional person.
I took a lot of heat from a lot of people, even some of the people in my own party, but they were there. In the end, they were there. They're all there. Look, this is about the nation. This isn't about Republicans or Democrats. This is about our nation.
So, we have a five-day ceasefire. During that five days, the Kurds and other people - they're going to be taken great care of. They're going to be moving around - moving out of a safe zone, which is something that Turkey has always wanted.
The ISIS - they call them "Daesh," but we call them "ISIS." The ISIS fighters that we have captured, they'll be under very, very strict control of various different groups. But we will be watching, we will be in charge, and they'll be under very, very powerful and strict control. And we've gotten everything we could've ever dreamed of, and we're also going to be able to bring our people back home. But we'll be able to have control of ISIS - total. We'll be able to do whatever we have to do to get the rest of ISIS, wherever they may be. They're never going to be ruling us.
And I want to thank everybody. And the other thing, I want thank - as a group, I want to thank the Kurds because they were incredibly happy with this solution. This is a solution that really - well, it saved their lives, frankly. It saved their lives.
So we've done a great thing for our partner. If we didn't go this unconventional, tough-love approach, you could've never gotten it done. They've been trying to do this for many, many years. You could've never gotten it done.
So, I want to thank everybody. I want to thank everybody back in Washington.
We're in Texas now and we're going to be opening up a phenomenal new plant. One of the greatest men in business - in all of business - is here with us. You know who he is.
And they're opening up a plant in Texas. The first time, I believe - one of the great companies of the world - first time ever in the United States. And then we're having a big rally in Dallas tonight at the American Airlines Center. So we look forward to that. We've been - they've been standing on line for three days, as you know. So it's a record crowd over in Dallas.
But I didn't know it was going to work out this quickly. I didn't know it would work out this well. It's a great day for the United States. It's a great day for Turkey. It's a great day for our partners, who have really worked. I mean, a lot of people questioned some of them; I'm not questioning anybody. They really did. The Kurds were great. It's a great day for the Kurds. It's really a great day for civilization. It's a great day for civilization.
So I just want to thank everybody.
Do you expect Congress now to call off their sanctions effort?
Well, sanctions won't be necessary because Turkey is doing what they're doing. I didn't need Congress for sanctions because I can do sanctions that are tougher than Congress. And I was prepared to do that.
I just want to thank and congratulate though, President Erdoğan. He's a friend of mine and I'm glad we didn't have a problem. Because, frankly, he's a hell of a leader, and he's a tough man. He's a strong man. And he did the right thing, and I really appreciate it. And I will appreciate it in the future.
Mr. President, isn't Turkey getting everything they want from this? Don't they effectively just get control of the safe zone?
Well, Turkey has a great military power. Turkey is a friend of ours, a neighbor of ours, and they're a member of NATO. And what Turkey is getting now is they're not going to have to kill millions of people, and millions of people aren't going to have to kill them.
I mean, this was going to be a war of lots of other groups coming in; this wasn't going to stop with Turkey against the Kurds. A lot of different groups were coming in. We might not have been involved. I don't want to be involved in that kind of a war.
And, by the way, we have the strongest military in the world. But we've been there for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East for nineteen and a half years. So this was a great thing for everybody. And Turkey is - I really appreciate what they've done. They did the right thing. And I have a great respect for the President.
Your decision not to keep any of the sanctions in place - doesn't that effectively let Turkey just get off with no punishment for this incursion?
No. No. If you let this go, you would've lost millions of lives. Don't forget: Your friend, President Obama, lost more than a half a million lives in a very short period in the same reason - region. We've lost very little.
But without that gunfire going back and forth, without those rockets going in both directions, without other countries moving in, and potentially moving in and creating virtually a world war - without all of that happening, you would've never been able to make this deal.
We've tried - we have tried, but everybody has tried to make this deal for 15 years. They could never do it. It was only when it started - people started seeing how nasty it was going to be. It was going to be very nasty. Not only sanctions and tariffs, the war itself would've been very nasty.
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