Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon at a Dallas-area airport, President Trump called the US-announced ceasefire in Turkey an "incredible outcome" that saved lives.
"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," Trump said. "I want to thank everybody. And the other thing I want to 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," the president said.
"Great day for the Kurds. It's really a great day for civilization," the president said.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: 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, have 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 will be taking them off very quickly. As soon as this is finalized but this is an incredible outcome. This outcome is something they have been trying to get for 10 years, everybody--and they couldn't get it. Other administrations, and they never would have 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 are 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 are going to be taken great care of. They are going to be moving around. Moving out of a safe zone, which is something that Turkey has always wanted. The ISIS they call them DISH (PH) 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 will be under very, very powerful and strict control.
And, we've gotten everything we could have ever dreamed of and we are also going to be able to bring our people back home we will be able to have control of ISIS, total--we will be able to do whatever we have to do to get the rest of ISIS wherever they may be. They are never going to be ruling us. And I want to thank everybody.
And, the other thing, I want to 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 they could have never gotten it done. They have been trying to do this for many, many ears. You could have never gotten it cone. 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 are 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 in 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 to have really worked. I mean a lot of people question some of them. I am not questioning anybody. They really did. The Kurds were great. 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.
TRUMP: Well, sanctions won't be necessary because Turkey is doing what they're doing. I didn't need Congress' sanctions because I can do sanctions that are tougher than Congress. And, I was prepared to do that. I--I just want to thank and congratulate though, President Erdogan. 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.
TRUMP: Well, Turkey has a great military power. Turkey is a friend of ours, a neighbor of ours and they are 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 19.5 years. So, this was a great thing for everybody. Turkey is--I really appreciate what they have done. They did the right thing and I have great respect for the president.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) sanctions in place. Doesn't that effectively (INAUDIBLE)?
TRUMP: No. No. If you let this go you would have lost millions of life. 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 have never been able to make this happen. 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 have been very nasty. So, they did things that they wouldn't have done. I just put out everybody agreed to things that three days ago they would have never agreed to. That includes the Kurds. The Kurds are now much more inclined to do what has to be done. Turkey is much more inclined to do what has to be done. Turkey wouldn't have done this three days ago. The Kurds would not have done it three days ago. This is a situation where everybody is happy. And I'm happy because there is no fighting, we can bring certainly most of our people back home for the first time in many years.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you are talking about all this shooting as though it was part of a plan. Are you saying that you planned for these people to attack each other?
TRUMP: No. No. But I do think this, David, I think it had to be an unconventional solution. Because the conventional solution is to sit down, negotiate, and they've done that for 15 years actually. More than that, I understand. And that was never going to work. But all of a sudden when they saw and how nasty it was and how rough it would get. It would get 100 times worse than what was happening. But when they saw the level of nastiness they said, let's make a deal. Everybody together, let's make a deal.
QUESTION: Are you sure this will last more than five days? A lot of (INAUDIBLE) disappear in five days?
TRUMP: I think it's going to last. I think President Erdogan is very smart. I think he wants it to last. He wants safety for his people. Look, say what you want. A lot of bad things happened to Turkey form that district, from that 22 mile stretch. A lot of people in Turkey were killed. So, that's not fair. Nobody likes to mention that. This was a great thing for the Kurds. This was a great thing for Turkey. This is great for everybody. And frankly, the thing that I'm most happy about is that we were--I took a lot of heat but that we were able to do it so fast. I thought this would go on for longer. This was such a smart thing to get it done so fast.
QUESTION: Is President Erdogan still coming next month to the White House?
TRUMP: Well, now I would say that would be very much open. I would say that yeah, he would come. He did a terrific thing. He's a leader. He's a leader. He had to make a decision. A lot of people wouldn't have made that decision because they don't know. They ultimately would have made it but what he did was very smart and it was great for the people of Turkey and you are lucky it was him that was making the decision. I will tell you that.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) anybody in this zone to help monitor this?
TRUMP: Yes. We are going to have people that watch it and most particularly, we are going to have people that are going to be watching ISIS. We will have people watching and ISIS will be largely again, controlled by the Kurds because what a lot of people don't know, most of the areas where ISIS is is outside of the warzone within 22 miles. So, ISIS will be very few have gotten out. Most of them have been recaptured. And what's happened is ISIS is outside of the warzone. So, that's going to be controlled very much by the Kurds with our supervision.
QUESTION: (OFF MIC)
TRUMP: He's going to be very happy. They've spoken to him. The Kurds are very happy. Turkey is very happy. The United States is very happy and, you know what? Civilization is very happy. It's a great thing for civilization. Thank you, everybody.