Thursday, 17 October, 2019

US House Republicans to Seek Sanctions on Turkey Over Kurd Offensive

The order came as the Trump administration stepped up its criticism of Turkey's military operation against US-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters amid harsh criticism of US President Donald Trump's failure to prevent the incursion US threatens Turkey with 'very significant' sanctions
Ginger Lawrence | 12 October, 2019, 08:45

President Donald Trump is set to authorize sanctions against Turkey over its operation in northern Syria against USA -backed Kurdish forces.

"We can not tolerate the development of a terror corridor on the southern border of Turkey", a senior Turkish official said.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said late on Friday that Turkey would retaliate to any steps against its efforts to fight terrorism, in response to the announcement of possible US sanctions against the country, after it launched an offensive in Syria.

"We are not activating the sanctions", Mnuchin said.

President Donald Trump is trying to get ahead of a bipartisan effort in Congress to sanction Turkey after his order to withdraw USA troops from the northeast Syrian border paved the way for Ankara's offensive against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units. He said now that ISIS had been defeated, there was no reason for US troops to remain.

Mnuchin called the executive order "very significant" and "any person associated with the government of Turkey, any portion of the government" could be targeted.

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Turkey says these Kurdish forces are affiliated with the PKK, a Kurdish group in Turkey that the US has designated as a terrorist organization.

Trump issued his preliminary menace on Twitter on Monday.

"We oppose and are greatly disappointed by Turkey's decision to launch a unilateral military incursion into northern Syria", Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Friday news conference.

The executive order will empower Treasury to sanction individuals and entities involved in human rights abuses or in undermining security in northern Syria.

Trump has vacillated on Syria after fierce criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over his decision. European Union diplomats said EU sanctions at this time are unlikely despite their anger and alarm.

"The president is concerned about the ongoing military offensive and potential targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure, ethnic or religious minorities and also the president wants to make very clear it is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape", he said.