On October 9th, US Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Chris Van Hollen proposed new sanctions on Turkey.
The Republican Graham and Democrat Van Hollen reached a consensus on new sanctions targeting Turkey, after the country began a military offensive against the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria.
I am pleased to have reached a bipartisan agreement with Senator @ChrisVanHollen on severe sanctions against Turkey for their invasion of Syria.
While the Administration refuses to act against Turkey, I expect strong bipartisan support. pic.twitter.com/Ph5fIVt7k3
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 9, 2019
Graham said that “while the Administration refuses to act against Turkey, I expect strong bipartisan support. … Most Members of Congress believe it would be wrong to abandon the Kurds who have been strong allies against ISIS.”
Graham said he believed Trump is making the biggest mistake of his presidency by withdrawing troops from the region.
“This is worse than when Obama left Iraq, because you’ve got so much information as to what happens. This would be a game changer to our national security. This would pave the way to the re-emergence of ISIS,” Graham said.
The deal came a few days after on October 7th, the two senators announced they were working on sanctions, following US President Donald Trump’s announcement to pull US troops out of northern Syria ahead of a planned Turkish military operation.
The new legislation would be introduced next week, since the US Congress is out for the week.
“This sanctions bill will be introduced as soon as Congress returns. Will ask for an immediate vote to send a clear message to Turkey that it must cease and desist its military action, withdraw its fighters from the areas under attack, and stop the tragic loss of life,” Van Hollen said.
As has become typical for US sanctions, this one would target all assets owned by Turkish leadership within US jurisdiction. The list includes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The bill would also target Turkey’s energy sector and military, including sanctions against “any foreign person who sells or provides financial, material, or technological support or knowingly does a transaction with Turkish military.”
It would also prohibit U.S. military sales to Turkey and restrict the ability for Turkey’s leadership to travel to the United States.
Our bill includes sanctions on:
→ Turkey's political leadership
→ Military transactions with Turkey
→ Turkey's domestic energy sector
It will also:
→ Prohibit U.S. military support for Turkey
→ Trigger 2017 CAATSA sanctions
→ Restrict U.S. visas for Turkish leadership https://t.co/nugcPRlMFD
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) October 9, 2019
As per the bill, sanctions against Turkey would remain in effect until the administration certifies to lawmakers that Ankara has withdrawn its forces from Syria.
US President Donald Trump distanced himself from the Turkish military operation on October 9th and said that he would support more sanctions.
“I think Lindsey would like to stay there for the next 200 years and maybe add a couple a hundred of thousand people every place, but I disagree with Lindsey on that,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “But I will tell you that I do agree on sanctions, but I actually think much tougher than sanctions if [Erdoğan] doesn’t do it in as humane a way as possible.”
Trump also made the ridiculous statement that the Kurdish militias the US was, until recently, supporting didn’t help the US back in World War 2, so abandoning them was justified. Others that didn’t help the US in World War 2 include Saudi Arabia and Israeli, both of which seem to enjoy endless support from the US administration.
He threatened to “wipe out” Turkey’s economy if the assault was not carried out “in as humane a way as possible”.
“If (Erdogan) does it unfairly, he is going to pay a big economic price,” Trump told reporters, adding that he’d “do far more than sanctions”.
Separately, France, Germany and the UK are to release a statement condemning Turkey’s offensive in northeastern Syria.
“France, Germany and Britain are finalizing a joint statement that will be extremely clear on the fact that we condemn very strongly and firmly what has been reported,” Amelie de Montchalin told the French parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
She added that a separate European Union statement from the bloc’s 28 states had yet to be agreed because some countries had not signed up to it. One anonymous source said Hungary had blocked the statement.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey to show “restraint” in its operation against Kurdish forces in Syria, warning that the fight against the Islamic State group should not be put at risk.
The SDF called on the international community to impose a no-fly zone to protect against “an imminent humanitarian crisis”.
Turkey said on October 9th that its ground forces crossed into northeastern Syria. Turkey pounded the area with jets and artillery, prior to sending the troops. Reportedly approximately 15 people have died so far.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Trump: Kurds Did Not Help U.S. In WW2. We Are Not Going To Rescue Them From Turkey
- Turkish Forces Make First Gains In Northeastern Syria (Photos)
- Turkish Army Starts Ground Phase Of Operation Peace Spring (Maps)