Trump grants new powers to impose tough sanctions on Turkey

Lead Turkey DNT Live Jake Tapper_00003108

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a White House briefing that the United States had the power to stymie the Turkish economy, reiterating an unusual threat of economic war against an ally who's a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance. "But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to". We hope we don't have to use them.

Representatives Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mike McCaul, the committee's ranking Republican, introduced a bill that would sanction Turkish officials involved in the Syria operation and banks involved with Turkey's defense sector until Turkey ends military operations in Syria.

The punitive measures, Mnuchin said, can be targeted at any person associated with the Turkish government. The people killed, Akar said, were members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the US has designated as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), and fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). "We do not want to lose an additional thousands of Turkish citizens at the hands of PKK as a result of the terror corridor in the making on the other side of our border with Syria".

"Now there are threats coming from left and right, telling us to stop this", he said.

Yet Republican allies have broken with Mr. Trump over the issue.

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Trump has come under sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, for stepping back from the Kurds.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin takes a question from a reporter after announcing the threat of sanctions on Turkey in the Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. And on Friday, the group reported that five ISIS members had escaped from a prison after Turkish mortar rounds landed nearby.

The Treasury said in a statement that the USA would hit Turkey with economic penalties for indiscriminate targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure and ethnic or religious minorities and for any action that disrupts the SDF's counter ISIS operations.

"President Trump should immediately reverse his decision to withdraw the small number of Special Forces supporting the Syrian Kurds in the fight against ISIS", said Van Hollen, who has worked with Graham to write legislation sanctioning the Turks for their military operation in Syria.

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