WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump released his executive order, on Monday, authorizing the imposition of sanctions “against current and former officials of the Government of Turkey and any persons contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria,” according to a White House statement.
He added that steel tariffs will be increased back up to 50 percent, the level prior to reduction in May. “The United States will also immediately stop negotiations, being led by the Department of Commerce, with respect to a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey,” said the president.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also announced Monday new sanctions against two ministries and three senior Turkish Government officials in response to Turkey’s military operations in Syria.
“The Turkish Government’s actions are endangering innocent civilians, and destabilizing the region, including undermining the campaign to defeat ISIS,” OFAC wrote in a statement.
“The Government of Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, as well as the Minister of National Defense, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister of the Interior are blocked as a result of today’s action.”
“We are prepared to impose additional sanctions on Government of Turkey officials and entities, as necessary,” the statement reads.
“The United States is holding the Turkish Government accountable for escalating violence by Turkish forces, endangering innocent civilians, and destabilizing the region,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
According to OFAC announcement, persons that engage in certain transactions with persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation, and “any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates any significant financial transactions for or on behalf of the persons designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent or payable through account sanctions.”
“The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Trump continued. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”
He said that the executive order will enable the United States to impose powerful additional sanctions “on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees, or threatening the peace, security, or stability in Syria.” According to the statement, the order will authorize a broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the United States.
Pence to lead a high-level delegation to Ankara
Trump spoke on Monday with Turkish President Erdogan, and with Kurdish general Mazloum Kobani, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House. He said that Trump asked him to lead a delegation to Ankara, in a push to mediate a ceasefire. National Security Adviser, Robert O’brien, is expected to join the High-level delegation.
The Vice President said that Erdogan requested the call with Trump. “President Trump communicated to him very clearly that the United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion, to implement an immediate ceasefire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence,” he said.
Pence told reporters that President Trump received a commitment from Erdogan not to attack the city of Kobani. “President Trump was very direct on that point,” said Pence.
Graham and Pelosi talk bipartisan legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey
Earlier on Monday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the he discussed with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a bipartisan legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey.
“Just spoke with Speaker Pelosi regarding congressional action on Turkey’s incursion of Syria,” Graham tweeted. “[The] Speaker supports bipartisan sanctions against Turkey’s outrages in Syria. She also believes we should show support for Kurdish allies and is concerned about the reemergence of ISIS.”
“I will be working across party lines in a bicameral fashion to draft sanctions and move quickly, appreciating President Trump’s willingness to work with the Congress,” he continued. “The Speaker indicated to me that time was of the essence.”
Just spoke with Speaker Pelosi regarding congressional action on Turkey’s incursion of Syria. Speaker supports bipartisan sanctions against Turkey’s outrages in Syria. She also believes we should show support for Kurdish allies and is concerned about the reemergence of ISIS.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 14, 2019
“Our first order of business was to agree that we must have a bipartisan, bicameral joint resolution to overturn the President’s dangerous decision in Syria immediately,” Speaker Pelosi tweeted following her conversation with Graham.
“Next, we must put together the strongest bipartisan, bicameral sanctions package similar to the bipartisan bill the House is advancing,” she added. “As we find ourselves in a situation where the President gave a green light to the Turks to bomb and effectively unleashed ISIS, we must have a stronger sanctions package than what the White House is suggesting.”
Pleased to have a conversation with Senator @LindseyGrahamSC this morning. Our first order of business was to agree that we must have a bipartisan, bicameral joint resolution to overturn the President’s dangerous decision in Syria immediately.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) October 14, 2019
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