White House Threatens Turkey With Crippling Sanctions

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that the Trump administration was not slapping sanctions on Turkey at this time — but that it would be giving his department “significant new sanctions authorities” targeting “any person associated wit

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that the Trump administration was not slapping sanctions on Turkey at this time — but that it would be giving his department “significant new sanctions authorities” targeting “any person associated wit

On Sunday, Trump abruptly shifted policy and said he was withdrawing US forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey to launch an assault across the border. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He accompanied by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, greets the media before a minister-level trade meetings at the Office of the United States.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to impose severe economic sanctions on Turkey's political leadership and military for recent attacks against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

Esper insisted, as have other officials, that anti-ISIS operations by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Force outside the incursion zone have not stopped, and that no prisoners were known to have escaped.

The U.S. Department of Treasury could initiate sanctions on select individuals and entities of the Turkish government involved in human rights abuses or actions leading to the further deterioration of peace, security, and stability in northeastern Syria.

Trump, who has a well-established affinity for authoritarian leaders, has invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House in November. USA lawmakers have been pushing for sanctions on Turkish leaders since the offensive began.

Trump issued his initial threat on Twitter on Monday.

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

"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 mentioned.

Shortly after the Turkish operation inside Syria had started, a convoy of Turkish forces vehicles is driven through the town of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border between Turkey and Syria, on October 9, 2019.

It's also unclear what, if any, effect the threat of sanctions will have. He tweeted that if Turkey engages in "off-limits" actions, he would "totally destroy and obliterate" its economy.

Trump tasked the State Department with working to find a cease-fire and negotiate a settlement between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, but Turkey rejected that idea Friday, saying the operation would be halted only if Syrian Kurdish forces vacated the area and put down their weapons. "But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we have to."Trump threatened earlier this week to do just that if Turkey fails to adhere to certain guidelines but did not enumerate what would trigger the sanctions".

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