Trump: Turkey faces ‘big sanctions’ over Syria actions
WASHINGTON, Oct 14, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – US President Donald Trump warned
Monday that Turkey faces imminent sanctions over its incursion into
northeastern Syria against Kurdish militia, but also signalled that
Washington would avoid armed conflict with Ankara.
“Big sanctions on Turkey coming!” Trump said, after Turkish attacks
stepped up over the weekend on the Syrian Kurds, who had allied with the US
war against the Islamic State group.
Trump’s decision last week to pull out of the area — clearing the way for
the Turkish incursion — has been attacked at home as a betrayal of America’s
Kurdish allies, that risks triggering a resurgence of IS.
Washington and its partners have condemned the Turkish invasion but their
threats of sanctions have failed to stop it.
Trump also suggested the Kurds were trying to draw the United States into
a broader, alleging they were deliberately freeing some Islamic State
prisoners “to get us involved” in the conflict.
“Do people really think we should go to war with NATO Member Turkey?”
Trump said, ruing “never ending wars.”
“The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who
most want to stay there!”
It was not clear whether Trump would issue an executive order for
immediate sanctions by the US Treasury or wait for Congress to act.
“It’s definitely not too late for the US to impose sanctions on Turkey,”
said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin after meetings in the White House.
But, he added, “It’s a complicated situation,” given Turkey’s membership
in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Congress would move quickly with
support from both parties.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “made the biggest mistake of his
political life,” Graham told Fox News.
“I’ve never seen such bipartisan support. We’ve all had it with Erdogan,”
“Republicans and Democrats working with the administration are going to
come down on him like a ton of bricks — Iranian-type sanctions — and he
“We’re going to drive him out of Syria, we’re going to reset the table.”
Trump over the weekend ordered around 1,000 US troops in northern Syria
pulled back from the border region to avoid getting caught in the fighting.
“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing
armies and it’s a very untenable situation,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper
told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.