Trump set to authorize sanctions in warning to Turkey

Daniel Fowler
October 12, 2019

President Trump threatened Friday to impose "very significant" sanctions on Turkey over its decision to bombard American-allied Kurds in northeast Syria. "But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to".

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.

Mr. Mnuchin said that banks should be on notice for potential sanctions actions by the United States.

Mnuchin denied that Trump's earlier menace of sanctions had not dissuaded Turkey from attacking the Kurds, however wouldn't elaborate, saying inner administration discussions on the problem had been confidential.

In a meeting Friday with reporters, Sedar Kilic, the Turkish ambassador to the United States, said that his government had no intention of "slaughtering" Kurdish fighters, as some USA lawmakers have alleged, but that it was determined to bring an end to Kurdish occupation of the border area and would not stop until it had reached its goals.

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"At this point, we are not activating the sanctions", he added. 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).

Mr. Mnuchin said that he did not believe that the president's actions were what led to the current situation in the region.

Trump issued his initial threat on Twitter on Monday.

The senators' legislation would also sanction "any foreign person or entity who supplies goods, services, technology, information or other support that maintains or supports Turkey's domestic petroleum production and natural gas production for use by its armed forces". "There are no sanctions at this time", Mnuchin told reporters at a White House briefing.

An SDF spokesman said Friday that five ISIS militants have broken out of a prison in Qamishli city, northern Syria, after nearby shelling. Mnuchin said Trump wants to make it clear that "it is imperative that Turkey not allow a single ISIS fighter to escape".

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