The US is set to impose sanctions on Turkey as early as Monday, with individuals said to be targeted in the first round.
The news – first reported by Bloomberg – came shortly after Lindsey Graham and Nancy Pelosi released statements tipping bipartisan, bicameral support for punitive measures against Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government in response to a brutal cross-border incursion in northern Syria.
Over the weekend, Turkey-allied fighters committed a series of war crimes, some of which were caught on camera by their perpetrators. Bashar al-Assad has stepped in to fill the void left by the US. Government forces moved into Kurdish-held towns and cities on Sunday and Monday at the invitation of America’s former allies, the SDF.
“Speaker Pelosi supports bipartisan sanctions against Turkey’s outrages in Syria”, Graham said, without mentioning the fact that this was all precipitated by Donald Trump’s rash decision to countenance Erdogan’s aggression. “She also believes we should show support for Kurdish allies and is concerned about the reemergence of ISIS”, the senator went on to say.
For her part, Pelosi was sure to mention Trump’s role.
“Pleased to have a conversation with Senator Graham this morning”, she began. “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”, the Speaker continued, adding that “we find ourselves in a situation where the President gave a green light to the Turks to bomb and effectively unleashed ISIS [so] we must have a stronger sanctions package than what the White House is suggesting”.
Apparently, the world will find out what the White House “is suggesting” on Monday afternoon, but initial reports indicate that Steve Mnuchin will target a collection of Turkish officials. “The Trump administration is also leaving open the option of penalties aimed at military transactions, arms exports and energy shipments to the Turkish military”, Bloomberg says, adding that State, Treasury and the Pentagon worked to craft the measures over the weekend.
Turkish stocks closed down more than 5% on Monday, for one of the worst sessions since the coup attempt in the summer of 2016.
Meanwhile, the US is said to have removed a handful of diplomats in Syria as the fighting intensifies.
According to Dow Jones, a “small number” of State department personnel were evacuated on Monday.
Somehow, we doubt Trump will make a Game of Thrones poster for these sanctions.