Thursday, October 10, 2019
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen is campaigning for sanctions against Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
US President Trump threatens the Turkish economy with destruction, yet Turkey launches its announced offensive in northern Syria. US senators see a red line crossed, sanctions against head of state Erdogan are to follow.
After the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, senators in the US Congress want to personally sanction Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This emerges from the draft bipartisan resolution by Lindsey Graham (Republican) and Chris Van Hollen (Democrats), published by the two senators. The draft stipulates that any possessions of Erdogan, the Turkish vice-president and five ministers in the US would be frozen. In addition, visa requirements for the political leadership of the country would be tightened. The draft provides for numerous further sanctions against Turkey. Among other things, the sale of US arms for the Turkish armed forces would be banned. Even foreigners, who made armaments business with the Turkish armed forces, would be sanctioned. In the past year Germany had supplied Turkey weapons of war according to government data in the value of more than 240 million euro – that accounted for nearly a third of the German war weapon exports. Equal US sanctions would apply to doing business with the Turkish energy sector. Partial support expectedVan Hollen announced that the draft resolution would be introduced as soon as Congress returned from its session break next week. He will then ask for an immediate vote to send a clear message to Turkey that they must stop the offensive and withdraw their troops. Graham said he expected broad bipartisan support for the resolution. After the Senate, the House of Representatives would have to vote. Trump could then veto, which could be overruled only with a two-thirds majority in the House and the Senate. Criticism of Trump action With the withdrawal of US troops from the Syrian border area with Turkey Trump had paved the way for the Turkish invasion. Graham – otherwise an ally of the president – and numerous other critics accused Trump of abandoning Kurdish militias in northern Syria. They were the closest allies of the US armed forces in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS). Trump threatened Erdogan on Wednesday with economic consequences, should this in Syria not "as humane as possible" proceed. He did not comment on how he would define it. Asked by a reporter if he was worried that Erdogan might "wipe out" the Kurds, Trump said, "If that happens, I'll wipe out his economy." The sanctions on Turkey would then go far beyond sanctions.