US govt readies 'powerful sanctions' on Turkey, Latest World News - The New Paper

US govt readies 'powerful sanctions' on Turkey

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WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump's administration is set to impose economic sanctions on Turkey for its incursion into northern Syria, one of the few levers the US still has over Nato-ally Turkey.

Using the US military to stop the Turkish offensive on US-allied Kurdish fighters was never an option, defence officials said.

After Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last Friday Mr Trump had authorised "very powerful" new sanctions targeting Turkey, the administration appeared ready to start making good on the President's threat to obliterate Turkey's economy.

"Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful sanctions on Turkey," Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday, referring to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who lambasted the President last week.

"Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned."

Mr Trump is struggling to quell harsh criticism, including from his staunchest Republican backers, that he gave Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan a green light to attack the Kurds on Sunday when he decided to pull a small number of US troops out of the border area.

Representatives Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mike McCaul, the committee's senior Republican, introduced a Bill that would sanction Turkish officials involved in the Syria operation and banks involved with Turkey's defence sector.

Experts doubted any of the US punishments would make Mr Erdogan change his mind, given his belief that the Kurdish fighters in Syria threaten national security. - REUTERS