Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Announces Planned Sanctions Authorities on Turkey

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Announces Planned Sanctions Authorities on Turkey

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday giving the Treasury Department "very significant new sanctions authorities" against Turkey, but the USA doesn't have any immediate plans to use them, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said Friday.

In statements Thursday, Trump said that options for dealing with the situation included sending in "thousands" of American forces, a proposal he rejected; imposing severe economic sanctions on Turkey; or providing U.S. mediation between Turkey and the Kurds.

At this point, he said that the not activating the sanctions, but the president is providing "very significant authorities" to impose sanctions. We hope we don't have to use them.

After declaring the Kurds were on their own to defend themselves in northern Syria, President Trump on October 10 said he supported sanctions against Turkey.

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 U.S. 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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Turkey began the offensive quickly, pounding Kurdish militias, who recently were fighting alongside USA forces against the ISIS terrorist group, on Wednesday and Thursday, killing dozens and forcing many thousands of people to flee.

The Treasury statement had said that Trump's threat of sanctions was meant to dissuade Turkey from actions that included "the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, targeting of civilian infrastructure, targeting of ethnic or religious minorities". "We do not want to lose an additional thousands of Turkish citizens at the hands of PKK as a result of the terror corridor in the making on the other side of our border with Syria".

Trump has vacillated on Syria after fierce criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over his decision.

The executive order will empower Treasury to sanction individuals and entities involved in human rights abuses or in undermining security in northern Syria.

Mr. Mnuchin said that he did not believe that the president's actions were what led to the current situation in the region. "There are no sanctions at this time", Mnuchin instructed reporters at a White Home briefing. And on Friday, the group reported that five ISIS members had escaped from a prison after Turkish mortar rounds landed nearby.

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