US Presses Turkey With Threat Of Economic Sanctions

The order came as the Trump administration stepped up its criticism of Turkey's military operation against US-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters amid harsh criticism of US President Donald Trump's failure to prevent the incursion

Of those options, the president said he favoured sanctions.

Trump faced a fierce, bipartisan backlash this week after a sudden announcement that the US was withdrawing from northeastern Syria in advance of Turkey's military action, blindsiding both lawmakers and American allies.

Although the administration has not yet imposed any sanctions on Turkey, Mnuchin warned they were willing to do so.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, called the conditional sanctions "tepid".

The sanctions order comes as the administration struggles to respond to a backlash against Trump's decision to pull United States troops out of northeastern Syria.

Trump issued a similar aggressive threat against the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally on Monday. "When it comes to dealing with Erdogan and protecting our Kurdish allies, the Trump Administration needs to up their game".

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"We oppose and are greatly disappointed by Turkey's decision to launch a unilateral military incursion into northern Syria", Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Friday news conference.

"At the direction of President Trump we will be targeting specific Turkish individuals or departments as needed", Mnuchin was quoted as saying. This is meaningless nonsense.

"It is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape", Mnuchin said. The U.S. armed and supported PKK as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which served as American foot soldiers against ISIS.

Van Hollen pointed to Trump's apparent reluctance to apply legally required sanctions against Turkey for its purchase of a Russian weapons system that undermines efforts to maintain cohesion among North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. Mr. Trump had told the Turkish president that American troops fighting alongside the Kurds in a countermission against the Islamic State would be pulled back from the border with Syria, which critics of the president's policy said was, in effect, giving the Turks a greenlight to start their offensive.

A senior State Department official said sanctions likely would be similar to economic penalties that were imposed in 2018 against the Turkish justice minister and interior minister.

But, he added, a round of tough sanctions was in the works and could be activated if Turkey's invasion of Syria escalates or ISIS prisoners escape.

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