- "The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria," Trump said Monday.
- The U.S. will raise steel tariffs, cancel trade negotiations, and block certain authorities from entering the country.
- Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, insists that he wants to create security zone against the Kurds along the Turkish border.
US President Donald Trump, on Monday, announced the imposition of economic sanctions against Turkey for starting military operations in northern Syria. The Turkish invasion has already killed 80 civilians and displaced 160,000 residents. The operation began shortly after the withdrawal of the US military from the region last week.
“The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Trump said Monday. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”
The economic constraints include a hike on steel tariffs to 50%, where they had been until May, and the cancellation of negotiations for a $100 billion trade agreement with Turkey adopted by executive order. The sanctions will also cover financial measures, the blocking of Turkish business and citizens’ assets in the United States, and a ban on authorities from entering the country.
“Turkey’s military offensive is endangering civilians and threatening peace, security, and stability in the region,” Trump’s statement read. “I have been perfectly clear with President Erdogan: Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes.”
Despite opposition to Turkey’s Syria invasion by many Europe countries, Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, insists that he wants to create security zone against the Kurds along the Turkish border. Still, it is not clear whether he will accept the return of the Syrian government army to the area.
Erdogan says that he wants to expel Kurdish militias from northern Syria and set up a buffer zone where the 3.6 million mostly Syrian refugees who now reside in Turkey must be housed. The EU disagrees with the plans and fears for the safety of refugees, who in the area could easily become targets for Syrian rebels or government forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. It is the umpteenth time that Erdogan has threatened to blow up the refugee deal with the EU. The EU paid €6 billion to Turkey to stop the flow of refugees to Europe, but that does not prevent the Turkish President from using the deal as a crowbar to push through his sentence in other areas.
For the Kurds, the situation, in any case, means the end of the dream they have fought for in recent years: an autonomous region, or even an own state. However, they have little choice, because the Kurdish militias are not a party to the Turkish army. According to a senior Kurdish official, political issues have not yet been discussed with the Assad government.
In the meantime, around 160,000 people in northern Syria have fled from the Turkish invasion, the UN Secretary-General said in a statement Monday. According to the Turkish army, 480 Kurdish fighters have so far been killed.