President Trump on Monday said he will impose sanctions against current and former Turkish officials and cease trade negotiations with Ankara in response to the NATO ally’s attack on U.S.-allied Kurds in northern Syria.
“The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Mr. Trump said in a written statement. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”
Mr. Trump is tightening the economic screws on Turkey after days of criticism over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the Turkey–Syria border. He was accused of abandoning fighters who helped the U.S. rout the Islamic State.
The president says the U.S. doesn’t have a stake in the fight anymore, though he’s accusing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of “precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes.”
He said he will continue to withdraw soldiers from northeast Syria but redeploy them to avoid creating a vacuum in the region that could allow the Islamic State to flourish again.
He said a “small footprint” of soldiers will remain at the al-Tanf Garrison in southern Syria. (Washington Times)