Turkey Threatened With Economic Sanctions: Facing Severe Backlash for Operation Peace Spring

By Janet Ekstract

NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – On Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, announced in a press briefing that President Trump had authorized and would sign a new executive order for economic sanctions on Turkey unless Turkey agrees to stop its Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria.

The new executive order, which Mnuchin said was agreed upon with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump would allow the U.S. Treasury Department to put primary and secondary sanctions on both the Turkish government and any individuals associated with it.

In his briefing, Mnuchin commented that these would be “very significant new sanctions authorities that can be targeted at any person associated with the government of Turkey and any portion of the government.”

The Trump Is very concerned about civilian casualties, damage to infrastructure and the probability of ISIS becoming strong enough to cause havoc again within Syria and the region.

Mnuchin said that the president had urged Turkey to halt its operation in northeastern Syria.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey is not afraid of sanctions that may go into effect against the government.

Cavusoglu told Germany’s Deutsche Welle that “If Turkey were afraid of sanctions, we would not have started this operation [in northern Syria]. This is a vital national security.

In addition, on Saturday, the Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit condemned Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring, labeling it “an invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty.” Gheit also urged the United Nations Security Council to make sure Turkey withdraws from Syria, immediately.

Turkey did not give credence to the Arab League statement, insisting that it misrepresented Turkish military operations. Director of Communications for the Turkish presidency, Fahrettin Altun, stated governments that aren’t pleased with the Turkish position on Middle East issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Yemen, “do not speak for the Arab world.”

Turkey is facing severe backlash from its decision to move Turkish troops into northeastern Syria for Operation Peace Spring which aims to clear a large area of terrorists the Turkish government deems dangerous to Turkey’s sovereignty.

In part of his briefing, the U.S. Treasury Secretary said: “The president is concerned about the ongoing military offensive and potential targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure, ethnic or religious minorities, and also the president wants to make very clear  it is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape.” 

Since the operation began on Wednesday this week, the reports of 100,000 people fleeing their homes have made Turkey the target of harsh critics due to the two-fold fear of reviving ISIS and creating a new humanitarian crisis.

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