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Trump Announces Sanctions On Turkey In Response To Northeastern Syria Offensive

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Trump Announces Sanctions On Turkey In Response To Northeastern Syria Offensive

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On October 14th, US President Donald Trump issued a statement addressing Turkey’s advance on northeastern Syria.

Trump Announces Sanctions On Turkey In Response To Northeastern Syria Offensive

Click to see the full-size image

“I have been perfectly clear with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan: Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes,” Trump added in his statement.

“Turkey must ensure the safety of civilians, including religous and ethnic minorities, and is now, or may be in the future, responsible for the ongoing detention of ISIS terrorists in the region.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, too, provided a statement, saying that Turkey’s actions severely undermined the campaign against ISIS and that it would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

No mention of the Kurdish militias was made in Pompeo’s statement.

US officials are also giving quite contradictory information.

US Vice President Mike Pence also spoke to the press, saying that President Trump spoke to President Erdogan and called for an immediate ceasefire.

Pence further said that the newly-introduced sanctions on Turkey are just “the beginning,” and any negotiations on removing them would come after a complete ceasefire.

The vice president was accompanied by US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin who spoke of the sanctions that are aimed at “shutting down” Turkey’s economy.

Pence declined that there were any plans for Erdogan to visit the White House, despite previous anonymous White House sources saying that he would visit on November 13th.

In complete contrast to what Pence said, Mnuchin said that the sanctions would be removed if Turkey took the necessary actions and made no mention of a need to negotiate.

Mnuchin, furthermore, on October 14th warned that “the president has authorized me to effectively shut down the entire Turkey economy, and we can do that at a moment’s notice.”

On the very next day, alongside Pence, he said that “as we’ve warned all long, our desire is not to shut down the Turkish economy” but to see an appropriate response.

The sanctions that were announced are aimed at the Turkish Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Energy and Natural resources, as well as the Ministers of Defense Hulusi Akar, the Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu and Energy Minister Fatih Donmez.

“The United States is holding the Turkish Government accountable for escalating violence by Turkish forces, endangering innocent civilians, and destabilizing the region,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

So as not to impede US businesses operating in Turkey, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued several General Licenses.

“General License 1 authorizes the conduct of the official business of the United States Government by employees, grantees, or contractors otherwise prohibited by the order.  General License 2 authorizes a 30 day wind down period for all transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down operations, contracts, or other agreements involving the Ministries of National Defence or Energy and Natural Resources of the Government of Turkey.  General License 3 authorizes official activities of the United Nations involving the Ministry of National Defence or the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Government of Turkey.”

The US is attempting to absolve itself from all responsibility for what is transpiring in northeastern Syria, by saying that it denied it from the beginning, despite being an obvious enabler. After all, who can deny that they are responsible, after they sanction Turkish ministers and government bodies, with sanctions that will likely have little to no effect.

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