Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday, Oct. 13, tweeted commending President Donald Trump’s administration for plans of imposing “crippling” sanctions against the Turkish economy as punitive measures against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The South Carolina senator criticized Trump days before for withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria, but turned to expressing approval to stress the possibility that Trump’s strict sanctions could lead to bipartisan support in the House.
“Just spoke with President @realdonaldTrump,” Graham said in a tweet on Sunday. “I applaud his decision to work with Congress to stop Turkey’s aggression in Syria through crippling economic sanctions. This decision by President Trump will be a game-change—in all the wrong ways—for Turkey.”
“It is imperative that we stop the bloodshed and stabilize northeastern Syria to prevent the re-emergence of ISIS and the rise of Iran,” he added.
Graham also expressed strong contempt for Erdogan’s actions and approval for Trump’s intervention.
“The good news is [that] President Trump is going to intervene with the Congress in a way to punish Erdogan unlike any time in Turkey’s life. I hate this but he brought it on himself,” Graham said. “I blame Turkey. There is going to be crippling sanctions imposed by the Congress to supplement what President Trump’s administration has done.”
“We are going to send a signal to Turkey that is unmistakable in the eyes of Erdogan and the world and we’re going to break his economy until he stops the bloodshed,” Graham added.
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order that will enable the Treasury Department to punish Turkey government officials should the country target religious or ethnic minorities as it conducts military operations in Syria, The New York Times reported.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a White House briefing that the United States holds the power to “shut down” the Turkish economy “if we need to.”
The administration has yet to implement any new sanctions against Turkey.
“President Trump … has authorized and will be signing a new executive order giving the Treasury Department in consultation with himself and Secretary Pompeo very significant new sanctions authorities that can be targeted at any person associated with the government of Turkey, any portion of the government,” Mnuchin said on Friday. “This will be both primary sanctions and secondary sanctions that will be applicable.”
“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,” Mnuchin added. “Again, I want to emphasize at this point, we are not activating the sanctions, but as the president has said, he will provide very significant authorities based upon the continuing efforts.”
Trump tweeted earlier this month that if Turkey engages in “off-limits” actions, he would “totally destroy and obliterate” its economy.