After the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, senators in the US Congress want to personally sanction Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This emerges from the draft for a bipartisan resolution by Lindsey Graham (Republican) and Chris Van Hollen (Democrats), which the two senators released on Twitter on Wednesday.
I am pleased to have reached a bipartisan agreement with Senator @ChrisVanHollen on severe sanctions against Turkey for their invasion of Syria.
While the Administration refuses to act against Turkey, I expect strong bipartisan support. pic.twitter.com/Ph5fIVt7k3
The draft stipulates that any possessions of Erdogan, the Turkish vice-president and five ministers in the US would be frozen. In addition, visa requirements for the political leadership of the country would be tightened.
The draft also provides for numerous other punitive measures against Turkey. Among other things, the sale of US arms for the Turkish armed forces would be banned. Even foreigners who were doing arms deals with the Turkish forces would be sanctioned.
According to government figures, Germany had provided Turkey with war weapons worth more than 240 million euros last year - which accounted for almost one third of German war weapon exports. Equal US sanctions would apply to business with the Turkish energy sector.
Graham expects broad bipartisan support
Van Hollen announced that the draft resolution would be introduced as soon as Congress returned from its session break next week. He will then ask for an immediate vote to send a clear message to Turkey that they must stop the offensive and withdraw their troops.
Graham said he expected broad bipartisan support for the resolution. After the Senate, the House of Representatives would have to vote. President Donald Trump could then veto, which could only be outvoted by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate.
With the withdrawal of US troops from the Syrian border region to Turkey Trump had paved the way for the Turkish invasion. Graham - otherwise an ally of the president - and numerous other critics accused Trump of abandoning Kurdish militias in northern Syria. They were the closest allies of the US armed forces in the fight against the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS).
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Trump defended again Wednesday his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria. The allegations that some imprisoned IS fighters could escape in the chaos of the Turkish attacks and pose a threat elsewhere, Trump played down a danger to his homeland. "Well, they will flee to Europe, where they want to go."
Trump also threatened the Turkish president again with economic consequences, should this in Syria not "as human as possible" proceed. He did not comment on how he would define it. Asked by a reporter if he was worried that Erdogan might "wipe out" the Kurds, Trump said, "If that happens, I'll wipe out his economy." The sanctions on Turkey would then go far beyond sanctions.