SPONSORED:

Senators urge 'tough economic sanctions' if Turkey violated ceasefire

Senators urge 'tough economic sanctions' if Turkey violated ceasefire
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC China labels human rights criticism 'groundless' MORE on reports of Turkish violations of a ceasefire in northern Syria, urging the administration to respond with “tough economic sanctions.”

“On several occasions, President TrumpDonald TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE has threatened to ‘destroy Turkey’s economy’ should Turkey violate its obligations,” the senators wrote in a letter to Pompeo on Wednesday. “In keeping with this position, we ask that the Administration take swift measures to enforce the October 17 agreement with tough economic sanctions. In the meantime, we will continue to work in Congress on the passage of a bipartisan sanctions bill to protect our allies and uphold the credibility of the United States.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The letter was organized by Sens. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenMenendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill LIVE COVERAGE: Senate set to consider Garland for AG Plaskett quips male lawmakers 'would not have their wives in one attempt talking to her' during impeachment trial MORE (D-Md) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJohn Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report Parliamentarian nixes minimum wage hike in coronavirus bill McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE (R-S.C.) and was co-signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Biden health nominee faces first Senate test MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators press Treasury to prioritize Tubman redesign Can Palestine matter again? Senate signals broad support for more targeted coronavirus relief checks MORE (D-N.H.).

The same group sponsored one of the Turkey sanctions bills that have been introduced in the Senate in response to Turkey’s offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces.

The House last week passed a Turkey sanctions bill by a large bipartisan majority. Van Hollen and Graham have both said they would support bringing the House bill for a vote in the Senate, but efforts at Turkey sanctions in the upper chamber have stalled amid warnings from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE (R-Ky.) against rushing to sanction a NATO ally.

Trump had imposed sanctions on Turkey after its offensive but lifted them as part of a ceasefire agreement brokered by Vice President Pence.

In their letter, the senators cite reports of Turkey or Turkish-backed forces attacking Kurdish forces near Tal Tamr, which is outside the agreed-upon safe zone.

“If true, these attacks would violate the separate ceasefire agreements Ankara forged with both Washington and Moscow,” they wrote. 

The senators asked Pompeo to “immediately” answer whether Turkey or its proxy forces are operating outside of the safe zone and whether the administration will impose sanctions on Turkey for violating the agreement.