FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses conservative activists at the Family Research Council’s annual gala in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Monday said he would authorize sanctions against Turkish officials, stop negotiating with Turkey on a $100 billion trade deal, and boost tariffs on the country’s steel to 50 percent over Ankara’s incursion into northeast Syria.
Turkey launched the cross-border assault on Kurdish YPG militia on Wednesday after Trump withdrew some U.S. troops from the region, drawing sharp criticism from fellow Republicans who accused him abandoning allies who fought against Islamic State.
Trump’s statement promising an executive order “soon” did not specify individuals but said it would enable Washington to impose “powerful additional sanctions” on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home and forcibly repatriating refugees.
“I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” Trump said.
“The order will authorize broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property and barring entry into the United States.”
He also reiterated he would pull the remaining U.S. troops out of Syria, apart from a small group in the southern part of the country, and said they would be redeployed elsewhere in the region to monitor the situation.
Turkey’s lira, which had weakened some 0.8% in the day, reacted minimally to Trump’s announcement. It stood at 5.9300 at 2018 GMT, from 5.9260 beforehand.
Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Eric Beech and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Sandra Maler and Sonya Hepinstall