WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today joined Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and additional Senators on both sides of the aisle to introduce a bipartisan bill to levy immediate, serious sanctions against Turkey following its invasion of Syria and their slaughter of the Kurdish people. The bill comes as the Trump Administration announced a so-called “ceasefire” in Syria that is contingent upon Kurds retreating from the land that Turkey has been attacking since President Trump ordered the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops.
“What President Trump agreed to today is a capitulation to Turkey at the expense of our Kurdish allies. The agreement lets Turkey off the hook for slaughtering innocent civilians and the Kurdish troops who fought alongside American soldiers against ISIS. Moreover, it does nothing to recapture the hundreds of ISIS soldiers who have already escaped from Kurdish-held prisons,” said Senator Hassan. “Today I joined with Republican and Democratic Senators to introduce a bill to levy strong sanctions against Turkey. The so-called ‘ceasefire’ does not change the fact that Turkey’s actions are reprehensible and have made America, and the world, less safe.”
The bipartisan legislation introduced today would apply new sanctions to senior Turkish officials, including President Erdogan, key Turkish banks, military transactions, and their energy sector activities in support of the Turkish Armed Forces. It would require the U.S. Treasury to move forward with delayed sanctions under CAATSA over Turkey’s decision to obtain the S-400 Russian missile defense system. It also would prohibit U.S. military assistance to Turkey, bar President Erdogan and Turkish leadership from visiting the United States, and require reports on the net worth and assets of Mr. Erdogan amid concerns of corruption. Finally, in the wake of an ISIS resurgence in Syria, it demands a strategy from the Administration to defeat them and stabilize the region.
The bill’s sanctions will remain in place until the Administration certifies to Congress that Turkey has halted attacks against the Syrian Kurdish community, has withdrawn from all locations that they didn’t occupy prior to the October 9, 2019 invasion, and is not hindering counterterrorism operations against ISIS.
Senator Hassan recently traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, where she discussed counterterrorism efforts, drug trafficking, and regional stability with government and military leaders. In Afghanistan, Senator Hassan heard directly from a U.S. service member who had fought alongside the Kurds, and spoke with U.S. and Afghan military leaders about the impact the President’s decision would have on counterterrorism efforts.