Senators urge 'tough economic sanctions' if Turkey violated ceasefire

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring To fight Mexican drug cartels, we must designate them Foreign Terrorist Organizations Senators urge ‘tough economic sanctions’ if Turkey violated ceasefire 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 John TrumpBiden allies see boost in Tuesday’s election results Sanders vows to end Trump’s policies as he unveils immigration proposal Republicans warn election results are ‘wake-up call’ for Trump 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.”

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The letter was organized by Sens. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of ‘opportunity zones’ | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Senators urge ‘tough economic sanctions’ if Turkey violated ceasefire MORE (D-Md) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham Senators push for deal on impeachment trial rules to avoid political brawl Republicans warn election results are ‘wake-up call’ for Trump Graham: Schiff comment on inquiry findings ‘full of crap’ MORE (R-S.C.) and was co-signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of ‘opportunity zones’ | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Senators urge ‘tough economic sanctions’ if Turkey violated ceasefire MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of ‘opportunity zones’ | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring 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 McConnell Senators push for deal on impeachment trial rules to avoid political brawl Republicans warn election results are ‘wake-up call’ for Trump Harris fundraises off expected Sessions Senate run 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.

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