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Trump signs decree imposing sanctions on Turkey

The sanctions are intended to press Turkey "to halt its military offensive against northeast Syria and adopt an immediate ceasefire"
US President Donald Trump © AP Photo/Evan Vucci
US President Donald Trump
© © AP Photo/Evan Vucci

WASHINGTON, October 15. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump signed a decree imposing sanctions on Turkey over its military operation in Syria, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement on Monday.

"President Donald J. Trump has now signed an Executive Order to press Turkey to halt its military offensive against northeast Syria and adopt an immediate ceasefire," Pompeo said in a statement, released by the US Department of State.

"The Executive Order gives the Department of Treasury and the Department of State, the authority to consider and impose sanctions on individuals, entities, or associates of the Government of Turkey involved in actions that endanger civilians or lead to the further deterioration of peace, security, and stability in northeast Syria," the document says.

"Three senior Turkish officials, the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Defense have been designated for sanctions under these authorities, concurrent with the signing of the Executive Order," it says.

The US secretary of state added that "to avoid suffering further sanctions imposed under this new Executive Order Turkey must immediately cease its unilateral offensive in northeast Syria and return to a dialogue with the United States on security in northeast Syria."

US Treasury’s measures

Meanwhile, the US Department of the Treasury announced that it had blacklisted two ministries and three senior Turkish Government officials in response to Turkey’s military operations in Syria.

The sanctions targeted Turkey’s Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, as well as the Minister of National Defence, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister of the Interior.

According to the statement released by the US governmental agency, the restrictions were imposed because the Turkish government’s actions "are endangering innocent civilians, and destabilizing the region, including undermining the campaign to defeat ISIS [the Islamic State terrorist group, outlawed in Russia]."

The US Department of the Treasury said it was ready to impose additional sanctions on Turkish officials and state corporations.

"The United States is holding the Turkish Government accountable for escalating violence by Turkish forces, endangering innocent civilians, and destabilizing the region," the statement quoted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying.

The move is "not intended to affect or disrupt the operation of international humanitarian NGOs or the United Nations in Turkey in rendering humanitarian assistance to Syrian communities in need," the statement said. Besides, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is prepared to issue authorizations, such as general or specific licenses, as appropriate, to ensure that today’s action does not disrupt Turkey’s ability to meet its energy needs.

The US assets of individuals and companies blacklisted by the US will be frozen, and US companies are prohibited from doing business with them.

Turkish operation in Syria

On October 9, Ankara launched an offensive in north Syria dubbed Operation Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish units. The objective is to establish a safety zone in northern Syria for protection of the Turkish border. In addition, Syrian refugees could return to that area from Turkey, Ankara believes. Syria’s SANA news agency slammed Ankara’s operation as an act of aggression. The world community has condemned Ankara’s actions.