The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Monday on two Turkish ministries and three senior government officials over Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria.
Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and also on Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
“We are prepared to impose additional sanctions on Government of Turkey officials and entities, as necessary,” the department said in a statement.
According to U.S. law, those mentioned on the sanctions list face blocking of their properties (if any) and are prevented from having trade relations with the U.S.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
The announcement came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration “will soon” be issuing an executive order authorizing the possible imposition of sanctions on Turkey, including on current and former government officials.
In a statement posted on Twitter, he added that steel tariffs will again be raised to 50% and negotiations for a $100 billion trade deal will be stopped “immediately” by the U.S. Commerce Department.
In a press briefing with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump asked Turkey to halt its operation and to enact an immediate ceasefire and begin negotiations with the PYD/YPG.
“The president has directed me to lead a delegation to Turkey to begin these talks,” said Pence.
Turkey’s leaders have repeatedly said the operation does not target Kurds, contrary to rhetoric from anti-Turkey circles, which allege that the Turkish military is harming civilians and the fight against the remnants of the Daesh terror group.
On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would assume responsibility for Daesh elements held in detention centers in northern Syria.