President Donald Trump said Monday he plans to sanction Turkey amid sustained criticism from Republican lawmakers over his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria to make way for a Turkish operation.
Trump said he would sign an executive order authorizing sanctions “against current and former officials” in Turkey’s government “and any persons contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.”
“This Order will enable the United States 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, forcibly repatriating refugees, or threatening the peace, security, or stability in Syria,” Trump added in a statement posted to Twitter.
Trump said in the statement he plans to hike tariffs on Turkish steel up to 50 percent and “immediately” halt trade negotiations with the country.
Trump’s move to withdraw American troops from northern Syria prompted widespread international criticism and fears of a resurgence of the Islamic State. It also prompted humanitarian concerns for those displaced by the offensive.
Numerous Republicans — including several top Trump allies — vehemently opposed the president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the northern border of Syria and allow a Turkish operation there because it marked a major blow to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which the U.S. in its fight against the Islamic State.