The US has imposed new sanctions on its Nato ally Turkey in a bid to stop the latter’s military action in Syria, US President Donald Trump said on Monday night.
Trump also phoned his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to request an immediate ceasefire, said vice president Mike Pence, who also said he would travel to the region.
Trump elicited fury from all sides when he decided to pull US troops out of north-eastern Syria, saying it was time for the US to get out of “endless wars”.
Following the US withdrawal, Kurdish forces – who have been long-standing US allies in the fight against Islamic State – have been attacked by Turkey. Syrian troops have also re-entered the region.
Trump takes stance against Turkey
Trump issued an executive order sanctioning current and former Turkish officials as well as the ministries of the interior and energy and their ministers.
The President said he had ramped tariffs on Turkish steel back up to 50 percent and threatened to squash a trade deal between the two countries.
Pence told reporters yesterday: “The United States of America simply is not going to tolerate Turkey’s invasion in Syria any further. We are calling on Turkey to stand down, end the violence and come to the negotiating table.”
Trump has attracted bi-partisan criticism for his decision to withdraw US troops. Republican ally Lindsey Graham has repeatedly condemned the move and has been part of a push for Congressional sanctions against Turkey.
Senate majority leader and Republican Mitch McConnell said: “Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing US forces from Syria would recreate the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy and invite the resurgence of ISIS.”