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US announces sanctions against Turkey; Pence to lead delegation to Ankara – American Politics

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U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the United States imposing fresh sanctions on Iran as Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2019.

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump announced a series of actions on Monday to pressure Turkey to stop its military campaign against the Kurds. The president signed an executive order, declaring that the situation on Northern Syria “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

Following the president’s executive order, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced new sanctions against two ministries and three senior Turkish Government officials in response to Turkey’s military operations in Syria.

“The Turkish Government‘s actions are endangering innocent civilians and destabilizing the region, including undermining the campaign to defeat ISIS,” OFAC wrote in a statement.

“The Government of Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, as well as the Minister of National Defense, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister of the Interior are blocked as a result of today’s action.”

“We are prepared to impose additional sanctions on Government of Turkey officials and entities, as necessary,” the statement reads.

“The United States is holding the Turkish Government accountable for escalating violence by Turkish forces, endangering innocent civilians, and destabilizing the region,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He told reporters that Trump is prepared to remove these sanctions “if there is the necessary actions on Turkey’s point.”

Pence to lead a high-level delegation to Ankara

Trump spoke on Monday with Turkish President Erdogan, and with Kurdish general Mazloum Kobani, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House. He said that Trump asked him to lead a delegation to Ankara, in a push to mediate a ceasefire. National Security Adviser, Robert O’brien, is expected to join the High-level delegation.

The Vice President said that Erdogan requested the call with Trump. “President Trump communicated to him very clearly that the United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion, to implement an immediate ceasefire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence,” he said.

Pence told reporters that President Trump received a commitment from Erdogan not to attack the city of Kobani. “President Trump was very direct on that point,” said Pence.

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