WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump announced Monday that he would “soon” issue an executive order that would authorize sanctions against the highest levels of the Turkish government, as the situation on the ground in northern Syria continued to deteriorate Monday after the recent withdrawal of U.S. forces in the region.
Trump did not specify when the sanctions would be leveled against Turkey, but he said in a statement that the executive order would empower the U.S. government to impose additional penalties against "those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a cease-fire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees or threatening the peace, security or stability in Syria."
Trump also said that tariffs on steel imports from Turkey will be raised 50 percent, and that the U.S. has halted negotiations over a $100 billion trade deal with the country.
"The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate and finance these heinous acts in Syria," Trump said in a statement released on his Twitter feed Monday afternoon. "I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey's economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path."
The administration has faced intensifying bipartisan pressure from Capitol Hill on imposing sanctions against Turkey, which began a military offensive last week into northern Syria after Trump's announcement that the United States would soon begin withdrawing U.S. forces from the region.