Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin threatens 'very significant' sanctions on Turkey

U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin threatens 'very significant' sanctions on Turkey

"We can shut down the Turkish economy if we want to", he said.

The USD/TRY pair spiked to a daily high of 5.8970 on these comments but quickly reversed its direction. "These are very powerful sanctions".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan swiftly responded, vowing that the assault "will not stop".

Mnuchin called the executive order "very significant" and "any person associated with the government of Turkey, any portion of the government" could be targeted. "There are no sanctions at this time", Mnuchin instructed reporters at a White Home briefing.

One critic called the gesture "meaningless nonsense" and noted it came on a day when the Pentagon confirmed that US Special Forces had come under fire from Turkish positions.

Of those options, the president said he favoured sanctions.

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Trump has come under sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, for stepping back from the Kurds. "We're on top of sanctions".

The official commended Trump as a "visionary person" because "he knew the threat imposed on Turkey by the terrorist group, so he took the decision to remove US forces from the area".

Turkish officials said they are not interested in mediation. "We are witnessing ethnic cleansing in Syria by Turkey, the destruction of a reliable ally in the Kurds, and the reemergence of ISIS", he said.

On Sunday, Trump said he was withdrawing US forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey to launch an assault across the border. It also emphasized that Turkey must not "allow even a single [Islamic State] fighter to escape" in the offensive.

"It is a complicated situation", Mr. Mnuchin said. The U.S. armed and supported PKK as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which served as American foot soldiers against ISIS. And on Friday, the group reported that five ISIS members had escaped from a prison after Turkish mortar rounds landed nearby. Mr. Trump had told the Turkish president that American troops fighting alongside the Kurds in a countermission against the Islamic State would be pulled back from the border with Syria, which critics of the president's policy said was, in effect, giving the Turks a greenlight to start their offensive. "I'm continuing to work on bipartisan legislation to immediately apply tough sanctions against Turkey until it ends its aggression and withdraws".

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