Trump tries to persuade Senate not to impose sanctions on Turkey

The Trump administration has made a last-ditch effort to persuade the U.S. Senate not to implement sanctions against Turkey according to the U.S.-based news portal Daily Beast.

It claimed on Monday to have obtained the seven-page document sent by Trump Administration to the Senate before its vote of sanctions against Turkey. 

The bill to sanction Turkey was sponsored by senators Jim Risch and Bob Menendez and recently passed through the Senate Foreign Relation Committee.

Turkey’s persistence on purchasing the Russian surface-to-air missiles has driven bilateral relations to their lowest point in decades. Despite the U.S. and NATO’s repeated warnings,

Turkey proceeded with its purchase of S-400 missiles and said it would not back down from purchasing them.

Air missiles purchase deal was not the only issue raising the prospect of sanctions on Turkey. Turkish state-run Halkbank’s involvement in Iran sanctions-busting scheme and Turkey’s latest offensive in northern Syria against the Kurdish militia have also prompted the U.S. lawmakers to consider imposing sanctions against Turkey. 

The Trump administration has made significant efforts in a bid to prevent the Senate from slapping sanctions on Turkey. The seven-page memo is the latest attempt of the Trump administration to persuade the Senate into dropping the sanctions bill. 

The State Department argued in the memo that the sanctions package would push Turkey closer to Russia and said they would not back the bill in its current state. 

In the document to the Senate, it is also highlighted that the U.S. nationals’ business opportunities and national security would be adversely affected.

The bill, as stated in the document, would lead to the termination of U.S.-Turkey defense trade and, as a result, would make Turkey more dependent on Russia and other adversary arm providers.

Turkey’s Halkbank and economic sanctions were also addressed in the memo. Trump administration declared that the Department of Treasury already has the power to impose sanctions on Halkbank over its alleged role in sanctions-busting activities. Thus, there is no need for including sanctions against the bank in the Senate bill. 

Following Turkey’s purchase of the Russian air defense system and its offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, a sanctions bill against Turkey was introduced to the Senate Foreign Committee. The bill was voted in favor, in both the Senate Foreign Committee and House of Representatives, and is set to be finalized by the Senate. 

The Senate bill provides for a list of sanctions ranging from targeted sanctions on Turkish officials and institutions to restrictions on arms sales to Turkey and opposition to loans from international financial institutions. It also foresees an investigation of reports on war crimes committed by the Turkish army and Turkish-backed Islamist militias.

The bill also targets some high profile Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son-in-law Berat Albayrak.

With the approval of the sanction bill, Turkish President Erdogan’s and his family’s net worth could be inquired by the US authorities.

US Senate committee passes sanctions bill against Turkey

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