Washington: The US House will vote Tuesday on a bipartisan bill to sanction Turkey, warning that a deal struck with the Trump administration won’t save the Nato ally from economic punishment for invading northern Syria.
The bill to sanction Turkish leaders and restrict the military’s access to financing and arms is expected to pass on a strong bipartisan vote, reflecting the widespread outrage over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops. Lawmakers say that decision opened the door to Turkish forces and allied militias to invade territory controlled by the Kurds, an ethnic minority that fought with the US to defeat Daesh.
Scheduling the vote for this week demonstrates that Congress still wants to exert influence over Middle East policy, even after Trump on Sunday announced the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in an operation led by US troops. It also suggests that lawmakers are not mollified by the deal that Vice President Mike Pence struck with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to halt hostilities in the region.
The bill, H.R. 4695, sponsored by the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would sanction senior Turkish officials and prohibit them from entering the United States. It would also prohibit the transfer of U.S. defense materiel to Turkey for use in Syria, and it would require the Pentagon and State Department to submit plans to prevent the resurgence of Daesh.
It would sanction Halkbank, a state-owned bank, as well as other financial institutions determined to have facilitated transactions that helped finance the invasion. It would also require the administration to impose sanctions already mandated over the purchase by Turkey of a Russian made missile-defence system.
The measure would still require passage by the Senate - or the two chambers would have to reconcile differences if the Senate passes an alternative version - before sending it to Trump for his signature. The House bill will be voted on Tuesday under an expedited process, which means leaders expect it to pass with a veto-proof majority.