McConnell on Turkey Incursion, Sanctions
‘I believe we need to be guided by our strategic interests, not emotions, as we seek to contain the damage of Turkey’s incursion…Before targeting an economy that is highly integrated with Europe’s economy, we should seek a better understanding of the specific economic impact that broad sanctions will have on the global economy, on our European partners, and on American workers and job creators.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the consideration of sanctions on Turkey:
“Many of us have been concerned for some time about the trajectory of our strategically important NATO ally Turkey under the leadership of President Erdogan.
“Despite the hopes of the Obama administration and others that he would be a model of Islamic democracy, Erdogan instead has used democracy to work toward undemocratic ends.
“Freedom of the press, secularism, and human rights have suffered under his rule, while corruption has flourished. Opposition to Erdogan is growing, but the political space for Turks to express their opposition is shrinking.
“Obviously, in recent days, our concerns have centered on Turkey’s incursion into northeast Syria. We are angry about the damage Turkey has caused for our local Kurdish partners in Syria.
“I have spoken at length about my concerns on Turkey’s incursion and my opposition to withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria. But I believe we need to be guided by our strategic interests, not emotions, as we seek to contain the damage of Turkey’s incursion...peel Ankara away from Moscow…and encourage better behavior at home and abroad by Erdogan’s government.
“I hope we will carefully consider all of our options to achieve these important objectives, and carefully examine whether a broad mandatory sanctions bill is really the optimal solution.
We should think carefully about what specific effect we want sanctions to have, how Turkey will respond to them, and how Russia or others may exploit growing tensions between Washington and Ankara.
“Before targeting an economy that is highly integrated with Europe’s economy, we should seek a better understanding of the specific economic impact that broad sanctions will have on the global economy, on our European partners, and on American workers and job creators.
“We should reflect on whether we’d be better off working in concert with European allies to shape Turkey’s behavior, versus abruptly forcing European companies to cut ties to Turkey through the threat of sanctions.
“And before using the kinds of policy tools we use against Iran and North Korea against a democracy of 80 million people, we should consider the political impact that blunt sanctions will have on the Turkish people. Will sanctions rally them to our cause…or to Erdogan’s? Would more targeted sanctions perhaps avoid some of these unintended consequences?
“These are just some of the critical questions which I hope our committees of jurisdiction and the administration are able to examine before we act.”
Related Issues: Syria