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Toomey Supports Graham-Van Hollen Bill to Sanction Turkey

October 17, 2019
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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is supporting Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen's (D-Md.) bipartisan Countering Turkish Aggression Act of 2019, which would levy heavy sanctions against Turkey following their invasion of northern Syria.

The legislation would apply new sanctions to senior Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, key Turkish banks, military transactions, and energy sector activities in support of the Turkish Armed Forces. The sanctions would remain in place until the administration certifies to Congress that Turkey has halted attacks against the Syrian Kurdish community, has withdrawn from all locations that they didn't occupy prior to the October 9, 2019 invasion, and is not hindering counterterrorism operations against ISIS.

"I continue to believe the dangers of withdrawing U.S. forces from northern Syria outweigh the benefits to American security interests," said Senator Toomey. "Nevertheless, I hope the ceasefire announced today leads to a meaningful and durable outcome that protects the Syrian Kurds and prevents a resurgence of ISIS. This bipartisan bill will strengthen the hand of the United States as we negotiate an acceptable resolution with the Turkish government."

Background

Senator Toomey detailed his opposition to the withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Syria shortly after it was announced.

The legislation would require the U.S. Treasury to move forward with sanctions required by a 2017 law, but have been delayed over Turkey's decision to obtain the S-400 Russian missile defense system. It also would prohibit U.S. military assistance to Turkey, bar President Erdogan and Turkish leadership from visiting the United States, and require reports on the net worth and assets of President Erdogan amid concerns of corruption. Finally, it demands a strategy from the administration to defeat ISIS and stabilize the region.

The bill is also being supported by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

You can read a section-by-section summary here, and read the full bill text here.