October 18, 2019

Duckworth Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Impose Strong Sanctions on Turkey


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in introducing the Countering Turkish Aggression Act. The legislation would immediately impose serious sanctions against Turkey, senior Turkish officials, including President Erdogan, key Turkish banks, military transactions and their energy sector activities.

“In the days since President Trump’s reckless decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, Russia has re-entered the region, Bashar al-Assad has consolidated his brutal rule over swaths of northern Syria, many of our Kurdish allies have been slaughtered and countless ISIS fighters and supporters appear to have escaped from prisons,” Duckworth said. “I’ll continue calling on President Trump to fix this crisis that he created, and I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in introducing this bill that would impose strong sanctions against Turkey.”

Specifically, the Countering Turkish Aggression Act would:

  • Require the U.S. Treasury to move forward with delayed sanctions under CAATSA over Turkey’s decision to obtain the S-400 Russian missile defense system
  • Prohibit U.S. military assistance to Turkey
  • Bar President Erdogan and Turkish leadership from visiting the United States
  • Require reports on the net worth and assets of Mr. Erdogan amid concerns of corruption
  • Demands a strategy from the Administration to defeat them and stabilize the region

The bill’s sanctions will 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until the Administration certifies to Congress that Turkey has halted attacks against the Syrian Kurdish community, has withdrawn from all locations that they didn’t occupy prior to the October 9, 2019, invasion and is not hindering counterterrorism operations against ISIS.

“President Trump’s disastrous policy in Syria has paved the way for the slaughter of our Kurdish allies, facilitated the escape of hundreds of ISIS supporters, and emboldened adversaries like Al Qaeda, Iran, and Russia. This isn’t a political fight – this is about the countless people who are being slaughtered and the revival of ISIS. That is why we have come together on a bipartisan basis to act quickly,” said Senator Van Hollen. “While we work to pass the House resolution condemning these actions, we must move forward on these sanctions and apply real pressure to Turkey to end this madness.”

“At a time when the United States needs to speak with a clear voice regarding Turkey’s invasion into northeastern Syria, this bipartisan sanctions bill is that clear voice,” said Senator Graham. “Our legislation builds upon the Administrations’ efforts to sanction Turkey and goes further in important areas like prohibiting military assistance and transactions to the Turkish Armed Forces as well as mandates sanctions due to the S-400 purchases.  Erdogan’s invasion of northeastern Syria has created the conditions for the reemergence of ISIS and the destruction of our allies.  These outcomes must not only be addressed by the Administration but by Congress as well.”

In addition to U.S. Senators Duckworth, Van Hollen and Graham, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).