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Congressman Tim Ryan Votes to Hold Turkey Accountable for Syrian Invasion

October 29, 2019
Press Release
House passes bipartisan bill to impose sanctions on Turkey

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) today voted to hold Turkey accountable for its invasion of northern Syria. Cosponsored by Congressman Ryan, the bipartisan bill, Protect Against Conflict by Turkey (PACT) Act (H.R. 4695), imposes tough, targeted sanctions against Turkey—including mandatory asset freeze and visa ban against senior officials, stopping all arms transfers that Turkey could use in Syria, and financial sanctions. The bill also requires concrete strategies from the Administration for combatting ISIS, protecting Syrian Kurdish communities, an analysis of human rights violations committed by Turkish forces, and a refugee program designation for Syrians who partnered with or worked directly for the U.S. in Syria.

“Turkey’s invasion of northern-Syria is forcing tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee their homes, tearing apart families, and killing countless of innocent lives. These are horrific consequences greenlit by President Trump’s tragic decision to pull out American troops and to betray our Kurdish allies. We cannot sit idly by and allow this international and humanitarian crisis to continue,” said Congressman Ryan. “The President may think it’s ok to abandon our allies and give power to authoritarian leaders, but Congress doesn’t. I’m joining my Democratic and Republican colleagues to hold Turkey accountable for this assault, protect Syrian Kurdish families, and defend our national security.”

Sanctions Include:

Mandatory Asset Freeze and Visa Ban Against Senior Officials

•  Minister of National Defense, Chief of General Staff of Turkish military, and Commander of Turkish 2nd Army, which has led the Syrian incursion.

•  Minister of Treasury and Finance (Erdogan’s son-in-law).

•  Additional senior Turkish defense officials involved in the invasion of Syria and anyone committing human rights abuses.

Stopping All Arms Transfers that Turkey Could Use in Syria

•  Prohibition of the transfer of U.S. defense items to Turkey if they could be used in Syria.

•  Block use of the emergency provision of Arms Export Control Act (AECA) to prevent President Trump from getting around congressional holds on arms sales to Turkey.

•  Secondary sanctions against any foreign person who provides arms to Turkey if they could be used in Syria.

Targeted Financial Sanctions

•  Sanctions on Halkbank, a Turkish bank with ties to President Erdogan, and additional Turkish banks facilitating transactions for the Turkish military’s operations in Syria.

Termination: The financial sanctions terminate only after Turkey halts attacks against the SDF. Termination of the rest of the sanctions additionally requires 1) Turkish forces to withdraw from Syria; and 2) Turkey not hindering counter-terrorism operations against ISIS.

Additional sanctions: Requires the Administration to impose CAATSA Section 231 sanctions against Turkey within 30 days for its purchase of the Russian S-400 air and missile defense system.

Refugee Program Designation: Requires the administration to designate, as Priority 2 refugees of special humanitarian concern, Syrians (including Syrian Kurds) who partnered with or worked for the U.S. government, U.S. based media or NGOs, or implementing organizations to facilitate safe resettlement in the U.S.

Reports/plans to address national security threats and humanitarian consequences caused by the Administration’s decision:

•  A plan to ensure that ISIS detainees and families held in Syria remain under proper custody, in accordance with internationally recognized human rights standards, and in a manner that does not threaten United States security interests.

•  A report on the impact that the Turkish invasion is having on counterterrorism operations in Syria and a plan for how to adapt counter-ISIS operations.

•  A strategy to prevent the resurgence of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

•  A report that describes the consequences of civilian harm occurring during Turkey’s military invasion of northern Syria, including violations of the law of armed conflict and gross violations of human rights.

•  A plan for how the United States will assist Syrian Kurdish and other communities affected by the Turkish military operation.

•  A report on the net worth and assets of President Erdogan.