U.S. threatens to shut down Turkish economy if the military operation continues

U.S. President Donald Trump has given the U.S. Treasury Department extensive authority to hit Turkey with sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press briefing on Friday.

According to the press release, Trump has given Treasury the authority to stop Turkey expanding its invasion any further in northeastern Syria.

These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we do not have to use them. But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to," Munchin told reporters about the sanctions during the press conference.

The U.S. officials, including Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and U.S. members of the Congress have been calling on Turkey to stop the military operation into northeast Syria. Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen prepared a draft sanctions package this week that if passed would impose severe sanctions on Erdoğan and top ministers from his cabinet, as well as the country’s military and energy sectors.

The Turkish military launched Operation Peace Spring against Kurdish-led groups in northeast Syria on Wednesday.

Currently, both the Republican and Democratic parties oppose the Turkish operation and strongly condemned Trump's decision to give a green light to Turkish aggression.

According to the release by the U.S. Treasury, Trump is set to sign the Executive Order "to dissuade Turkey from any further offensive military action in northeast Syria, including but not limited to indiscriminate targeting of civilians, targeting of civilian infrastructure, targeting of ethnic or religious minorities, or targeting or other actions that undermine the continued counterterrorism activities of the Syrian Democratic Forces."

The Order will delegate to the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the President and the Secretary of State, authority to designate individuals and entities of the Government of Turkey involved in human rights abuses or actions leading to the further deterioration of peace, security, and stability in northeastern Syria. The Order also will give the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to impose secondary sanctions on those engaging in knowing and significant transactions with designated individuals and entities of the Government of Turkey.

The release ended issuing a new set of threats to the Turkish banking sector.

“At the direction of President Trump we will be targeting specific Turkish individuals or departments as needed,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This is a notice to banks and other parties to be on notice of potential actions.”