Amid criticism of the Trump administration delaying sanctions against NATO ally Turkey and attacks against Kurdish allies in Syria, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Turkey has been warned, and "maximum pressure" sanctions to "destroy the Turkish economy" have been expedited "quickly" pending administration and congressional decisions.
"This is a complicated developing situation: you have a NATO ally on one hand, fighting against the Kurds who are helping us with the fight against ISIS," Mnuchin told ABC's "This Week." "We are in daily communications with Turkey, both at the Defense Department, the State Department on very specific issues. We are ready to go on a moment's notice to put on sanctions.
"And as I've said, these sanctions could be starting small; they could be maximum pressure, which would destroy the Turkish economy. So, the president is very focused on this. He's offered to mediate this situation. It is a developing situation."
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning an explanation of his foreign policy moves in the Middle East.
"Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change," Trump began in his first tweet. "Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?"
"Do you remember two years ago when Iraq was going to fight the Kurds in a different part of Syria," he posted in a subsequent tweet. "Many people wanted us to fight with the Kurds against Iraq, who we just fought for. I said no, and the Kurds left the fight, twice. Now the same thing is happening with Turkey......"
".....The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years," Trump continued. "Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!"
"Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey," Trump concluded an hour later. "Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!"
Mnuchin told "This Week" there is a meeting Sunday with the National Security Council on Turkey's aggressions.
"It is moving quickly," Mnuchin said, rejecting the narrative of a delay. "We will be meeting at the [NSC on Sunday], again, to monitor the situation. We will be taking in new information. And we're ready to go at a moment's notice to put on sanctions.
"Now, we have warned the Turks. I spoke to the finance minister on Friday. The State Department has also had conversations. They know what we will do if they don't stop these activities."
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