President Trump has given his administration the power to place "significant" sanctions on Turkey, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a press conference on Friday.
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Although the administration has not yet imposed any sanctions on Turkey, Mnuchin warned they were willing to do so.
"These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don’t have to use them," he said. "We can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to."
Trump faced a fierce, bipartisan backlash this week after a sudden announcement that the U.S. was withdrawing from northeastern Syria in advance of Turkey's military action, blindsiding both lawmakers and American allies. Opponents argued the decision will result in the slaughter of the American-backed Kurdish forces (and civilians), who led the fight against ISIS in Syria, at the hands of Turkey.
A slew of Trump's key allies, such as South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, blasted his decision, warning it could become the "biggest mistake of his presidency" unless it's reversed.
Earlier in the week, Graham and Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen announced a bill that would punish Turkey for its attacks on Kurds. Trump appeared to be on board with the proposal.
“I say hit Turkey very hard financially & with sanctions if they don’t play by the rules! I am watching closely," he wrote in a tweet on Thursday.
Reports show that Turkey has already killed at least 23 Kurdish fighters.