Rep. Susie Lee, House Pass Sanctions Against Turkey for Brutal Attacks on Kurds, Northern Syria

October 29, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03) helped the House pass H.R. 4695, the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey (PACT) Actwhich holds the government of Turkey accountable for its brutal invasion of northern Syria that has targeted Kurdish allies who helped U.S. forces combat ISIS. The bill imposes tough, targeted sanctions against the Turkish government as well as Turkish banks tied the country’s military operations in Syria.

“These sanctions show Turkey that the United States will not sit idly by as innocent Syrians and our Kurdish allies are brutally targeted,” said Rep. Lee. “Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria is causing a crisis in more ways than one, and both Republicans and Democrats made it clear today that Congress will hold them accountable for their reprehensible actions.”

BACKGROUND: Below is an outline of the sanctions instituted by the PACT Act: 

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 (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’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 Erdoğan, and additional Turkish banks facilitating transactions for the Turkish military’s operations in Syria. 

The full text of the PACT Act can be read here