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Wyoming Congresswoman and House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-AL) and nearly thirty of her Republican colleagues in the House will be introducing legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey in response to Ankara’s military offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Northern Syria. This move follows similar efforts led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in the Senate.

“President Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria, who incurred thousands of casualties in the fight against ISIS and helped us protect the homeland, said Rep. Cheney. These sanctions are not only a response to the Erdogan regime’s violent attacks in northern Syria. Congress has long had concerns about the regime’s cooperation with U.S. adversaries, such as Russia. If Turkey wants to be treated like an ally, it must begin behaving like one. They must be sanctioned for their attacks on our Kurdish allies.”

Original co-sponsors of this legislation will include the following House GOP members: 

  • Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)
  • Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-01)
  • HASC Ranking Member Rep. Mac Thornberry (TX-13)
  • Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19)
  • Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02)
  • Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03)
  • Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01)
  • Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01)
  • Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-02)
  • Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08)
  • Rep. French Hill (AR-02)
  • Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23)
  • Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08)
  • Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04)
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)
  • Rep. Paul Mitchell (MI-10)
  • Rep. John Ratcliffe (TX-04)
  • Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14)
  • Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03)
  • Rep. Denver Riggleman (VA-05)
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
  • Rep. Mike Turner (OH-10)
  • Rep. Mark Walker (NC-06)
  • Rep. Michael Waltz (FL-06)
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02)
  • Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02)
  • Rep. Steve Womack (AR-03)

Rep. Bacon said: “Allies are extremely important for U.S. national security and while Turkey is a NATO ally, the Kurds have been instrumental in the fight against ISIS. The Kurds have spilled their blood alongside ours for the last 16 years and we absolutely can’t abandon them now. Turkey should be held accountable for their malicious actions towards them. We must reestablish joint security arrangements to protect our Kurdish allies, secure detainees, and permanently defeat ISIS.”

Rep. Stefanik said:“I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation. After recently returning from a Congressional Delegation visit to Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Syria-Jordan border—which included meetings with foreign government leaders and our own U.S. security and intelligence leadership, it is clear that terrorist groups still pose a serious threat to this region’s instability and our own national security. Any actions to increase the instability of Syria must be met with adequate consequence. That is why I support imposing sanctions on Turkey. While this is an important first step to prevent further instability in the region, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House Armed Services Committee to continue to work together to develop a long-term strategy.”

Rep. Kinzinger said: President Erdogan’s assault on our Kurdish allies is reckless and reprehensible. The Kurds sacrificed 10,000 of their own men and women combatting ISIS, and we cannot allow Turkey, a NATO partner, to attack them without repercussions. I’m proud to join my colleagues in pushing for sanctions to target the Erdogan government and deter them from unnecessary bloodshed in Syria. Far too many men, women, and children have died at the hands of Assad, Putin, and Khamenei. It is my hope that Erdogan’s name does not join this list.”

Rep. Wenstrup said: “I served alongside the Kurds during my tour of duty in Iraq, and they have been loyal friends to America. For years, Kurdish fighters have led the fight against ISIS terrorists and detained ISIS prisoners, reducing the need for more American boots on the ground. Now, this is the Kurds’ hour of need. Turkey must account for their military actions which harm our allies, threaten to free thousands of ISIS prisoners, and bring greater instability to the region.”

Rep. Hudson said: “I am sickened by Turkey’s attack on our Kurdish allies. This invasion is a direct threat to our national security and it will pave the way for ISIS to reemerge. Erdogan needs to back down and stop these atrocities or he’ll be met with crippling sanctions.”

Rep. Banks said: “Turkey must understand actions have consequences. If they attack a U.S. ally or show unnecessary aggression, they will see swift bipartisan punishment just as President Trump promised in the red line he set Monday.”

Rep. Waltz said: “To our Kurdish allies: Stay strong. We are doing all we can to stop this attack from the Turkish Armed Forces. The decision to withdraw our specialized forces in northeastern Syria is an enormous risk for our national security. ISIS has been defeated as a caliphate but not a movement – and the movement is growing stronger. We saw what happened with Al-Qaeda when Obama abandoned Iraq. History has a tendency to repeat itself. We cannot take the same risk in Syria.”

Rep. Arrington said:“President Trump made clear that if Turkey crosses a line in Syria, he would ‘totally obliterate the Economy of Turkey’ – and this legislation gives the United States the tools to make good on that promise. I am proud to join my colleagues in ensuring that Turkey will not be given free rein to create a catastrophe in Syria that gives rise, once again, to evil Islamic radicalism that threatens America and our allies in the region.”

Rep. Mitchell said: “We must ensure Turkey cease actions that harm our Kurdish allies or lead to further instability in the region. The collapse of ISIS’ physical caliphate in Syria was a direct result of hard-fought battles by Kurdish militias on the ground with assistance from the United States. If we hope for a stable Syria and an end to ISIS, we cannot abandon our commitment to the Kurds.”

Rep. Crawford said“The President has full authority to execute foreign policy as he sees fit and these sanctions will ensure Turkey is punished for any belligerent behavior they exhibit during their operations. America is watching as they proceed.”

Rep. Hurd said:“One of the things I learned in the CIA is to be nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys – not the other way around. Just as the Kurds had our backs against ISIS, we need to have theirs as Turkey launches a military attack in northern Syria. I’m proud to join in this bipartisan effort today by the House and Senate to impose sanctions on Turkey, and I will continue to do whatever it takes to make sure the United States supports our friends and holds bad actors accountable. We cannot let up one inch.”

Rep. Hill said: “Turkey’s military offensive into northeast Syria confirms our worst fears and spells disaster for our Kurdish allies. Yielding to Turkey is geopolitically short-sighted and ultimately hurts U.S. foreign policy interests and global security across the entire Middle East. Congress must act immediately to limit the disastrous impact of Turkey’s invasion into Syria.”

Rep. Crenshaw said“These sanctions are a direct result of the Administration’s grave mistake of moving American forces out of Northern Syria. Predictably we are seeing the Administration’s decision result in a preventable attack against our Kurdish allies, who have long been our partner in the fight against ISIS and its influence. We must hold Erdogan and his Free Syrian Army proxies accountable for their actions. For the sake of our allies and the homeland, it is imperative we implement these sanctions.”

Rep. Womack said: “I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this sanctions bill. What is happening in northeastern Syria is unconscionable. The Kurds have been faithful allies who stood by us when others would not. This legislation shows that we stand with our allies and reminds Turkey that their aggression is unacceptable and an invasion threatens the security of this volatile region while only empowering Iran, Russia, and —ultimately— ISIS.”

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