US Senate Panel Passes Bill To Impose Sanctions On Turkey

A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday passed legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey  for its invasion of Syria and purchase of Russia’s S-400 antiaircraft defense system. The bill received broad-based bipartisan support.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the legislation — known as the “Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act” — by 18 votes to 4.

“Turkey’s actions over the past year are truly beyond the pale. This bill makes clear to Turkey that its behavior with respect to Syria is unacceptable, and its purchase of the S-400 system is untenable,” said Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), the leading minority member on the committee, in a tweet following the vote.

“Now’s the time for the Senate to come together and take this opportunity to change Turkey’s behavior,” stated Senator Jim Risch, the panel’s Republican chairman and a leading sponsor of the bill.

The sanctions would be applied — among other people and entities — on key individuals in the government, including the defense and finance ministers, as well as state-owned Halk Bank, one of the nation’s largest lenders.

The bill must still be brought to the Senate floor for a full vote and be signed by the President before it can become law. A similar bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives.

Turkey blasts New Bill

The Turkish Foreign Ministry described the latest initiatives in the US Congress as “a new manifestation of disrespect for our sovereign decisions regarding our national security.”

“These initiatives do not have any function other than to harm Turkish-US relations,” it said in a statement, and further calling on Congress to act with what it called “common sense.”