US Treasury Secretary: 'We can shut down the Turkish economy'

US President Donald Trump walks to speak to the press prior to departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC

Donald Trump Readies Possible Sanctions Against Turkey 1NICHOLAS KAMM AFP via Getty Images Charlie Spiering11 Oct 2019

In a press conference on Friday, United States (US) Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that President Trump signed a new executive order giving US officials very new significant sanctions authorities that can target Turkey and the Turkish government.

In statements Thursday, Trump said that options for dealing with the situation included sending in "thousands" of American forces, a proposal he rejected; imposing severe economic sanctions on Turkey; or providing U.S. mediation between Turkey and the Kurds.

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They said that the United States had "repositioned" an unspecified number of USA troops in the region to provide force protection for about 1,000 American troops now based in eastern Syria. "We hope we don't have to use them, but we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to", Mnuchin said.

The move comes as Trump has defended his decision to pull back some USA forces in northern Syria, which cleared the way for Turkey to send its forces into the country and attack American-allied Kurdish militias.

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"Nobody greenlighted this operation by Turkey, just the opposite".

Shortly after Milley spoke, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned he would not stop his assault against Kurdish fighters no matter what anyone said.

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"This decision was made to ensure American troops were not caught up in the fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces", he said.

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