US slaps sanctions on Turkish ministers over Syria assault
The US Treasury slapped punitive sanctions on Turkey's defense minister and two other ministers Monday in response to Ankara's military assault on northern Syria.
Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, and Energy Minister Fatih Donmez were placed on the Treasury's sanctions blacklist, freezing their US assets and banning US or US-related transactions with them.
The defense and energy ministries were also hit with sanctions, the Treasury said.
"The United States is holding the Turkish government accountable for escalating violence by Turkish forces, endangering innocent civilians and destabilizing the region," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The sanctions were announced after President Donald Trump signed an order authorizing them, saying Turkey's action "constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States.
"I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat," Trump said in the order.
The sanctions seek mainly to lock the designated individuals and organizations out of the global financial system, by threatening to penalize any international banks with a US presence involved in transactions with those on the blacklist.
In addition to sanctions, Trump's order permits US authorities to ban travel by designated individuals to the United States.