Congress and President Trump: Protect the Kurds by sanctioning Turkey

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U.S. Congress, please pass the bills proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) to sanction Turkey for its actions against our Kurdish allies in Syria. 

While the President’s decision to withdraw from the Kurdish areas of Syria may be based on a desire to stop these endless wars, the impact will be disastrous.  Based on his past behavior, Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, can only be trusted to be ruthless, and he considers the Kurds to be terrorists. If the Kurds are slaughtered, the President and Congress will have played a large part in shaping their fate.  Imposing economic sanctions on Turkey will limit the potentially catastrophic impact of this decision, and show the world that we stand with our allies in the fight against ISIS.

On a moral level, we owe loyalty to the Kurds for their support in Syria and Iraq. There is a reason that seasoned hands at foreign diplomacy, including those who have supported the President on most issues, are rising against the decision to withdraw our troops from the Kurdish areas of Syria.

Abandoning the Kurds would be an object lesson for other potential partners, and allies will be harder to find.  Hillary Clinton drove us to support an intervention in Libya that cost Kadafi his life, although Kadafi had actually given up his nuclear ambitions.  Consider the effect that has had on Iran and North Korea, where we are trying to get totalitarian rulers to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions. 

For moral and practical reasons, Turkey’s leaders must understand that they will pay a very high price for their aggression against the Kurds in Syria. For these reasons, Congress must pass, and the President must sign, legislation that honors our debt to the Kurds by sanctioning Turkey for these brutal actions against our allies.