TURKEY AND SYRIA; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 173
(Senate - October 31, 2019)

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From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            TURKEY AND SYRIA

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, now, on another matter, many of us 
have been concerned for some time about the trajectory of our 
strategically important NATO ally Turkey under the leadership of 
President Erdogan.
  Despite the hopes of the Obama administration and others that he 
would be a model of Islamic democracy, Erdogan has instead used 
democracy to work toward undemocratic ends. Freedom of the press, 
secularism, and human rights have suffered under his rule, while 
corruption has flourished. Opposition to Erdogan is growing, but the 
political space for Turks to express their opposition is shrinking.
  Obviously, in recent days, our concerns have centered on Turkey's 
incursion into northeast Syria. We are angry about the damage Turkey 
has caused for our local Kurdish partners in Syria.
  I have spoken at length about my concerns on Turkey's incursion and 
my opposition to withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria, but I believe we 
need to be guided by our strategic interests, not emotions, as we seek 
to contain the damage of Turkey's incursion, peel Ankara away from 
Moscow, and encourage better behavior at home and abroad by Erdogan's 
  I hope we will carefully consider all of our options to achieve these 
important objectives and carefully examine whether a broad mandatory 
sanctions bill is really the best solution.
  We should think carefully about what specific effect we want 
sanctions to have, how Turkey will respond to them, and how Russia or 
others may exploit growing tensions between Washington and Ankara.
  Before targeting an economy that is highly integrated with Europe's 
economy, we should seek a better understanding of the specific economic 
impact that broad sanctions will have on the global economy, on our 
European partners, and on American workers and job creators. We should 
reflect on whether we would be better off working in concert with 
European allies to shape Turkey's behavior versus abruptly forcing 
European companies to cut ties with Turkey through the threat of 
  Before using these kinds of policy tools--the kinds we use against 
Iran and North Korea--against a democracy of 80 million people, we 
should consider the political impact that blunt sanctions will have on 
the Turkish people. Will sanctions rally them to our cause or to 
Erdogan's? Would more targeted sanctions perhaps avoid some of these 
unintended consequences? These are just some of the critical questions 
I hope our committees of jurisdiction and the administration are able 
to examine before we act.