Mnuchin: Trump has authorized sanctions on Turkey but hasn't activated them

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He said the sanctions would target specific Turkish individuals or departments "as needed".

Turkey began the offensive quickly, pounding Kurdish militias, who had spent many months fighting alongside USA forces against Islamic State militants.

Esper insisted, as have other officials, that anti-ISIS operations by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Force outside the incursion zone have not stopped, and that no prisoners were known to have escaped.

"I say hit Turkey very hard financially & with sanctions if they don't play by the rules!"

He said he wasn't aware of any change in plans for Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to visit the White House in November. He said now that ISIS had been defeated, there was no reason for USA troops to remain.

"No, I don't think he thinks his actions are what led to this".

The official commended Trump as a "visionary person" because "he knew the threat imposed on Turkey by the terrorist group, so he took the decision to remove USA forces from the area".

In a rare break from Trump, some of his fellow Republicans have sharply criticized the president's decision.

The punitive measures, Mnuchin said, can be targeted at any person associated with the Turkish government.

He and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff, said that Turkey continued air and artillery attacks on a zone about 20 miles deep along the northeastern Syrian border, and that ground forces have entered up to 6-7 miles into Syria in some places.

It's also unclear what, if any, effect the threat of sanctions will have.

The penalties were being readied so that President Trump could follow through on his threat to "totally destroy and obliterate" Turkey's economy if it does anything he considers "off limits".

Trump tasked the State Department with working to find a cease-fire and negotiate a settlement between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, but Turkey rejected that idea Friday, saying the operation would be halted only if Syrian Kurdish forces vacated the area and put down their weapons. "These are very powerful sanctions, we hope we don't have to use them, but we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to". "We're on top of sanctions".

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