US congressmen seek to link Turkey sanctions to violations in Aegean, East Med

US congressmen seek to link Turkey sanctions to violations in Aegean, East Med

A cross-party bill submitted to US Congress seeks to link Turkey’s activities in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean to sanctions imposed by Washington earlier this week over Ankara’s offensive in Syria, the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) reported on Thursday.

According to the bill put forward by congressmen Gus Bilirakis of the Republican Party and Democrat Ted Deutch, Ankara would have to desist all violations of international law in the region for sanctions, imposed on Monday, to be lifted, the ANA-MPA said.

In an announcement on Monday, US President Donald Trump said he was halting negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey and raising steel tariffs back up to 50 percent, the Associated Press reported. He also imposed sanctions on three senior Turkish officials and Turkey’s defense and energy ministries.

ANA-MPA said the new bill pertains mainly to the sanctions against Turkish ministers of Defense Hulusi Akar and Energy Fatih Donmez.

Commenting on the legislation, Hellenic American Leadership Council chief Endy Zemenides was optimistic.

“We don’t know how the situation will develop, as [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan may come to some sort of deal with [US Vice-President] Mike Pence and [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, but the fact that the bill has been tabled means that plenty of light will be cast on Turkish activities in the Aegean and Cyprus,” Zemenides told the ANA-MPA.

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