(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the brakes on a move to impose sanctions on Turkey over its incursion into Syria, saying lawmakers need to “think extremely carefully” before using a tool that could push a NATO ally “into the arms of the Russians.”
McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he and several other Republicans are introducing a resolution that calls on President Donald Trump to end the drawdown of U.S. forces from the area and rescind an invitation for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the White House.
“I’m aware there is some appetite on both sides of the aisle to quickly reach for the toolbox of sanctions,” McConnell said. “I’m open to the Senate considering them,” though he said the Senate should consider the option carefully.
The lira extended gains after regular business hours and was trading 0.9% higher at 5.8049 per dollar at 7:16 p.m. in Istanbul.
South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham and Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen have been urging their colleagues to sign on to a bill that would sanction Turkish leaders, financial institutions and its energy sector, as well as prohibit any U.S. firms or individual from buying the country’s sovereign debt.
McConnell’s resolution, which he said is also backed by Graham, condemns Turkey’s move against the Kurds and “calls upon the United States Government to pressure the Government of Turkey, including through sanctions, to act with restraint.” It says the U.S. should continue to support Kurdish and Arab partners in Syria.
“We hope the damage in Syria can be undone, but perhaps even more importantly, we absolutely must take steps so the same mistakes, the same mistakes are not repeated in Iraq or Afghanistan,” the majority leader said.
(Updates with resolution in sixth paragraph)
--With assistance from Onur Ant.
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