WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after President Donald Trump announced he would lift U.S. sanctions on Turkey:
“As if clearing the way for a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Syrian Kurds wasn’t enough, President Trump seems determined to keep handing political and military victories to Russia and Syria, kowtowing to Turkey, and opening the door for further Iranian expansion in the region. Today, the murderous Syrian regime and the Russian security forces continue to rejoice over their control of almost all remaining autonomous Kurdish territory, in some cases literally standing in abandoned American military posts. It is inconceivable that a self-described ‘deal-maker’ would lift sanctions on Turkey without any kind of concrete commitments that their ceasefire will be permanent, particularly as Iraq has now warned that American troops from Syria will only be able to stay there for four weeks. Moreover, according to the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. government still does not have an accounting of the ISIS fighters who have escaped detention. Make no mistake, President Trump ignores the national security threat posed by ISIS at our nation’s peril.
“The only question remaining is whether President Trump is acting directly at the behest of Russian and Turkish leaders, or whether he is willfully blind to his own failures. Today’s press conference of President Trump standing over the smoldering wreckage of our Syria policy and American leadership to declare victory is the epitome of his devastating approach to our national security.”