Turkey Prepares to Hit Back at U.S. Sanctions

Oct 21, 2019 | 09:30 GMT

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hold a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 17, 2019.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hold a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 17, 2019. Any U.S. sanctions on Ankara will incite a Turkish response that could spell trouble for American companies.

(STRINGER/Getty Images)


  • The fragile cease-fire that the United States brokered between Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces will not reduce the U.S. political drive to punish Turkey through sanctions.
  • Turkey will have strong domestic reasons to retaliate against these sanctions, most immediately through grassroots activism, boycotts and local government initiatives against U.S. and Western interests inside Turkey.
  • Ankara will also have a strong incentive to retaliate, but it won't be able to change American behavior toward Turkey given that it is the smaller of the two powers.

The White House is eager to lift sanctions against Turkey, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Congress is keen on ceasing its pressure on Ankara over its offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces anytime soon. Indeed, some members of Congress have described the Oct. 17 U.S.-Turkish cease-fire deal as a "capitulation" to Ankara, raising the prospect of continued American sanctions pressure against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government over its incursion. That, unsurprisingly, will seriously impact Turkey, raising the prospect that the country will retaliate against the United States and its interests in Turkey -- even if it will seek to walk a fine line between exacting some retribution against the United States and not retaliating so much that it results in even greater economic pain for Ankara. Whatever the case, Turkey's likely response will have a seriously detrimental effect on American-linked businesses and individuals in Turkey in the short...

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