After Threats To ‘Destroy’ Turkish Economy, Trump Announces Hike In Steel Tariffs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the media while departing the White House on October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to attend a campaign rally in Louisi... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the media while departing the White House on October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to attend a campaign rally in Louisiana later in the day. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 14, 2019 5:07 p.m.

President Donald Trump announced Monday that tariffs on imported Turkish steel would be raised to 50%, among other measures, in response to the country’s invasion of Kurdish-controlled areas of Northern Syria.

Just days ago, Trump threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey” amid bipartisan criticism of his sudden withdrawal of forces after a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In addition to raising tariffs on Turkish steel to 50% — matching the rate from five months ago — Trump’s statement said he’d authorized sanctions on anyone “contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.” He also said he had put trade talks on hold.

Pro-Turkey forces have reportedly executed civilians, including the political leader Hevrin Khalaf, during the invasion. And prisoners affiliated with the Islamic State have reportedly escaped from detention. The President, earlier Monday, said those prisoners could be “easily recaptured.”

A “small footprint” of U.S. forces in Syria’s south will remain there, Trump’s statement said, and those pulled out of the north “will now redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation.”

At the end of his statement, the President reiterated his threat to “swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”

That struck a different tone than a tweet from the President Sunday.

“Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other,” he wrote of the conflict. “Let them!”

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