White House welcomes Turkey’s Syria sanctions
Washington has praised Turkey's sanctions on Syrian regime over its brutal crackdown on an eight-month uprising and urged other governments to follow suit, Today's Zaman reported.
"The leadership shown by Turkey in response to the brutality and violation of the fundamental rights of the Syrian people will isolate the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime and send a strong message to Assad and his circle that their actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement.
He said the US commends the Turkish government for its announcement of economic sanctions and other measures against the Syrian regime.
Turkey said on Wednesday it had suspended all financial credit dealings with Syria and frozen Syrian government assets, joining the Arab League and Western powers in imposing economic sanctions against Assad's government.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told a news conference that Turkey, Syria's largest trading partner and a rising Middle East power, will also block delivery of all weapons and military equipment to Damascus as part of measures aimed at persuading Assad to end the crackdown on protesters.
Senior officials in Assad's administration and business people who have provided strong support to the government will also be banned from travelling to Turkey.
Davutoğlu said Turkey would also consider taking additional measures in the future. A Foreign Ministry official said the sanctions would come into effect immediately.
The move by Turkey, once a close friend of Syria, piles further pressure on Assad and comes after the Arab League announced economic sanctions against Damascus.
White House statement said the measures announced by the Turkish government on Wednesday will undoubtedly increase the pressure on the Syrian regime, and the US continues to call on other governments to join the chorus of condemnation and pressure against the Assad regime so that the peaceful and democratic aspirations of the Syrian people can be realized.
"President [Barack] Obama has coordinated closely with Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan throughout the crisis in Syria and will continue to do so going forward," the statement concluded.
Muslim Turkey was once one of Syria's closest regional allies, and Erdoğan had built a strong rapport with Assad.
But as the violence grew worse and Assad ignored Erdoğan's advice to halt a crackdown on protesters and make urgent reforms, relations became increasingly frosty and Erdoğan has now bluntly told Assad he should quit.
Turkey now hosts Syrian military defectors and an umbrella Syrian opposition group. Turkey, which last year had a bilateral trade of $2.5 billion with Syria, has said it is weighing new trade routes to bypass Syria should violence there continue.
Turkey, which has a 900 km long border with Syria, said on Tuesday it did not want military intervention in Syria but was ready for any scenario, including setting up a buffer zone to contain any mass influx of refugees.
The Turkish army set up a security buffer zone inside northern Iraq during the first Gulf War in 1991 and has maintained small detachments there ever since.