U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins said they support imposing sanctions if Turkey goes too far after President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from the Syrian border opened the door for the nation to launch an offensive against Kurds in northern Syria.
Collins, a Republican, says the president’s decision is jeopardizing the lives of Kurds who have supported the United States in its fight against the Islamic State and believes sanctions against Turkey could be warranted.
“I think sanctions are a good idea. I worry whether they will be effective at this point in stopping the Turks from the slaughter of our allies,” she said. “I vehemently disagree with the president’s decision.”
King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said he wants to review the package of sanctions that have been put together by Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, but said he will support sanctions and believes that most other senators will also.
“I heard Sen. Graham say the other day he thought he could get 95 votes. I certainly think he can. I am certainly one of those votes,” King said. “To have exposed our Kurdish allies to the tender mercies of the Turks is, I think, reprehensible.”
Both Maine senators called for the Trump administration to brief the entire Senate on the matter, with Collins saying the administration “has an obligation to come before us and explain what was an incredibly poor decision.”
Both senators, who serve on the Intelligence Committee, said they are also puzzled by a comment from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that he would gladly investigate any Ukranian-based efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. elections, since the committee’s two-year investigation uncovered no links to Ukraine.
King and Collins said they expect the Turkey situation to be a focus of discussion when Congress gets back to work next week.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.