The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) formally published in the Federal Register on Monday the lifting of economic sanctions against Turkey’s defense and energy ministries, more than three months after President Trump ordered the action.
The sanctions against the government agencies and several key officials were imposed by the Trump administration in early October after Turkish forces launched attacks into northern Syria. After Turkey maintained a five-day cease-fire, President Trump directed the sanctions be lifted on Oct. 23.
The Turkish Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, along with National Defense Minister Hulisi Akar, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Energy Minister Fatih Donmez, on Oct. 14 were placed on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.
Placement on the SDN List immediately blocked any assets or investments that the two Turkish ministries and three government officials had in the U.S. and prevented U.S. persons or companies from conducting business with them.
Capitol Hill lawmakers late last year proposed punishing Turkey with wider sanctions.
On Oct. 17, Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced the 2019 Countering Turkish Aggression Act that, if passed, would have levied significantly more sanctions against Turkey for its military incursion into northern Syria. A week earlier the two senators also introduced the Graham-Van Hollen Turkey Sanctions Bill, which would have also added Turkey’s president to the SDN List.