State Senator Raptakis calls on Rhode Island Congressional delegation to support sanctions against Turkey for attack on northern Syria

State Senator Leonidas Raptakis is calling on Congressmen Jim Langevin and Davic Cicilline, as well as Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse to support sanctions against the Turkish government for their recent incursion into northern Syria.

Raptakis said the Turkish invasion threatens to turn into a genocide against the Kurdish people who had established a stable area where some two million Kurdish citizens were able to reside in relative peace compared to the rest of the troubled country. He noted the existence of this strong Kurdish enclave was a threat to Turkish control over its own Kurdish population, a minority group that is treated badly by the government.

“The Trump administration made the mistake of giving Turkey the green light to eradicate the Kurdish community in northern Syria,” said Raptakis. “That community was made possible by the effectiveness of the Kurdish fighters who worked alongside U.S. military forces to weaken the presence of ISIS in the area. We need to take action to punish Turkey now and try to put a stop to this disasterous attack on the Kurds.”

Senators James Risch (R-ID) and Senator Robert Mendendez (D-NJ) have introduced bipartisan legislation to impose sanctions on the Turkish government, in addition to its military and energy sectors. He noted Turkish action cannot go unchecked, as it threatens the security of the region as well as the eastern Mediterranean.

“If Turkish aggression here goes unchecked, the Erdogan government will seek to build on this aggressive action and will be a threat to stability,” said Raptakis. “Already, the Turkish dictator has started talking about his nuclear ambitions and Congress needs to take action to contain the damage that has already been done and prevent the spread of further chaos.”