Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Legislation to Impose Sanctions on Turkey
Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 4695, Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and I thank him and Mr. Engel, distinguished Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the distinguished Ranking Member of the Committee, Mr. McCaul, for their leadership in bringing this important bipartisan leadership to the Floor.
Mr. Speaker, as we all know, three weeks ago the President unleashed an escalation of chaos and insecurity in Syria when he gave Turkey the green light to attack our Kurdish partners, threatening lives, risking regional security and undermining America’s credibility as a trustworthy ally.
And then, instead of holding Turkey accountable for its aggression, the President reversed his sanctions in exchange for a so-called ceasefire, which the Turks clearly stated was not a ceasefire.
Today, Democrats and Republicans come together to demonstrate the strong, smart leadership that has sorely been lacking from the White House as the House passes – passed this tough, targeted sanctions bill to hold the Turks accountable for the attacks – their attacks on our Kurdish partners.
We salute Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul, once again, for their leadership on this PACT, P-A-C-T, Act and on the resolutions opposing President Trump's decision on Syria, including House Joint Resolution 77, a bipartisan, bicameral resolution, which passed the House on a 354-60 vote.
Here are the facts: our Kurdish partners freed millions of people and tens of thousands of square miles from the grip of ISIS. Throughout the fight, they sustained nearly 11,000 casualties. Until recently, our Kurdish partners protected America’s security and the security of the region as more than 10,000 ISIS fighters and tens of thousands of ISIS family members were under their control.
Yet, in a matter of weeks, the President has put our progress at risk. Even with the death of al-Baghdadi, ISIS remains a serious and resurgent threat. The death of a top ISIS leader does not mean the death of ISIS.
Scores of fighters remain under uncertain conditions in Syrian prisons, and at risk of a jail break. Nearly 800 ISIS supporters and family members have reportedly escaped. To say that Turkey and Syria still adequately guard the prisoners is outrageous and dangerous.
At the same time, more than 250,000 Kurdish civilians have fled their homes because of Turkish attacks. Dozens of civilians, in addition to possibly hundreds of brave Kurdish fighters, have been killed.
The only winners from the President's disastrous decision in Syria are ISIS, the Syrian government, Iran and Russia.
With these targeted, strong sanctions, America is holding accountable top Turkish officials responsible for human rights abuses, including attacking our Kurdish partners. We are penalizing Turkish financial institutions who perpetuate President Erdogan’s corruption and abuses and are preventing the sale of arms for Turkey – to Turkey, for use in Syria.
As the House passes this legislation, we again call upon the President to support the Kurdish communities and work to ensure that the Turkish military acts with restraint. And, we require the Trump Administration to finally present a clear strategy to defeat ISIS.
I strongly urge bipartisan – I know we have bipartisan support for this legislation.
Again, I salute Ranking Member McCaul and Chairman Engel, for bringing this legislation to the Floor, which is a vote to support the sacrifice of our military and our allies and a vote to restore strength, strategy and sanity to our national security policy.
I think that a very strong, bipartisan vote in the House, similar to the one we had on House Joint Resolution 77, will send a very clear message that we can come together and we will come together in the interest of our national security, in the interest of Americans’ values, which are a part of our strength, and again, to fight terrorism wherever it exists, so that it does not reach our shores.
With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
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