President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order to impose sanctions and visa bans on some members of the Turkish government as relations between the two countries worsened.

The U.S. will place sanctions on three of Turkey’s most powerful officials ― the ministers of defense, energy and interior ― and its departments of defense and energy, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday.

“To avoid suffering further sanctions imposed under this new Executive Order Turkey must immediately cease its unilateral offensive in northeast Syria and return to a dialogue with the United States on security in northeast Syria,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The president first announced the order in a tweeted statement earlier Monday, noting that some U.S. troops would remain in Syria “to monitor the situation.”

The order comes roughly a week after Trump’s widely condemned decision to abandon U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria ― a move experts warned would allow Turkish forces to invade the area and likely lead to the reemergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. 

Turkey launched airstrikes against the Kurds in northern Syria on Wednesday. Turkish-led forces have targeted Syrian border towns previously held by Kurdish militia, and hundreds of ISIS fighters escaped detention amid the chaos.

In response, Trump said the U.S. would impose sanctions against some current and former officials of the Turkish government. The president also said in his statement earlier Monday that he would call off negotiations for a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey.

“I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” Trump said.

Trump’s move likely won’t have immediate consequences, such as an end to the Turkish offensive. The Treasury and State Departments will have to identify which individuals to sanction and they will likely be careful to avoid especially powerful figures in Turkish politics or the military with whom the U.S. is likely to interact in the future, given Turkey’s continued membership of the NATO alliance.

American sanctions also have relatively limited effect on Turkey because the country is far more economically reliant on the European Union, which has yet to say it will also implement sanctions over Syria and is traditionally more cautious than Washington in its dealings with Ankara.

This article has been updated with more information on the sanctions and their likely effect.



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