By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - A U.S. Senate committee voted Wednesday to advance a sanctions bill against Turkey for its anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria and purchase of a Russian missile defense system.
The bill cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with an 18-4 vote and now advances to consideration by the full Senate.
Named the "Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act," the bill was sponsored by committee Chairman Jim Risch and ranking Democrat Bob Menendez.
"Turkey’s actions over the past year are truly beyond the pale," said Menendez on Twitter, adding that the bill gives a message to Turkey that its operation is "unacceptable and its purchase of the S400 system is untenable.”
Turkey's U.S. Ambassador Serdar Kilic called the move a "shame" and urged Menendez to consider U.S. support for PYD/YPG terror group, the Syrian affiliate of PKK in northern Syria.
"What about your actions senator? Supporting a terrorist organization with the pretext of fighting another, calling it an ally, turning a blind eye to the miseries it inflicts on the Syrian people, trying to deprive a NATO ally from its right to fight against terrorism. SHAME," Kilic tweeted.
Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Tom Udall voted against the bill.
The bill seeks to impose government officials, foreign persons providing arms to Turkish forces in Syria, and financial institutions that facilitate transactions for Turkish Armed Forces, as well as imposition of the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.
In October, a bipartisan bill was also passed 403-16 seeking to impose sanctions on Turkey for its Syria operation.
On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
On Oct. 22, Turkey reached an agreement with Russia on a 10-point deal to force the terrorist YPG/PKK to withdraw from a planned terror-free zone.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.