US nat’l security advisor: Qatari cash infusion will not help Ankara’s economy

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US National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, on August 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / ABIR SULTAN

Turkey could end its lira-battering crisis with the United States “instantly” by freeing a detained American pastor, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said, adding that a Qatari cash infusion will not help Ankara’s economy, Reuters reported.

Turkey has been facing a currency crisis since its relations with the US administration were dramatically strained over a court decision to put American pastor Andrew Brunson under house arrest after almost two years in pretrial detention rather than release him as demanded by the US administration.

“Look, the Turkish government made a big mistake in not releasing Pastor Brunson,” John Bolton told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Israel.

“Every day that goes by that mistake continues, this crisis could be over instantly if they did the right thing as a NATO ally, part of the West, and release pastor Brunson without condition.”

Asked if the United States questioned Turkey’s membership in NATO given the stand-off, Bolton said: “That’s not an issue at the moment. We’re focused on Pastor Brunson and the other Americans that the Turkish government’s holding illegitimately and we expect that to get resolved.”

Meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on Aug. 15, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani pledged $15 billion of investment in Turkey that will be channeled into Turkish financial markets and banks.

Qatar and Turkey’s central banks signed a currency swap agreement to provide liquidity and support for financial stability, Qatar’s central bank said on Sunday.

Bolton was skeptical about the intervention by the Gulf state, which has been feuding with US allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

“Well, I think what they pledged is utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy. It’s certainly not helpful, but we’ll actually see what develops from their pledge,” he said.

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