Erdoğan spokesman says Bolton remarks proof US targeting Turkey in economic war

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Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin holds a press conference at Presidental Complex in Ankara.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman said on Wednesday that remarks by the US national security advisor regarding Turkey’s economic situation were proof that the US administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war, Reuters reported.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, on Wednesday told Reuters that Turkey could end its lira-battering crisis with the United States “instantly” by freeing detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, adding that a Qatari cash infusion of $15 billion will not help Ankara’s economy.

In a written statement responding to Bolton, Erdoğan spokesman İbrahim Kalın said, “His statement is proof that the Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war.”

“Turkey has no intention of starting an economic war with any party. It cannot, however, be expected to keep silent in the face of attacks against its economy and judiciary,” he said.

“The U.S. administration’s most recent policies are at odds with the fundamental principles and values of the NATO alliance,” he added.

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 Brunson under house arrest after almost two years in pretrial detention rather than release him as demanded by the US administration.

After imposing economic sanctions on two Turkish ministers on Aug. 1 for their role in the detention of Brunson, President Trump on Aug. 10 ramped up his sanctions on Turkey by doubling US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

“Look, the Turkish government made a big mistake in not releasing Pastor Brunson,” Bolton told Reuters.

“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 standoff, 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.”

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