EXCLUSIVE-Bolton remarks proof U.S. targeting Turkey in…

By Orhan Coskun

ANKARA, Aug 23 – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday remarks by the U.S. National Security Adviser regarding Turkey’s economic situation were proof that the U.S. administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war.

In a written statement responding to an interview which John Bolton gave to Reuters, Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the U.S. administration’s most recent policies were at odds with the fundamental principles and values of the NATO alliance.

Turkey and the United States are embroiled in a deep dispute focused on a U.S. pastor being tried on terrorism charges in Turkey. The row has fuelled a slide in the lira, which has lost more than a third of its value against the dollar this year.

Bolton had said during a visit to Israel he was sceptical about the pledge of $15 billion of investment support for Turkey by Qatar’s Emir, which was “utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy”.

“His statement is proof that the Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war,” Kalin said.

“The Trump administration has … established that it intends to use trade, tariffs and sanctions to start a global trade war,” he said, pointing to similar disputes with Mexico, Canada, Europe and China.

“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.

Kalin said Turkey would work with the rest of the world against restrictive and punitive measures.

“The U.S. administration’s most recent policies are at odds with the fundamental principles and values of the NATO alliance,” he added. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun Writing by Daren Butler Editing by James Dalgleish)

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