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Turkey accuses US of waging an ‘economic war’ amid pastor row

Turkey is accusing Washington of waging “economic war” and failing to respect its legal system over the fate of an evangelical Christian pastor whose 21-month-long detention on terrorism charges has roiled relations between the NATO allies.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman on Wednesday said comments by US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser prove that the US is targeting Turkey’s economy and not reflecting the fundamental principles and values of the NATO alliance.

“His statement is proof that the Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war,” Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a written statement to Reuters responding to comments by Trump adviser John Bolton.

“The Trump administration has … established that it intends to use trade, tariffs and sanctions to start a global trade war,” Kalin 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.

Bolton told Reuters during a visit to Israel he was sceptical about the pledge of $US15 billion of investment support for Turkey by Qatar’s emir, which was “utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy.”

The lira held steady against the US dollar on Wednesday after Bolton’s comments, including his observation that Turkey had made a “big mistake” in not freeing US pastor Andrew Brunson.

However, the lira has lost 37 per cent of its value this year amid concerns over Erdogan’s influence on monetary policy and exacerbated by the dispute with Washington.

Courtesy: SBS News