Turkish lira weakens after Bolton comments on US pastor

Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Ankara made a ‘big mistake’

John Bolton, national security advisor (centre), attends a trophy award presentation for the US Military Academy football team. Photograph: Andrew Harrer / BLOOMBERG

John Bolton, national security advisor (centre), attends a trophy award presentation for the US Military Academy football team. Photograph: Andrew Harrer / BLOOMBERG

 

The Turkish lira eased against the dollar in holiday trade on Wednesday after US president Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Turkey made a “big mistake” in not freeing an American pastor.

The lira traded at 6.0900 at 6.35am GMT, weakening from a close of 6.0600 on Tuesday, and has lost 37 per cent of its value this year in a currency crisis triggered by concern over president Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over monetary policy and exacerbated by the dispute with Washington.

Trade was thinner than usual and probably mainly offshore after Turkish markets closed at midday on Monday for a holiday to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival which continues for the rest of this week.

US national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters during a visit to Israel “the Turkish government made a big mistake in not releasing Pastor (Andrew) Brunson.”

“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,” he said.

Brunson, who is originally from North Carolina and has lived in Turkey for two decades, has been detained for 21 months on terrorism charges, which he denies, and is currently under house arrest.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, US president Donald Trump said he would give Turkey no concessions in return for the release of Brunson. Turkish government officials have not responded to Trump’s comments. – Reuters