Trump’s Turkey policy ‘motivated by personal or business relationship’ John Bolton ‘told private dinner’

By bne IntelliNews November 12, 2019

John Bolton, former national security advisor to Donald Trump, has suggested that the US president’s approach to policy on Turkey is motivated by personal or financial interests, NBC News reported on November 12.

Several people who were present at a Morgan Stanley global investment event private dinner in Miami were cited by the broadcaster as saying that Bolton told guests that in terms of foreign policy he was most frustrated with Trump over his handling of Turkey.

Noting the broad bipartisan support in Congress to sanction Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan—who is due in the White House for talks with Trump on November 13—purchased Russian S-400 missile defence systems, Bolton reportedly told his audience of Morgan Stanley’s largest hedge fund clients that Trump’s resistance to the move was unreasonable. He then, the sources said, said that he believed there was a personal or business relationship dictating Trump’s position on Turkey because none of his advisers were aligned with him on the issue.

The Trump Organization has a high-rise property in Istanbul. The president's daughter Ivanka Trump attended the opening with Erdogan in 2012. Though the building is simply under a leasing agreement for use of the Trump name, Trump himself said in a 2015 interview that the arrangement presented “a little conflict of interest” should he be elected.

During an October 6 phone call with Erdogan, Trump agreed that US troops in northeast Syria would not stand in the way of Turkish forces invading the region to attack America’s Kurdish allies in the area—allies who were instrumental in the destruction of the so-called Islamic State Caliphate in Syria and lost 11,000 fighters in achieving the objective. The presence of US forces had deterred Erdogan from invading Syria, which he had threatened to do for years, arguing that the Kurdish fighters were themselves a “terrorist” threat to Turkey. Trump’s decision was widely criticised even among the president’s Republican allies. It was seen by many as a gift to the Turkish leader.

Foreign-policy arch-hawk Bolton served as Trump’s national security advisor for 17 months until early September. Trump says he fired him. Bolton says he resigned.

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