ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday that a book by former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton had “misleading” and “manipulative presentations” of the conversations between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidency’s communications director, said on Twitter that Erdogan and Trump had made great efforts to mend ties between the two countries and that Trump “has done a lot more listening to a key NATO ally than some of the previous administrations.”
In his book, Bolton wrote that Erdogan gave Trump a memo saying Turkish state lender Halkbank (HALKB.IS), under investigation by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for violating Iranian sanctions, was innocent.
“Trump then told Erdogan he would take care of things, explaining that the Southern District prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people,” Bolton wrote.
Geoffrey Berman was forced to step down as U.S. Attorney for the district last weekend. The office has also been investigating Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani.
“Recent publication of a book authored by a high-level former U.S. official includes misleading, one-sided and manipulative presentations of our leader President Erdogan’s conversations with the US President Donald Trump,” Altun’s Twitter post said.
The Halkbank case has been one strain between Ankara and Washington, which in recent years have also been at odds for various reasons including policy differences in Syria and Turkey’s purchase of Russian missile defence systems.
Altun said Erdogan advocates for Turkey’s priorities at every opportunity “both publicly and privately”, including the Halkbank issue.
U.S. prosecutors accused Halkbank and its executives of using money servicers and front companies in Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates from 2012 to 2016 to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran. A status conference is scheduled in the case for June 30.
Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; editing by Grant McCool