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Turkey could end its lira-battering crisis with the United States "instantly" by freeing a detained American pastor, said John Bolton, President Donald Trump's national security advisor, adding that a Qatari cash infusion would not help Ankara's economy.
The Turkish currency has been in freefall since Washington ordered tariffs in retaliation for the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson on charges of complicity in a failed 2016 coup.
Brunson denies wrongdoing, and Ankara has in the past suggested his fate could be linked to that of a U.S.-based Turkish cleric whom President Tayyip Erdogan accuses of orchestrating the attempted putsch.
"Look, the Turkish government made a big mistake in not releasing Pastor Brunson," Bolton told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Israel.
"Every day that goes by that mistake continues, this crisis could be over instantly if they did the right thing as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, part of the West, and release pastor Brunson without condition. "
Asked if the United States questioned Turkey's membership in NATO given the stand-off, Bolton said: "That's not an issue at the moment. We're focused on Pastor Brunson and the other Americans that the Turkish government's holding illegitimately and we expect that to get resolved."
"Well, I think what they pledged is utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey's economy. It's certainly not helpful but we'll actually see what develops from their pledge," he said.