Today John Bolton, the former National Security Advisor for US President Donald Trump, released his book ‘The Room Where It Happened’.
In it he makes many shocking revelations when recounting behind the scene workings of diplomacy in the Trump administration.
Perhaps one of the biggest revelations in the book is the close relationship between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – so close in fact, that in his publication, Bolton describes it as a “bromance.”
Halkbank, a state-owned bank in Turkey that has been under investigation by US prosecutors since 2018 as it allegedly transferred $20 billion worth of Iranian oil revenue to Iran, was instructed by Trump to be cleared of charges that it breached US sanctions against the Islamic Republic, according to Bolton.
Bolton wrote: “Trump then told Erdogan he would take care of things, explaining that the [New York] southern district prosecutors were not his people but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people.”
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate’s finance committee, said that Bolton’s allegations provided “damning evidence” that “Donald Trump attempted to interfere in a criminal investigation into the largest sanctions violations scheme in US history as a favour” to Erdogan.
Wyden said “I have been investigating potential political interference by Donald Trump as it relates to Turkey and sanctions enforcement, and this damning evidence corroborates what my investigation has uncovered to date. If John Bolton has an interest in serving his country as opposed to selling books, he will respond promptly to my forthcoming request for more information about Donald Trump’s relationship with Turkey.”
In explaining Trump’s promise to cover up Halkbank breaking sanctions against Iran, Bolton said in his book that “it was as though Trump was trying to show he had as much aribitrary authority as Erdogan, who had said twenty years earlier as mayor of Istanbul, ‘Democracy is like a street. You ride it to the stop you want, and then you get off.'”
“Trump rolled on, claiming he didn’t want anything bad to happen to Erdogan or Turkey, and that he would work very hard on the issue,” Bolton claimed, adding that “nothing good was going to come of this renewed bromance with yet another authoritarian foreign leader.”
Bolton also quotes Trump as saying that “Erdogan doesn’t care about ISIS,” in which the former National Security Advisor concurred, saying that it “was true.”
The book also claims that General Joseph Francis Dunford Jr, who served as the 19th Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 2015 until September 2019, thought that “Turkish military commanders were a lot less interested in going into Syria than Erdogan and were looking for reason they could use to avoid conducting military operations south of their border.”