Importance of Turkish and US Relations: Contributing for Joint Objectives of a Secure Middle East [open pdf - 477KB]
"For decades, Turkey has stood as the bastion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the alliance's south-eastern flank and guarded a long shared border with the former Soviet Union. Currently, Turkish support remains critical to US global and regional strategy in a confrontation with a near peer competitor, such as Russia or China. Today, Turkey is allowing US forces to operate from Turkish air bases, which have served as the crucial staging ground for the US-led strikes against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, but in 2003 it denied the US use of its territory to invade Iraq. As a Muslim-majority country that is transitioning from being a secular democratic state toward its Islamic roots, a member of NATO, and a long-standing US ally, Turkey is pivotal to the US strategy to shape the Middle Eastern security environment. Turkey could also be a key test for the role of Islam in current politics and its influence on external policy. Since the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, Turkey's Islamic parties were unable to win the broad appeal and were frequently alienated or intimidated by the secular government. However, the success of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in multiple elections since 2002 demonstrates the growing strength of Turkish President Erdogan's Islamist movement. Today Turkey faces numerous challenges within its region. The US and Turkey must build and retain a positive and productive relationship that spouses NATO membership to maintain stability for a key region."
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