The Evolution of U.S. Turkish Relations in a Transatlantic Context

  • April 01, 2008
  • Dr Frances G Burwell
  • Dr Frances G Burwell

The relationship between Turkey and the United States is complicated because of differing core purposes and somewhat differing memberships, i.e., NATO and the European Union. Current Turkey-U.S. diplomatic and military relations are strained, but both countries recognize how vital it is to address issues of mutual importance. In mid-2007 the Atlantic Council, Strategic Studies Institute, and German Marshall Fund of the United States jointly organized a conference to discuss the current state of U.S.-Turkish-EU ties and to consider how those relations might be repaired and enhanced. This conference report provides an overview of the enduring issues that must be addressed if Turkey-U.S. relations are to move beyond current roadblocks and begin to realize their full potential. Since this conference took place, the political environment in Turkey has changed, and several of the issues, such as the use of Iraq as a staging area by Kurdish insurgents, have continued to evolve. Such dynamics reveal the importance of the ideas surfaced in each of the conference presentations and the need to continue addressing the issues identified.