Troubled Partnership

Troubled Partnership: U.S.-Turkish Relations in an Era of Global Geopolitical Change

F. Stephen Larrabee
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 162
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  • Book Info
    Troubled Partnership
    Book Description:

    U.S.-Turkish relations, long a vital element of U.S. policy, have seriously deteriorated in recent years. However, the arrival of a new U.S. administration offers an opportunity to repair recent fissures. Priority should be given to harmonizing policy toward Iraq and the Middle East as well as Central Asia and the Caucasus.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5026-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xi-xx)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Since joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952, Turkey has been an important U.S. strategic ally. During the Cold War, Turkey served as a critical bulwark against the expansion of Soviet military power into the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Ankara tied down 24 Soviet divisions that otherwise could have been deployed against NATO on the Central Front in Europe. It also supplied important facilities for monitoring and verifying U.S. arms-control agreements with the Soviet Union.

    With the end of the Cold War, many Turks feared that Turkey would lose its strategic significance in American eyes. These fears,...

  9. CHAPTER TWO The U.S.-Turkish Security Partnership in Transition
    (pp. 3-10)

    Turkey and the United States have been close security partners for more than half a century. Their partnership was forged in the early days of the Cold War and shaped by the Soviet threat. Stalin’s territorial demands after World War II—including demands for a base on the Straits and border adjustments at Turkey’s expense—were the driving force behind the establishment of a U.S. security partnership with Turkey.

    The enunciation of the Truman Doctrine on March 12, 1947, led to the expansion of U.S. defense ties to Turkey and laid the groundwork for Turkey’s eventual incorporation into NATO in...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Iraq and the Kurdish Challenge
    (pp. 11-32)

    Many of the current problems in U.S.-Turkish relations are a direct out-growth of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. The invasion exacerbated many of the latent strains and tensions that had been bubbling beneath the surface since the end of the Cold War and gave them new impetus. At the same time, it brought the differing regional security perceptions and interests of both sides into sharper conflict. The U.S. action strongly conflicted with the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP’s) efforts to reduce tensions with Turkey’s immediate neighbors.

    Turkish leaders had strong reservations about the U.S. invasion from the outset. They...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR The Broader Middle East
    (pp. 33-46)

    The last ten years have witnessed a remarkable burst of Turkish activism in the Middle East. After decades of passivity and neglect, Ankara is emerging as an important diplomatic actor in the region. This new activism in the Middle East represents an important departure from 20th-century Turkish foreign policy. Except for a brief period in the 1950s, Turkish foreign policy was characterized by caution and detachment from deep involvement in Middle East affairs. For most of the postwar period, the Middle East was largely off-limits for Turkish foreign policy.

    However, Ankara’s new activism in the Middle East does not mean...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Russia and Eurasia
    (pp. 47-62)

    Since the end of the Cold War, Central Asia has emerged as an important focal point of Turkish foreign policy. This concern with Central Asia represents a significant shift in Turkey’s foreign policy. Under President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey consciously eschewed efforts to cultivate contacts with the Turkic and Muslim populations beyond its borders. The closed nature of the Soviet system and Russian sensitivities about maintaining control over non-Russian nationalities also made communication and contact with the peoples of Central Asia difficult. As a result, this area was largely off-limits to Turkish diplomacy for much of the 20th century.


  13. CHAPTER SIX The European Dimension
    (pp. 63-76)

    The recent strains in U.S.-Turkish relations have been compounded by growing problems in Turkey’s relations with Europe, particularly the EU. For Turkey, EU membership has always been about more than economics: It represents a historical and “civilizational” choice—the culmination, in Turkish eyes, of the process of Westernization that began in the late 19th century under the Ottomans and was given irreversible impetus with the founding of the Turkish Republic by Atatürk in 1923. Hence, Turkey rejects the privileged-partnership idea advocated by some EU members, such as France, because that alternative implies less-than-full acceptance of Turkey’s Western identity.

    However, Turkish...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN U.S.-Turkish Defense Cooperation
    (pp. 77-88)

    The general downturn in U.S.-Turkish relations has been reflected in defense and defense-industrial cooperation. In recent years, U.S. defense cooperation with Turkey has been marred by significant difficulties. Congress has held up a number of major weapon sales to Turkey due to Turkey’s human rights policy and its policy toward Cyprus. These delays have had a damaging impact on U.S.-Turkish defense cooperation. As a result, Turkey has begun to expand its defense relationships with other nations that have fewer procurement restrictions, particularly Israel and Russia.

    The U.S.-Turkish defense-industry relationship has two aspects: government-to-government purchases based on foreign-military sales and commercial...

  15. CHAPTER EIGHT The Domestic Context
    (pp. 89-110)

    The strains in Turkey’s relations with the West are all the more worrisome because they come at a time of growing internal stress and political polarization in Turkey. The country is going through a period of disruptive internal change that is testing many of the basic tenets of the Kemalist revolution on which the Turkish Republic was founded, particularly secularism. Kemalism still remains an important social and political force in Turkey. However, the democratization of Turkish political life in the last several decades has led to the emergence of new political and social elites that have increasingly begun to challenge...

  16. CHAPTER NINE Alternative Turkish Futures
    (pp. 111-118)

    The future of the U.S.-Turkish partnership will depend heavily on Turkey’s evolution in the coming decade. Depending on internal and external developments, Turkey could evolve in several different directions. This chapter examines several possible alternative futures and their implications for U.S. policy.

    In this scenario, Turkey would become a member of the EU or be well on its way to achieving membership within the coming decade. Although Turkey’s economic level would remain below that of many EU members, the economic gap, spurred by continued high growth rates, would be narrowed. Turkey’s human rights record would significantly improve, and civilian control...

  17. CHAPTER TEN Conclusion: Revitalizing the U.S.-Turkish Relationship
    (pp. 119-126)

    A strong security partnership with Turkey has been an important element of U.S. policy in the Mediterranean and the Middle East for the last five decades. It is even more important today. Turkey plays a critical role in four areas of increasing strategic importance to the United States: the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and Europe. Thus, revitalizing the security partnership with Turkey and giving it new impetus should be a top U.S. policy priority.

    Obama’s trip to Turkey in April 2009 was an important first step in this process. During his visit, Obama succeeded...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 127-138)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 139-139)