Turkey - US Political Relations, 13.01.2016
The United States and Turkey have been close allies for more than half a century. For decades Turkey has stood as the bulwark of NATO on the southeastern flank of the Alliance and protected the Alliance’s long common border with the former Soviet Union. Turkey and the U.S. have also become important partners in facing 21st century challenges such as international terrorism, ethnic and religious extremism and fundamentalism, energy security and diversity, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and international organized crime including drug and human trafficking.
President Barack Obama made a historic visit to Turkey in April 2009 and reaffirmed the strategic relationship between the two countries, defining it as a “model partnership”. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also made historic visits to the United States in December 2009 and May 2013 as Turkey’s Prime Minister at the time.
Recently, the U.S. President visited Antalya in November 2015 and held a bilateral meeting with the Turkish President Erdogan. Turkey’s Grand National Assembly and the U.S. Congress also enjoy vibrant relations nurtured by high level visits every year and with mutual friendship groups consisting of large numbers of parliamentarians in both countries.
The partnership between Turkey and the United States is based on common values and interests. Turkey and the U.S. share common values of democracy, human rights, diversity, tolerance and the separation of religious and civic life. The two countries hold regular consultations at both political and technical level to harmonize their priorities and actions. For decades, intermittent differences of views and opinions have not affected the sound texture of the relationship, despite its multi-layered nature, consisting of many complex regions and issues.
The recent dramatic developments in the Middle East have once again highlighted the necessity of strong Turkey-U.S. cooperation, while demonstrating the importance of Turkey in its region as a source of inspiration with its vibrant democracy and functioning free market economy. Currently, Turkey plays a critical role in terms of containing the negative effects of the crisis in Syria and Iraq especially with regard to preventing the threats posed to the U.S. and the rest of the world community, such as DEASH/ISIL terrorism, radicalization, refugee problems and illicit trafficking of oil and weapons.
Turkey considers DEASH as a terrorist group and a national security threat. It has been listed by Turkey as a terrorist entity since October 2013. Turkey supports the Global Coalition to Counter DEASH which was formed by the U.S. in 2014 to counter this terrorist organization both in Iraq and in Syria. Since August 28, Turkish air forces have been carrying out operations against DEASH targets in Syria within the framework of the Coalition. Since then, DEASH is responsible for two horrible attacks, one in Ankara in October 10, 2015 and the other one in Istanbul on January 12 this year.
In recent years, Turkey and the U.S. maintained a trade volume around 20 billion U.S. dollars and efforts are underway to utilize the untapped potential of the economies of the two countries. In this regard, President Obama and the then Prime Minister Erdogan launched the Framework for Strategic Economic & Commercial Cooperation (FSECC) in 2009 as part of our bilateral commitment to strengthen the economic component of the bilateral relationship. Turkey is also becoming a reliable energy hub for the Western World in a highly volatile region and energy is another area that offers wide opportunities to both countries for cooperation.
Turkish Americans are an important part of the fabric of the United States, with their contributions to the arts, science, culture, academia, and business. Also, Turkey hosts every year thousands of American tourists, with this figure reaching to 790.469 in 2014.
The ongoing cooperation between Turkey and the United States helps foster global security and stability and they stand in solidarity with each other in the fight against numerous challenges facing the humanity today.
Updated, January 13th 2016