Determinants of Turkish-American Relations and Prospects for the Future


Insight Turkey Volume 19 No. 1, 2017

Turkey’s relations with the U.S. have occupied a special significance in its foreign policy agenda since the end of the Second World War. This priority stems from three essential roots: the comprehensive security and military relationship developed since the Truman  Doctrine (1947), the intensive economic and financial relationship that emerged as a result of the Marshall Plan (1948), and the joint strategic initiatives, which emerged after the Cold War in the vast Eurasian region.

Throughout the 1990s, Turkish and American statesmen have characterized bilateral relations as strategic alliance or strategic partnership. Having been critically damaged during the Iraqi War of 2003, the strategic dimension of the relationship was restructured by a series of trust building measures during George W. Bush’s second term. However, the AK Party government’s efforts to rehabilitate the relations with a new common strategic vision did not yield the expected positive results. Barack Hussein Obama developed another term and called the for a model partnership in 2009. This new approach was welcomed in Ankara and then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan supported developing a relationship built on a new understanding – a perception of mutual benefits and common interest. Nevertheless this win-win concept only effectively worked for two years until the Arab Spring erupted. After Obama’s two terms of presidency, the current situation of Turkish-American relations can more readily be described as well apart from a strategic or model partnership.

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