Turkey as a security partner

by F. STEPHEN LARRABEE
Prepared for the United States Air Force

Turkey has long been an important U.S. ally, but especially with the end of the Cold War, the relationship has been changing. Divergences between U.S. and Turkish interests have grown, in part because of Turkey’s relationships with its neighbors and the tension between its Western identity and its Middle Eastern orientation. Further, relations with the European Union have also deteriorated of late. As a result, Ankara has come to feel that it can no longer rely on its traditional allies, and Turkey is likely to be a more difficult and less predictable partner in the future. While Turkey will continue to want good ties to the United States, it is likely to be drawn more heavily into the Middle East by the Kurdish issue and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Consequently, the tension between Turkey’s Western identity and Middle Eastern orientation is likely to grow even more.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force under Contract FA7014-06-C-0001. Further information may be obtained from the Strategic Planning Division, Directorate of Plans, Hq USAF.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force under Contract FA7014-06-C-0001. Further information may be obtained from the Strategic Planning Division, Directorate of Plans, Hq USAF.

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