Normal Allies Turkey, NATO, the United States, and the resiliency of the Atlantic Alliance

Mitch Armbruster

Turkey has undergone significant changes in recent years: economic growth, major political change, and a renewed diplomatic focus on the Middle East. At the same time, the end of the Cold War has left some observers wondering about the future of the alliance, specifically Turkey’s place in it. Will these changes lead to a fundamental reworking of Turkey’s place in NATO? It’s related partnership with the U.S.? Is Turkey destined to drift away from the Western European American members of the alliance?

I argue that this is not the case. Drawing on the theory of NATO’s endurance by Wallace Thies, I argue that Turkey’s position within NATO and its bilateral security relationship with the U.S. is much stronger than it appears, and will likely continue with minimal modifications. NATO has advantages that other alliances throughout history have lacked that allows it to overcome major disagreements within its ranks and continue to function.[1] Furthermore, while there are differences of opinion and disputes over policy between Turkey and other NATO states (most notably the U.S.), naysayers overlook the long history of Turkey in NATO. Disputes have been frequent, and often serious, but they have all been overcome. Finally, there are still important reasons for Turkey, the U.S., and the rest of NATO to continue to work together.

Though not a founding member of NATO, Turkey has been a member since 1952, making it one of the longest tenured members of the Atlantic Alliance. During that time the partnership between Turkey and the rest of NATO, the United States specifically, has undergone significant changes. Even before becoming a member state (indeed, before the founding of NATO), Turkey was integral to Western European and U.S. security interests. Throughout the Cold War Turkey, NATO, and the United States were able to overcome significant differences and disagreements. Though the allies may disagree on specific policies and challenges, the perceived threat of Soviet communism tended to predominate, focusing the alliance on overcoming momentary disagreements.

However, with the end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of the USSR, questions arose as to whether or not the alliance would continue. Questions as to Turkey’s place in the alliance were particularly acute, given that many policy makers in the United States felt that Turkey was not a “natural” member of the alliance.[2] Strains on the alliance through the 1990s and into the 2000s led several observers to declare various moments a “crisis.”

In recent years, additional differences between Turkey and other NATO members (especially the U.S.) have further led many in Western Europe and the United States to believe that Turkey and the rest of NATO were destined to drift further and further apart. To a large degree, the future of Turkey’s role and place in NATO depend on Turkish goals – what does Turkey want out of the alliance? How does Turkey intend to use its status as a member of NATO advance its regional goals, especially when many observers believe that Turkey has adopted a more assertive role in the Middle East?

The worries that NATO and Turkey are destined to drift inexorably apart are misplaced. While it is understandable that contemporary observers see the disagreements between more Western, European members of NATO (and the U.S.) and Turkey as being too difficult to overcome, the history of Turkey in NATO, and of NATO in general, shows that these disagreements are a natural part of the Atlantic Alliance. Indeed, the disagreements and bickering that we are witnessing today between Turkey, other NATO members, and the United States are a normal part of the alliance. Turkey, the United States, and NATO member states have been bargaining, disagreeing, and fighting since the founding of the alliance.

Even if, as many observers believe, Turkey has begun to assert itself more as a “Middle Eastern” power, NATO membership will retain its pride of place in Turkish foreign policy. While the issues change and new disagreements arise, NATO will remain important to Turkey, and Turkey to NATO. Furthermore, the bilateral partnership between the United States and Turkey will likewise continue to be an important element of Turkish foreign policy. Much like the problems that have led observers to question Turkey’s role in NATO, issues dividing the United States and Turkey seem to grow by the day. However, as real as these problems and conflicts are, the Turkish – American bilateral partnership, much like the Atlantic Alliance that it is subsumed in, will likely endure. Both institutions have faced seemingly intractable problems before and overcome them.


Turkey, NATO, and Cold War European Security

The security relationship between Turkey and what would become NATO goes back to before the founding of the alliance. In years following World War II, the United Kingdom proved unable to maintain the historic security ties to Turkey and Greece that it had previously honored. British retrenchment could hardly have come at a worse time for Greece, which was attempting to suppress a Soviet backed communist insurgency. Faced with the possibility of further Soviet expansion in Easter Europe, and the danger of “loosing” Greece and Turkey, the United States began a program of assisting allied nations facing communist threats by providing economic assistance to states struggling to rebuild their economies in the difficult post-war Europe.[3] This plan, which would become known as the Truman Doctrine, would lead to the Marshall Plan for general economic assistance to Western Europe.

Not only was economic aid to Turkey a success politically, it would prove to be the first step in bringing Turkey into the evolving western security architecture. Though economic assistance was the method, the objective of U.S. aid to Europe was political and security. By providing the means for economic recovery, the United States sought to diminish the appeal of communism. The United States was not the only country that sought to benefit from this arrangement: the British had hoped to entice the U.S. to not only temporarily assume some of the security guarantees that they had provided in the Eastern Mediterranean, but to bring the Americans more permanently into general European security. The U.S., in turn, wanted mechanisms to ensure that the European democratic world would share in the costs of defending Western Europe from Soviet threats.[4] These mutually reinforcing interests would eventually lead to the creation of NATO in 1949.

Though not one of the 12 founding member states of NATO, Turkey joined the alliance during its first ever enlargement in 1952. Turkey was somewhat of an obvious choice for membership. The continuing threat of Soviet subversion and Soviet claims on Turkish territory, along with the desire of Turkish elites to integrate their country into western institutions, led to Turkish ascension.[5] The existing member states of NATO were able to add a strong and strategically important member to their roster. In addition to the obvious benefits of bringing Turkey fully into the western security architecture and denying it to the Soviet Union, the United States and United Kingdom hoped that Turkey would be one of the founding members of an alliance system in the Middle East that would prevent Soviet advances there. This alliance, the Baghdad Pact, was ably dismembered by Nasser before it was even signed.[6]

Conflict in the Alliance Conflict between member states of NATO is a common feature of the alliance: members bicker and fight over everything from burden sharing to threat perception.[7] Turkey is no exception – disputes and disagreements between Turkey and NATO, often between Turkey and the United States, have flared up regularly. Often, commentators and politicians suggest that the crisis du juor threatens the very fabric of the alliance. However, these views are mistaken: these crisis are in fact evidence of the enduring strength of Turkey’s position in NATO, not weakness. This section will briefly explore some of the more significant disagreements between Turkey and the rest of NATO over the years, with a focus on how even though significant conflict and tension, the institution of NATO, and the fundamental confluence of interests that underpin it, help members overcome temporary setbacks.

One of the first major conflicts within the alliance was the Kennedy Administration’s decision to withdraw Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey as part of an agreement to end the Cuban Missile Crisis. Turkey had negotiated the deployment of missiles around Izmir, with the first ones arriving in 1961. However, soon after the Soviet Union began moving medium range ballistic missiles into Cuba, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis. The crisis was resolved, with the U.S.S.R. agreeing to remove its equipment from Cuba, in exchange for the United States agreeing to remove the newly installed Jupiter missiles from Turkey.[8]

The removal of Jupiter missiles from Turkey was not in itself a major change in the balance of power between NATO and the Soviet Union. One reason why the Kennedy Administration was willing to remove them at all was that although they were new to Turkey, the Jupiter missile was already outdated. Sitting above ground out in the open, it was painfully vulnerable to Soviet first strikes. It was not the removal of the missiles that angered Turkey so much as it was the way in which the removal was negotiated and implemented. With the agreement to remove missiles from Turkey being decided by the United States and furthermore being kept secret, Turkey felt that they were completely removed from the process. The United States had not consulted Turkey on an issue of obvious security importance, making a unilateral decision with clear implications for Turkish security, while at the same time seeming to undervalue Turkey’s role as an ally.[9]

The Johnson administration would bring further tension between the United States and Turkey. In 1964, the rising threat of a serious conflict over Cyprus threatened to end in an armed confrontation involving Turkey. In response to violence on the island, the Turkish military mobilized to intervene on behalf of ethnic Turks. The United States, along with other NATO governments, was concerned that any conflict involving Cyprus could end up pulling the Soviet Union into direct confrontation with a NATO member state. Not wanting the United States to be put in the position of having to defend a NATO ally over something that it considered incidental to its interests, the Johnson Administration informed Turkey that should they find themselves in a conflict over Cyprus that involved the U.S.S.R., the United States would withhold support from Turkey.[10]

While the “Johnson letter” may have restrained Turkey from intervening in Cyprus, it also led to the biggest schism between Turkey and the rest of NATO, the United States in particular, up to that point in the history of the alliance. A declassified CIA memo stated that, “Reactions to the letter… varied from shock and disbelief that such a letter could have been sent by the president of the United States to that of complete disappointment in the United States.” The memo goes on to say that due to the United States’ preemptive refusal to support Turkey, and the way in which this incident was handled, that it would be, “almost mandatory for Turkey to become more independent of the United States in the field of international relations.[11]

Indeed, the Johnson letter contributed to a developing reputation the United States was gaining in Turkish policy making circles as being unreliable. This reputation would be reinforced throughout the years by every delay, obfuscation, and broken promise that Turkish foreign policy elites believed the United States was engaging in. During the 1990-91 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War Turkey became upset over promised NATO air defenses. Turkish foreign policy makers felt that unnecessary delays in obtaining the promised defenses provided just another example of the fickleness of their NATO allies, particularly the United States.[12]

In a little over a decade, the dispute over Cyprus would strain allied relations once again. Perhaps the lowest point in relations between Turkey, NATO, and the United States took place in 1974, when Turkey intervened in Cyprus to counter what they contended was a violation of Cyprus’ internal politics by Greece. Turkey landed forces on the north side of the island and drove inland, securing the northern section of the island, leading to a division that persists to this day. Not only had Turkey and another NATO member, Greece, engaged in a contest over a theoretically sovereign nation, but in addition the alliance proved unable to stop it.[13]

In response, the United States enacted an arms embargo that would last four years. Furthermore, the Cyprus conflict would lead to continued congressional criticism of Turkey and pressure on various American administrations to enact further sanctions.[14] Turkey responded by closing American access to all but one military installation until the embargo was finally lifted in 1978.[15] The embargo, while not significantly altering the flow of arms into Turkey, was used by congress as a way of expressing disapproval of Turkish policies and Turkey more generally for many years after the immediate crisis was over.[16]

Though the Turkish intervention in Cyprus and the resulting arms embargo may have been the low water mark in Turkish relations with both NATO and the United States in particular, several other issues in the 1990s and 2000s would strain relations. In the late 1990s, deteriorating relations with Syria almost led to war. Turkey felt NATO did not provide sufficient support on an issue of critical importance. Similarly, Turkey was upset with the U.S. over the results of Operation Provide Comfort, which Turkish foreign policy makers felt provided cover for armed Kurdish groups supporting the PKK. After the Cold War, Turkish military policy recognized the PKK as the number one threat to national security. Throughout the 1990s, Turkish security policy put the threat from the PKK at the center of its approach to regional security, emphasizing how neighboring states policies toward the Kurds affected Turkish security.[17] This emphasis on the Kurds and the PKK continues to cause strain on Turkey’s relationship with NATO and the United States, especially after the disintegration of Syria and the rise of “ISIS” left the U.S. and its European allies with few options besides the Kurdish Peshmerga as allies in Northern Iraq.

Finally, while the disagreements and disputes between the United States and its western European NATO allies France and Germany received significant public attention in the U.S., the disagreements between the U.S. and Turkey were as significant. The Turkish parliament (narrowly) declined to allow U.S. troops to transit through Turkish territory into Iraq. The Turkish public was overwhelmingly opposed to the war, and the AKP government was facing its first real foreign policy test.[18]


Current Security Issues and Changing Turkish Foreign Policy

The traditional Turkish policy orientation towards the Middle East seems to be shifting significantly. After World War Two, Turkey’s engagement with the region was halting at best. In the wake of the failure of the Baghdad Pack, Turkey avoided involvement in the complicated and turbulent security politics of the Middle East, preferring a western orientation and a policy of “neutralism” towards conflict in the region.[19]

However, a confluence of factors would begin to draw Turkey more and more into the post-Cold War Middle East. Regional instability threatened to draw Turkey into conflicts, such as with Syria in 1998. The constant issue of Kurdish political ambition also drew Turkey towards a policy more focused on the Middle East then during previous decades.

However, the Turkish “turn east” did not really begin in earnest until 2008, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) survived a vote accusing them of “anti-secularism.” Though stripped of official funding, the court fell one vote short of disbanding the party.[20] This minor setback turned out to be a longer term victory for the AKP, as safe from further judicial sanctions it found itself free to pursue the more Middle Eastern foreign policy that it had always envisioned.

AKP foreign policy preferences differ significantly from the more European political actors that preceded them. Based largely on the thinking of current Prime Minster Ahmet Davutoğlu, the AKP embraced a more active set of policies in the Middle East, driven to a large degree by the belief in two factors. First, the belief that Islam provides significant strength as a source of legitimate political authority, not just in Turkey but in the region as well. Second, and related, Davutoğlu and the AKP adopted a version of the “Heartland” theory, which sees significant opportunity for Turkish regional expansion.[21]

The AKP turned theory into practice by pursuing closer ties to Syria, Iraq, and most worryingly for the rest of NATO, Hamas. This turn coincided with a deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel. Traditionally, Turkey and Israel had warm if not friendly relations.[22] Both were democratic non-Arab states allied with the western, democratic, capitalist world. During the Cold War and after Israel looked to Turkey as a possible regional ally.[23]

In recent years, Turkish foreign policy has continued to worry observers from NATO allies. While the Arab Spring and the chaos that followed eventually threatened to draw Turkey into the conflict, Turkey initially appeared to be a significant beneficiary of the upheavals that challenged established political order in the Arab Middle East. Across the region, the possibility of repressive, secular Arab regimes collapse opened the door for new governments more aligned to the AKP’s democratic Islamist ideals. The most prominent example of this was the fall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood as a political force.

Believing, accurately as it would turn out, that the fall of the Mubarak regime and the installation of democracy in Egypt would lead to electoral victory by the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey was supportive of not only the protests that swept across Egypt, but the military coup that would remove Mubarak. Then President Gul was the first foreign head of state to visit Egypt after the fall of Mubarak in March 2011, followed a few months later by then Prime Minster Erdogan.[24]

However, Turkish influence in Egypt would prove to be short lived. The Muslim Brotherhood was removed from office by a military coup in 2013 and outlawed. Turkish leaders reacted sharply to the removal of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from office. As angry as they were about the coup itself, Turkish foreign policy leaders, specifically in the AKP, were also upset with what they saw as the failure of their allies to stand up for Egyptian democracy. Erdogan called western leaders hypocrites, stating that, “democracy does not accept double standards.[25]

While the commitment of Turkish political leaders in 2013 to Egyptian democracy is debatable, what is certain is that the military coup of 2013 precipitated a rapid and steep decline in Turkish – Egyptian relations. In response to Turkey’s anger over the coup, the new Egyptian government expelled the Turkish ambassador.[26] Turkey saw its regional status continue to fall in the aftermath of Morsi’s removal; several wealthy Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, provided significant support to Sisi and the new military regime. Fearful of revolutionary unrest in their own countries, they sought to support the restoration of autocracy where they could.[27] As a result of Turkey’s Egypt policy, along with the general perception in the region that the AKP government is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey has increasingly been identified as part of a “pro-Brotherhood bloc” in the Middle East.[28] To this day, support for the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically the ousted Egyptian government of Mohamed Morsi, can be seen in even in liberal Turkish cities such as Istanbul.[29]

While the perceived support for the Muslim Brotherhood against traditional western allied Arab states has concerned Turkey’s fellow NATO member states, the disagreement over what to do in response to the Syrian Civil War and the collapse of the Assad regime has also strained the alliance. Turkey has insisted that the Assad regime must be replaced, and has pushed the United States in particular to take a harder line against the Syrian government.[30] Current Prime Minister Davutoğlu has publicly criticized the “international community” (and implicitly criticized Turkish allies, especially the United States), saying that ISIS would not exist if action had been taken much earlier against the Assad regime.[31]

At the same time, the nature of the response to the current chaos in the region has divided Turkey from its NATO allies. While the United States and several other NATO members have pushed for more action against ISIS, Turkey has resisted. Turkish unease with fighting ISIS came from the understanding that almost any military campaign against ISIS would bring the Kurdish groups in Northern Iraq and Syria currently fighting ISIS into closer cooperation with Turkey’s NATO allies. Concerns over the possibility of an independent, empowered Kurdish political entity, even more so that is currently in Northern Iraq caused Turkey to resist calls for military action against ISIS. [32]

Turkey did eventually agree to join the anti-ISIS coalition. However, the focus of Turkey’s military campaign has not been ISIS, but Kurds. The first targets the Turkish military struck after agreeing to join the fight against ISIS were PKK mountain camps, an odd choice if the goal of the campaign is to defeat ISIS.[33] Turkey was able to garner assurances from the United States that armed Kurdish groups who had been fighting ISIS would not be permitted to move into zones in northern Syria after they were cleared.[34]

Many observers have been taken aback by the way Turkey has not only pursued a renewed war with the Kurds instead of ISIS, but the ability of Turkey to persuade its’ allies in NATO and the U.S. to work with it.[35] In essence, Turkey and NATO (again, specifically the United States) are aiming at different goals while saying that they are pursuing the same outcome. Others have been upset that the U.S. and NATO partners have seemingly downplayed the contributions of the Kurds fighting ISIS, while promoting and supporting Turkey, who has spent the vast majority of their energy and resources battling the Kurds. Terms like “betrayal” have been used to describe the U.S. treatment of the YPG,[36] along with “hoodwinked” to describe the U.S. and NATOs interactions with Turkey.[37] Many have accused the Turkish AKP government of drumming up a new Kurdish threat simply to diminish the support of the HDP, the Kurdish-aligned political party which did so well in recent elections.[38]


New Problems, Old Concerns

Much like the challenges that have come before, many observers question the future of Turkey’s role in NATO, and the future of the security relationship between Turkey and the United States. Similar to the Turkish view that the United States has been an unreliable ally, some U.S. observers have begun to see Turkey as “unreliable.” At least one American observer has called for Turkey to be “kicked out” of NATO.[39] Though no reliable data is available on U.S. and other NATO members’ views of Turkey, it appears that NATO and U.S. disenchantment with Turkey’s current security policies in the Middle East are not limited to a few writers and thinkers. Concern over Turkey’s push for a more independent regional security policy has upset NATO observers, who fear Turkish commitment to alliance goals.[40] Furthermore, Turkey has taken some concrete steps to move their defense industry away from its traditional U.S. and European suppliers, worrying NATO officials.[41]

Nor are concerns about Turkey’s role in NATO, and Turkey’s relationship with the United States, confined to Western Europe and the U.S. Several voices within Turkey have begun to question the value that being a member of the Atlantic Alliance confers on Turkey. Tamer Korkmaz of Yeni Safak (regarded as being pro-AKP government) asked “what has NATO given Turkey since 1952? His answers are discouraging: military coups, economic crisis, blood, tears, and memorandums.[42] Citing sources within the government, journalist Metin Gurcan writes that Turkish officials believe that NATO has abandoned Turkey in the current crisis with Syria and ISIS. Furthermore, Turkish officials feel that NATO membership has compelled Turkey to adopt policies that it would not have otherwise, and that are presumably not in its interest.[43] Others point to the uncertain status of Turkey’s aspirations for E.U. membership as causing Turkish leaders to rethink their commitment to European institutions, NATO among them.[44]

Some of the concern is understandable: besides changes to Turkish military procurement policy, the last decade has seen some real change in Turkish foreign policy. And there are real differences of interest and opinion between Turkey and other NATO members, the United States being most prominent among them. However, fears about Turkey’s role in the Atlantic Alliance are overstated: the alliance has endured disagreements, hostility, and internal strife before, and it has emerged strong.


The Resiliency of the NATO, U.S., and Turkish Partnership

As Thies observes, the democracies that form NATO have strong incentives to work together and overcome problems. Furthermore, NATO members will go so far as to alter their own policies to accommodate allies, out of a concern for the wellbeing of the alliance. The understanding that the Atlantic Alliance, by far the most successful international security institution in history, is more important than any one passing squabble or concern gives policy makers a reason to look past immediate disagreements. Furthermore, the democratic nature of NATO member states, Turkey included, means that elected leaders see the alliance as legitimate and long term, transcending any immediate threats. Finally, the institutionalized and bureaucratized nature of NATO means that the alliance exhibits strong “self-healing” tendencies, allowing policy makers to find ways to get past disagreements.[45]

Consider the historical examples cited earlier: Turkey, the U.S., and NATO disagreed on numerous occasions, sometimes on fundamental issues. The removal of Jupiter missiles after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the “Johnson Letter,” the 1974 conflict over Cyprus – all of these were major events that could have torn apart allies with weaker ties. NATO, and Turkey’s role in NATO, survived and thrived. While the disagreements that dominate the headlines today may seem like the worst crisis ever recorded between Turkey, the U.S., and NATO, the truth is that the alliance has been here before, and has endured.

Furthermore, even though the Cold War may be over and the threat that brought Turkey, the U.S., and NATO together in the first place may be a memory, new issues and concerns hold the alliance together. Turkey’s recent economic development strengthens its position within NATO, and makes Turkey a more valuable ally. While Turkish foreign policy has shifted towards the Middle East since the end of the Cold War, other member states of NATO have significant interests in the region as well. Vigorous Turkish diplomacy in the region could end up strengthening its position in the alliance by allowing Turkey to serve as a bridge or conduit between the Middle East and European NATO. Finally, though the government has emphasized policies in the Middle East recently, the significant and growing business community in Turkey still favors institutional ties to Europe. The desire to further integrate into the European economy, with the goal of eventual European Union membership, is a powerful incentive to remain engaged with European security.[46]

The concerns over Turkey’s future in NATO, and worries about strained ties with the United States, are understandable but largely misplaced. Allies fight, bicker, and disagree, sometimes quite seriously. The existence of serious issues within an alliance is normal and natural – the key is how NATO members continue to move past these disputes. The democratic values and institutional framework that has made NATO so successful even in the post-Cold War world will likely continue to support the partnership between Turkey, the U.S., and NATO. While temporary disputes are bound to arise, the alliance has weathered worse in the past. Turkey’s position within the Atlantic Alliance and its security partnership with the U.S. are secure.

[1] Wallace Thies, Friendly Rivals: Bargaining and Burden Shifting in NATO, (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2003)

[2] Ian Lesser, Beyond Suspicion: Rethinking U.S. – Turkish Relations, (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Southeast Europe Project, 2007), 11.

[3] Denise Bostdorff, Proclaiming the Truman Doctrine: The Cold War Call to Arms, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008)

[4] Wallace Thies, Friendly Rivals, 22-25

[5] This is a vastly simplified account of the Turkish ascension to NATO membership. For a much more comprehensive telling, see: Jamil Hasanli, Stalin and the Turkish Crisis of the Cold War, 1945–1953, (Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2011), 339-370

[6] Michael Barnett, “Identity and Alliances in the Middle East,” in The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, ed. Peter Katzenstein, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 400-450

[7] Wallace Thies, Why NATO Endures, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

[8] U.S. State Department, Office of the Historian, “The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962,”

[9] Ian Lesser, Beyond Suspicion, 20

[10] Lyndon Johnson and Ismet Inonu, “President Johnson and Prime Minister Inonu: Correspondence between President Johnson and Prime Minister Inonu, June 1964, as Released by the White House, January 15, 1966,”

[11] United States Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Information Cable, “Turkish Reaction to President Johnson’s Letter to Prime Minister Inonu,” June 6, 1964, Middle East Journal, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Summer, 1966), 386-393

[12] Ian Lesser, Beyond Suspicion, 20-21

[13] The complicated legal status of Cyprus was spelled out in the “Treaty of Guarantee,” which was supposed to guarantee Cypriot independence. The Treaty, which was invoked by Turkey and featured a half-hearted attempt at mediation by the United Kingdom, is far, far too complex and disputed to delve into here.

[14] Ian Lesser, Beyond Suspicion, 20

[15] Murat Karagöz, “US Arms Embargo against Turkey – after 30 Years An Institutional Approach towards US Policy Making,” Perspectives, (Winter 2004-2005), 107

[16] Ismet Imset, “Turkey Warns U.S. congressional critics,” United Press International, May 12, 1983

[17] Özlem Tür, “Turkey’s Changing Relations with the Middle East: New Challenges and Opportunities in the 2000s,” in Debating Security in Turkey: Challenges and Changes in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Ebru Canan-Sokullu, (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2013), 124

[18] The Effects of the Iraq War on the U.S. – Turkish Relationship, The Council on Foreign Relations, May 6, 2003,

[19] Philip Robins, “The Foreign Policy of Turkey,” in The Foreign Policies of Middle East States, eds. Raymond Hinnebusch and Anoushiravan Ehteshami, (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002), 316

[20] Selcuk Gokoluk, and Ibon Villelabeitia, “Turkish court says PM involved in anti-secularism,” Reuters, October 24, 2008,

[21] Aaron Stein, Turkey’s Foreign Policy: Davutoğlu, the AKP, and the Pursuit of Regional Order, (Milton Park: RUSI Whitehall Paper, 2014), 5-7

[22] Aaron Stein, Turkey’s Foreign Policy, 16-22

[23] For more on Israel’s regional alliance strategy, see: Yossi Alpher, Periphery: Israel’s Search for Middle East Allies, (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015)

[24] Aaron Stein, Turkey’s Foreign Policy, 39-40

[25] Aaron Stein, Turkey’s Foreign Policy, 45-46

[26] KAREEM FAHIM and SEBNEM ARSU Kareem Fahim, and Sebnem Arsu, “Egypt Expels Turkey’s Ambassador, Further Fraying Diplomatic Ties,” New York Times, November 23, 2013,

[27] Nicolas Parasie, and Jay Solomon, “Gulf States Pledge Aid to Egypt, U.S. Balks,” Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2015, According to the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have contributed $20 billion to Egypt since 2013, a significant sum of money, especially considering when the United States has committed less than $2 billion.

[28] Aaron Stein, Turkey’s Foreign Policy, 48. Also see, Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Modern King in the Arab Spring,” The Atlantic, March 2013,

[29] Author’s personal experience, May 2015.

[30] Mahir Zeynalov, “For Turkey, Assad is the Mother of All Evils,” Al-Arabia, January 22, 2015,

[31] Mick Krever, “ISIS exists because world ignored al-Assad in Syria, Turkish leader says,” CNN: Amanpur, July 27, 2015,

[32] Sarah Almukhtar, and Tim Wallace, “Why Turkey is Fighting the Kurds Who are Fighting ISIS,” New York Times, August 12, 2015,

[33] Rukmini Callimachi, “Inside Syria: Kurds Roll Back ISIS, but Alliances are Strained,” New York Times, August 10, 2015,

[34] Dion Nissenbaum, “U.S., Turkey Agree to Keep Syrian Kurds Out of Proposed Border Zone,” Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2015,

[35] For a examples of this, see: Anne Barnard, “Turkey’s Focus on Crushing Kurdish Separatists Complicates the Fight Against ISIS,” New York Times, July 28, 2015,, Anne Barnard and Michael Gordon, “Goals Diverge and Perils Remain as U.S. and Turkey Take on ISIS,” July 27, 2015,, and Julian Barnes, “Turkey to Consult With NATO on ISIS, PKK Strikes,” Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2015,

[36] Patrick Cockburn, “Obama’s deal with Turkey is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis,” The Independent, August 1, 2015,

[37] Frida Ghitis, “Did the U.S. betray the Kurds in fight against ISIS?,” CNN, August 17, 2015,

[38] LAUREN BOHN Lauren Bohn, “All Our Young People Have Gone to the Mountains: Inside Turkey’s revived war against the Kurds,” The Atlantic, August 18, 2015,

[39] Jonathan Schanzer, “Time to Kick Turkey Out of NATO? Politico, October 9, 2014,

[40] Jeremy Bender, “Turkey is ‘making NATO very uncomfortable,’” Business Insider, April 21, 2015,

[41] Emre Peker, “Turkey Breaks From West on Defense,” Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2015,

[42] Tamer Korkmaz, “Perception Shelling,” Yeni Safak, September 17, 2014,

[43] Metin Gurcan, “Is NATO Membership Shackling Turkey?” Al-Monitor, October 29, 2014,

[44] Sergul Tasdemir, “Rethinking Turkey in NATO,” Europeum: Institute for European Policy,

[45] Wallace Thies, Why NATO Endures, 294

[46] Author’s May 2015 conversations with Turkish business leaders in Ankara.