Turkey's International Affairs: Shaping the U.S.-Turkey Strategic Partnership
KeywordsGovernment and Political Science
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AbstractTurkey remains at a key geostrategic crossroads for U.S. security interests in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Yet, there is a perceived divergence of strategic interests between the United States and Turkey which was exacerbated by domestic political quarreling between the Islamist-led government of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and the Turkish General Staff. The June change in government, which saw the resignation of Erbakan, is unlikely to resolve these differences. Membership in the European Union (EU) and the Western European Union (WEU) are key foreign policy goals for Turkey's secularist Eurocentric generals. Although the prospects for admission are slim for now, Turkish military and civilian officials place a high priority on trade and investment opportunities to be gained from EU membership. The Turkish government had backed away from efforts to link support for NATO enlargement to Turkish acceptance as a full member in the EU. Nonetheless, Turkey is not enthusiastic about NATO enlargement and may push for a substantial pause after the first round or make another effort at linkage.