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Policy Analysis

Policy Notes 12

From Crisis to Cooperation: Turkey's Relations with Washington and NATO

Rich Outzen

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June 2012

As recently as 2011, most discussions of the U.S-Turkey relationship necessarily focused on discord, disappointment, and growing concern. With memories of the Gaza flotilla incident and Turkish dissent on Iran sanctions still fresh, the horizon was clouded and turbulent. The intervening months have brought a dramatic turnaround, however. In this Policy Note, U.S. military intelligence expert Richard Outzen discusses how several factors -- including clashes between Iranian and Turkish regional interests, Ankara's disillusionment with the Syrian regime, and the NATO campaign in Libya -- have created a more promising landscape for Turkey's return to a strategic posture generally aligned with the West. In a relationship marked over the past decade by crisis management more than opportunity, the United States now has important policy openings with Turkey.


Richard Outzen, a foreign area officer in the U.S. Army, has served in a variety of command, staff, and liaison positions, including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Turkey, and Germany. His research focuses on Middle East and Central Asian strategic affairs, language and culture, and civil-military relations.