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US must reassess Turkey policy, analyst says

TAGS: Diplomacy, Security

The US should reassess its Turkey policy as the two NATO allies no longer share common interests and values, according to a report published by the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank.

“While Turkey remains formally a NATO ally, it is not a partner of the United States,” Steven A. Cook, an Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at CFR, writes for the Council Special Report.

“Unlike in previous eras, Washington and Ankara no longer share overarching threats or interests that bind them together,” Cook says in the report which is titled “Neither Friend nor Foe: The Future of US-Turkey Relations.”

“[Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s consolidation of power and corresponding suppression of journalists, academics, civil society organizations, and minorities” go against the fundamental principles of American society and the values stemming from Turkey’s own membership of the transatlantic alliance, he says. 

Instead of investing effort into rebuilding trust and strategic ties with Turkey, Cook says, US officials should rather work to manage the change in bilateral relations.

The report proposes, among other measures, that Washington must recognize that the US and Turkey have gone from ambivalent allies to antagonists; develop alternatives to the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey; turn down Ankara’s demands that the US end its military ties with Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters; and, finally, end cooperation with Turkey on the F-35 fighter jet program.

“Washington can work with Ankara where it remains possible, work around the Turks where it is necessary, and work against them where it has to,” Cook says.

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