Council on Foreign Relations Press
Council Special Report No. 15
The emerging schism between the West and the Islamic world makes America’s relationship with Turkey—a Western-oriented, democratizing Muslim country—more important than ever.
Unfortunately, despite the long history of close collaboration, U.S.-Turkish relations have deteriorated markedly over the last three years. The U.S. invasion of Iraq—and the potential consequences for Turkey with its large Kurdish population—is the primary issue that divides Washington and Ankara, but there are also differences regarding Cyprus, Syria, Iran, Israel, and Hamas, as well as a rising tide of anti-Americanism in Turkey. To repair this important alliance relationship, Washington should establish a regular trilateral dialogue involving the United States, Turkey, and Iraqi Kurds; play a leading role in seeking a settlement to the long-standing dispute over Cyprus; be more active in supporting Ankara’s bid for EU membership; and work to create a U.S.-Turkey Cooperation Commission that would meet on a biannual basis to provide a structured forum for government agencies, NGOs, and private sector leaders from both countries to discuss matters of mutual concern.
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Steven A. Cook is the Douglas Dillon fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to joining the Council, Dr. Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has published widely in leading foreign policy journals, newspapers, and opinion magazines. He is also a frequent commentator in the local, national, and international press. Dr. Cook holds a BA in international studies from Vassar College, an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and both an MA and a PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Ruling, but Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming).
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall is adjunct senior fellow for alliance relations at the Council on Foreign Relations, a senior research scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University , and a senior adviser to the Preventive Defense Project. She is also a 2004 Carnegie scholar. Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as a deputy assistant secretary of defense from 1994–96. Prior to government service, she was associate director of Harvard’s Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project. Dr. Sherwood-Randall has also served as chief foreign affairs and defense policy adviser to Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and has been a guest scholar in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. She received her BA from Harvard University and her doctorate in international relations from Oxford University , where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She is the author of a number of publications, including Allies in Crisis: Meeting Global Challenges to Western Security (Yale University Press, 1990).
Letters to the Editor in Response to Generating Momentum for a New Era in U.S.-Turkey Relations