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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral Asia7 Ways to Develop Comprehensive Diplomatic Strategy with Turkey

7 Ways to Develop Comprehensive Diplomatic Strategy with Turkey

Authors: Russell A. Berman, Dania Koleilat Khatib 

Affiliation: Stanford University, Research Center for Cooperation and Peace Building (RCCP)

Organization/Publisher: The National Interest

Date/Place: June 7, 2021 /Washington, DC, USA

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 1263


Keywords: The United States, Turkey, Diplomacy, NATO, Partnership


Russell A. Berman and Dania Koleilat Khatib underline the significance of maintaining the bilateral relationship between the US and Turkey. The authors argue that repairing the US-Turkey relationship would require diplomacy, leadership and real steps from both Biden and Erdogan. They claim that there is an agreement on more than one area between Washington and Ankara including countering Russia in the Black Sea, Syria, and Libya. However, there are other points of conflict both domestically and regionally. The authors propose that Biden should introduce a “comprehensive diplomatic strategy” that rests on mutual interests and compromises to stabilize and repair the partnership between the US and Turkey. They suggest seven points to develop such comprehensive strategy. First, Biden should show a strong move on the foremost dispute between the US and Turkey, which is the conflict in northeast Syria and the American support of the YPG, an offshoot of the PKK which the US itself categorizes as a terrorist group. Second, the deadlock on the purchase of the S-400 missiles from Russia could be resolved by offering Turkey the ‘Patriot missiles’ as an alternative and return Turkey to the F-35 program which Turkey heavily financed. On the other hand, this should be met with Turkish commitment to not seek armament that the US claims would compromise NATO, although Greece possesses the same S-400 missile defense system. The US could support the Turkish arms production as inducement on this regard. Third, regarding Fethullah Gülen’s extradition, the authors recommend that Turkish citizens could initiate lawsuits in US courts about their grievances with the Gülenists. Fourth, on the regional level, the US should work as a mediator to facilitate the Turkish-Saudi rapprochement, reducing tensions between Turkey and Israel, and paving the way for a ‘UAE-Turkey non-interference agreement’.  Fifth, the US could encourage a collaborative technological rather than political resolution to the Eastern Mediterranean dispute by stressing on American engagement and mediation. Sixth, Washington should recall the historical partnership with Turkey and common interests in the Black Sea, Syria, Libya, and Somalia to benefit from the Turkish influence and reach in regions such as the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea region, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Europe. Seventh, with respect to Biden’s Armenia statement, he should clarify that the recognition of Armenian suffering was not offensiveness to the Turkish Republic. Moreover, the US should work on opening the borders between the two countries and pave the way for normalization. Finally, none of these issues is simple but requires compromise and goodwill. However, the US should originate a comprehensive reconciliation strategy with Turkey before any other explosion that could blowout the relationship between the US and Turkey especially in light of the increasing Russian threat and the stalemate in EU-Turkish relations. 


By: Yomna Süleyman, CIGA Research Assistant



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