Strategic relationship between Turkey and U.S is over - analyst

The transformations in global, U.S., and Turkish politics over the last 30 years require a reevaluation of the U.S.-Turkey relationship, where the two sides no longer share interests or values, wrote Steven A.Cook in a report he penned for the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank.

The United States, since the 1950s, has recognized Turkey as a critical ally, Cook wrote who is Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at CFR, noting however the Cold War partnership between the NATO allies can no longer shape U.S. policy discussions about Turkey as the world has changed considerably since the Cold War ended.

Issues such as Turkey’s detention American pastor Andrew Brunson, the U.S. block on F-35 sales to Turkey, or Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems have heightened tensions between Washington and Ankara to unprecedented levels over the past year.

‘’Although some present and former U.S. policymakers continue to make the case that Turkey is a strategic partner and an anchor for stability, the evidence for these declarations is thin,’’ Cook wrote, warning that analysts and officials looking for a new and positive framework for the two countries are unlikely to find one.

Highlighting that the strategic relationship between the NATO allies is over, Cook stressed that ‘’Policymakers should regard Turkey as neither a friend of the United States nor as an enemy.’’

Cook has four recommendations for the U.S. policy makers going forward with regards to relations with the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Firstly, he reminds that the U.S. and Turkey are now antagonists and no longer ambivalent allies. Secondly, Cook says the U.S. should develop alternatives to Incirlik Air Base from Turkey to other places in the region. Thirdly, the U.S. should continue its military ties with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) despite Ankara's demands. And finally, U.S. officials should take a stronger public stand on Turkish policies that undermine U.S. policy.