Turkey “crucial to U.S. success in the Middle East” - private intelligence group

Turkey’s stability is essential to the United States’s success in its endeavours in the Middle East, U.S.-based private intelligence group Stratfor has said in a recent assessment.

“Among the United States' allies in the Middle East, few are as important – or as fickle – as Turkey,” the group said.

“Not only is Turkey an economic and diplomatic powerhouse in the region, but it also brings considerable military might to bear against the Islamic State.”

It also noted that Turkey is a NATO member, a key source of imports for the European Union, and the host country for millions of Syrian refugees.

The United States and Turkey have conflicts of interests that may be irreconcilable in the short term, the report said. It pointed to disagreements over the role of the Kurdish militia in Syria, the return of Fethullah Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based cleric accused of masterminding last year’s failed coup, and the prosecution of U.S. consular employees in Turkey, and Turkish businessmen in New York.

There may be progress on the mutual visa restrictions imposed in early October, however, and the United States still values its fraught ties to Turkey, the report said, not least because it does not want the country of 80 million falling under the influence of Russia.