The Future of US-Turkey Defense Relationship
July 16, 2020
The US-Turkey defense relationship has become more complicated in recent years and has served as a source of tension at times. The two NATO allies have long-standing security ties and an overall robust defense partnership, as they make up some of the most capable forces within the alliance. In recent years, Turkey has ramped up its defense capabilities against regional threats and proceeded to acquire missile defense systems from Russia, after failed talks with the US and the EU on procurement of such systems, resulting in frictions within NATO. The US Congress has sought to impose sanctions and remove Turkey’s participation from the F-35 project as a punishment for the procurement of S-400 systems and Turkey’s military operations in northern Syria. The Trump administration sought a middle ground, as Turkey indicated its openness to purchase Patriot systems from the US. Turkey’s nationally produced weapons systems have already demonstrated their effectiveness in the region and the country seeks to cooperate with the US based on common interest. Given this set of dynamics at play, what does the future of US-Turkey defense relations look like? Can the two allies overcome the current difficulties and deepen their security alliance? How can they cooperate better on common defense?
To explore these questions, The SETA Foundation at Washington DC is pleased to host a high-level discussion on US-Turkey defense partnership.
Kadir Ustun, Executive Director, The SETA Foundation at Washington DC
İsmail Demir, President of the Defense Industries of Turkey
Admiral James Stavridis, Operating Executive at The Carlyle Group
Kilic B. Kanat, Research Director, The SETA Foundation at Washington DC
İsmail Demir is President at Defense Industries of Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.
Admiral James Stavridis is an Operating Executive focused on advising Carlyle’s executive team and investment professionals on geopolitical and national security issues. Previously, Admiral Stavridis served as the 12th Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. A retired four-star officer in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander with responsibility for Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, Syria, counter piracy and cyber security. He also served as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, with responsibility for all military operations in Latin America from 2006 to 2009. Admiral Stavridis holds more than 50 medals, including 28 from foreign nations. Earlier in his military career he commanded the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet, winning the Battenberg Cup, as well as a squadron of destroyers and a carrier strike group all in combat. In 2016, he was vetted for Vice President by Hillary Clinton and subsequently invited to Trump Tower to discuss a cabinet position in the Trump Administration. Admiral Stavridis earned his PhD in international relations and his MA in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and he is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Admiral Stavridis is Chair of the Board of Counselors at McLarty Associates, a monthly columnist for TIME Magazine and Chief International Security Analyst for NBC News. He is the author of nine books, including “Sailing True North” in 2019.
Kilic Bugra Kanat is the Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington DC. He is also Assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Erie. Dr. Kanat received his PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in International Affairs from Marquette University. Dr. Kanat’s writings have appeared in Foreign Policy, Insight Turkey, The Diplomat, Middle East Policy, Arab Studies Quarterly, Mediterranean Quarterly, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, and Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. He is a columnist at Daily Sabah. He is the author of A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama’s Syria Policy.
Kadir Ustun is the Executive Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington, D.C. Previously, Dr. Ustun was the Research Director at SETA DC and Assistant Editor of Insight Turkey. Dr. Ustun holds a PhD in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University and a Master’s degree in History from Bilkent University. He has contributed to various SETA reports and his writings have appeared in various publications such as Insight Turkey, Al Jazeera English, Hurriyet Daily News, Daily Sabah, Mediterranean Quarterly, and Cairo Review of Global Affairs among others. He is also co-editor of edited volumes History, Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey, Change and Adaptation in Turkish Foreign Policy, and Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives