US-Turkey Relations on the Brink?
On August 30th, the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C. hosted an event, “U.S.-Turkey relations on the Brink?” The panelists discussed the worsening bilateral relations between the two countries, reflecting on the decisions that have led to the present conditions and suggesting measures to rebuild the relationship. The panelists included Luke Coffey, Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Center; Jennifer Miel, Senior Director for Turkey & Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Kilic Bugra Kanat, Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C. Kadir Ustun, Executive Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington D.C., moderated the event.
Luke Coffey spoke to the harrowing relations, contending that the U.S. has been in tough situations in the past with allies. He argued that the number one issue between the two countries is the lack of confidence and trust between the leaders and governments. He mentioned that the relationship is still moving forward at an institutional level, collaborating on military efforts and in Syria. He opined that both sides need to be more considerate of the concerns of one another and find small areas from which to rebuild the relationship.
Jennifer Miel reflected on the economic and trade portion of the relationship. She strongly discouraged mixing trade and economic relations with political issues, which is happening now between the two countries. Between tariffs, boycotts, and sanctions, Miel argued that these measures further hurt relations and the economies, potentially resulting in longer lasting effects. Furthermore, she contended that the U.S. and Turkey should use trade and economic relations to help stabilize and improve relations.
Kilic Bugra Kanat finished the panel by discussing decisions the U.S. makes and how closely they are watched by other countries. He argued that while Turkey is watching U.S. decisions closely, the two countries should sit down and re-establish strategic cooperation. He added that the countries should look to institutions that are already cooperating between the two countries as successful operations to mimic. Additionally, Kanat noted that the expectation of relations is so low that the threshold for rebuilding relations is low. This will make it easier for the countries to begin rebuilding their relationship.