As the Turkish Republic approaches the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1923 by Mustapha Kemal (Ataturk), its importance for U.S. strategic interests increases almost as much as does the difficulty of maintaining positive relations with Turkey. Given its location at the intersection of southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia near northeastern Africa, and its natural resources and highly educated population of 85 million, Turkey could not be ignored even if it were not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Being a NATO Ally only intensifies awareness of the sometimes tense relations between Turkey and the U.S.

This class will examine how the U.S. and Turkey have managed an essential yet contentious relationship for both countries, that is, how they have maintained a mutually beneficial relationship even when their strategic interests did not align. The instructor will pay particular attention to the relationship between the two countries over the last twenty years as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has risen to and remained in power while interacting with a series of U.S. Presidents. Particular attention will be paid to Turkey’s engagement with Russia and the impact of that relationship on its dealing with NATO and the United States.

The format will be one of short presentation with opportunity for the audience/students to ask questions that reflect their particular interests regarding the subject matter.