Turkey-United States' Bilateral Ties: a Tale of Convergence and Divergence of Interests

  • Dr. Murad Ali Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Malakand, Chakdara, Pakistan
Keywords: Turkey, US, bilateral ties, aid, NATO, Cold War


The paper explores bilateral ties between Turkey and the United States (US) following the end of World War II to the recent era of Trump-Erdogan. Due to its immense geostrategic significance and a strong military, throughout the Cold War period and also in the post-Cold War era, Tukey has mostly remained a key US ally. The methodology adopted for this study is based on both qualitative data available in the form of policy documents and existing literature about the subject as well as utilizing quantitative data comprising US economic and military aid and arms' sales to Turkey obtained from databases of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) respectively. Like numerous developing countries in other parts of the world, Turkey also became one of the biggest recipients of US economic and military assistance and Washington also provided huge arms to Ankara during the Cold War years. The US has provided Turkey an aggregate of US$ 70 billion in civilian and military assistance and has delivered its arms worth US$ 34 billion. However, it has not been a smooth journey as their bilateral relationship experienced some upheavals not only during the Cold War period but ties have been strained by various thorny matters in recent years. These include Turkey's dispute with Greece on Cyprus, targeting Kurdish fighters in Syria, purchase of S-400 defense systems from Russia, and human rights violations at home. By examining these vital points of concern, the paper concludes that although both countries have historically maintained warm bilateral ties, several divergent issues have marred the relationship between the two countries in recent years.