THO Panel on the Future of U.S. Turkey Relations in the Trump Administration11 Sep 18
On September 6, 2018, Turkish Heritage Organization (THO) hosted a panel “The Future of the U.S.- Turkey Relationship in the Trump Administration” in hopes of analyzing the relations between both countries.
THO Executive Director Elvir Klempic opened the event by briefly explaining THO’s goals in regards to U.S.- Turkey relations, stating that, “THO aims to provide a balanced, solution oriented space for dialogue in the U.S.-Turkey relations”.
This was followed by the moderator Mark Meirowitz who introduced the panel and begun the discussion by providing a background to current U.S.- Turkey relations. Meirowitz continuted by asking the panel, “How did we get to this point after President Obama proclaimed a “model partnership” between Turkey and the U.S.?” He continued to mention the bumps and disagreements that both countries had in the past but yet were resolved.
Commenting on the introduction and Meirowitz’s question, Molly Montgomery stated, “I don’t believe there is anyone in the foreign policy world who currently likes where relations are between the U.S. and Turkey.” She continues by explaining how there is no easy solution for this situation as there are different disruptions coming from all sides. Montgomery continues to raise the understanding of different strategies needed to find a common ground between Turkey and the U.S. in the midst of all the rising issues. Sharing the Turkish perspective, Akif Kirecci informs the audience of current issues such as the rise of dollar which seems to be the main problem, as well as noting, “There is a negative feeling among the public in their view of the U.S. because of the economic sanctions.” Kirecci reminds the panelists and audience that Turkey has been one of the “most reliable partners in NATO” however, he mentioned it seems as if America doesn’t appreciate the “role of Turkey”.
Continuing the discussion, Meirowitz asked the panelist to go in depth commenting the understanding or lack of understanding between Turkey and the U.S. Joel Rubin explained the various historic points where Turkey and U.S. have seen eye to eye, but also mentioning, ”We live in the present and future, whatever comes from this, we can’t rewind back. I don’t believe people want to write off the relationship, there is a despair as far as how to write this relationship.”
In the concluding comments of the panel, the moderator asked the panelists to give their thoughts on how to keep the relationship between Turkey and the U.S. stable? Molly Montgomery starts off by explaining importance of understanding the issue but knowing that negotiations can be difficult to agree on “when things asked for are not possible.” Joel Rubin and Akif Kirecci mentioned the idea of lobbying on the Capitol Hill and the significance of it but also the issues that come along with it. Rubin makes it clear that without understanding the U.S. political system “Turks will always be asking why are we not understood by Washington.” Both speakers mentioned how the Turkish government and U.S. Congress work in different ways but in order to find a balance both nations must understand one another.