Turkey and the U.S. have a longstanding and growing economic partnership. More than 1,200 American companies operate in Turkey, and bilateral trade has grown from $6.8 billion in 2000 to $17.4 billion in 2015 after a high of $19.1 billion in 2014. However, there remains potential for greater levels of trade between both countries. U.S.-Turkey economic relations are guided by the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC) established in 2010. In addition, the High-Level Committee (HLC) established in 2013 acts as a forum for deepening U.S.-Turkey trade relations.


The U.S. and Turkey enjoy a strong legacy of bilateral and NATO defense cooperation dating back to the Cold War. Turkey is a strategic U.S. ally in a region at the forefront of many of today’s security challenges. Turkey is a member of the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition, which is able to conduct security and anti-terror operations in multiple countries using Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base in Adana. The U.S. has provided air support and special operations advisors to Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria. Turkey is also the third largest importer of U.S. arms and received 6.6% of U.S. arms exports between 2011 and 2015.

Humanitarian Aid

Turkey is one of the top humanitarian aid donor countries; in 2015, it spent the second-largest amount of any country – $3.2 billion – on humanitarian assistance. As host to 3.1 million refugees, including 2.7 million Syrians, Turkey has the largest refugee population in the world. It has invested more than $12.5 billion over the course of five years to aid the Syrian refugee community, the most of any country. As a leading humanitarian actor, Turkey is pushing for greater global cooperation to address the refugee crisis, and in that vein, Turkey hosted the first UN-led World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.


Turkey’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a critical actor in the regional and global energy industry. Pipeline projects like TANAP, Turkish Stream, and a potential project with Israel highlight Turkey’s role in the transport of natural gas from sources in Asia to markets in Europe. In 2016, Turkey imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. for the first time, opening a new chapter in U.S.-Turkey energy relations. Additionally, Turkey aims to increase the share of renewable sources in its energy consumption to 30% by 2023, an ambitious goal that could provide opportunity for greater U.S. investment in Turkey.


Turkey’s young population and growing economy have made it a prime location for technological innovation and development. The compound annual growth rate of Turkey’s information and communication technologies (ICT) sector is expected to be 7.4% for the 2012-2017 period, which is higher than the global average. Leading companies like Google and Microsoft have invested in Turkey’s potential for innovation, and Turkey is currently improving its environment for science, technology, and innovation (STI) through its National Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy (UBTYS).


Since 2000, more than 10,000 Turkish students have studied in the U.S. each year, with a peak of 12,397 Turkish students during the 2009/10 academic year. Turkey consistently ranks in the top 15 countries of origin for international students in the U.S. In 2015/16, 10,691 Turkish students studied in the U.S., making Turkey the second-highest sender of international students among European countries and the 13th-highest sender globally. Additionally, the number of U.S. students studying in Turkey increased from 99 in 1999/2000 to 1,889 in 2014/15. In the 2013/14 academic year, a high of 2,163 American students studied in Turkey.