The U.S.-Turkey economic relationship has been strong since its inception in 1831, with an even more remarkable economic and societal development in the early 2000’s. Trade between the two countries increased from $10.8 billion to $20.7 billion from 2009 to 2019 respectively, making Turkey the 28th largest goods exporter and 33rd largest importer for U.S. goods. This bilateral trade, however, is nowhere near the agreed $100 billion annually pledged by both countries in 2019. Top categories for United States exports to Turkey include mineral fuels, aircrafts, iron, and steel. Top imports to Turkey include vehicles, textiles, and machinery. This bilateral trade relationship makes Turkey a paramount NATO Ally. The United States, along with other NATO Members, show dedication to improving upon the economic relationship between Turkey and the Euro-Atlantic community.



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. The NATO security alliance is meant to build trust amongst its members, as well as to enhance defense readiness as a collective. Collective defense of Article 5, states that an attack against one ally is an attack against all allies; this is at the very heart of the NATO alliance.

Humanitarian Aid

Turkey and the United States are international leaders in humanitarian assistance. In 2019, Turkey and the US were the top two leading humanitarian donor nations internationally. Turkey alone accounted for 26% of the world’s humanitarian aid as Turkey spent $7.6 billion (TL 52 billion) to help humanitarian efforts with the US close behind at $7 billion. According to the UNHCR, Turkey still hosts the largest population of refugees internationally, with 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees and 320,000 refugees of other nationalities. The US and Turkish governments have and continue to work together to ensure that aid is delivered to these Syrian refugee populations. Humanitarian aid has become a significant opportunity for the US and Turkey to collaborate in order to promote international cooperation for humanitarian assistance and overall strengthen the bilateral relationship.


Turkey’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a critical actor in the regional and global energy industry. Especially as Russia pushes for greater influence in its region, European nations are looking to diversify their oil and gas transit routes and limit the vulnerability of their energy supply. To this end, Turkish pipeline projects such as TANAP, TurkStream and BlueStream could help reduce European reliance on Russian infrastructure. Additionally, Europe is moving towards renewable energy sources in order to decarbonize and stop climate change. The US is also working with Europe on energy issues, including as a source of renewable and clean energy and through NATO working on energy security issues. 


The exponential growth and development of technology has led organizations and countries alike to fundamentally alter their approach to geo-political issues and international threats. The expansion of 5G capabilities, blockchain, artificial intelligence, military technology, and day-to-day technology is met with changing policies. Developing and understanding the place of new technologies allows for bilateral and multilateral relations to be equally evolving in changing environments which also includes technological entities creating the advancements. Continuing discussions on the evolving technologies and their implication on geo-politics provides discord for future endeavors and the place of technology in them.


Since 2000, more than 10,000 Turkish students have studied in the U.S. each year. There is a strong relationship between the U.S. and Turkey as it pertains to higher education sectors, allowing this sector of the bilateral relationship to offer language skills and economic advancements. As of the 2016-17 academic year, 10,586 students from Turkey studied in the United States, and 705 U.S. students studied abroad in Turkey for academic credit. This exchange fosters an environment that allows a mutual exchange of ideas, and each party benefits on an individual level. The U.S. National Security Education Program (NSEP) encourages students to study in Turkey, officially naming Turkish “a critical language.” These interactions create a better understanding of the other country, and in turn, implement a stronger partnership.