Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Turkey is at the forefront of many of today’s greatest security challenges. Turkey, NATO’s second-largest military, has a strong legacy as a geostrategic partner to the West. From the Arab Spring to the Syrian civil war to ISIS, Turkey and its U.S. and European allies are aligned in their goals for stability and democracy in the region.

Turkey and the U.S. have long contributed to international security, especially that of the Middle East. From operations in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, to the global fight against terrorism and non-state actors today, Turkey working along side the U.S. has been a key aspect of the NATO security policy.

Today, and because of its proximity to ISIS-controlled territory, Turkey faces complex national security risks which is why it so heavily relies on collective defense promised by NATO. Turkey and the U.S. have partnered in the anti-ISIS coalition which has launched its own military strikes against ISIS targets. Turkey also invoked Article 4 of the NATO charter, convening all member countries for high-level meetings to discuss the security situation in the region, risks to NATO forces, and potential solutions. 

Turkey and U.S. security cooperation has been vital in their shared efforts against the terror group, allowing the U.S. to use Incirlik air base to launch combat fighters and drones to bomb key ISIS positions and to seek to protect the millions of refugees who have sought safety in Turkey due to the fighting in Syria. Incirlik air base, located near the Turkey-Syria border, provides a more efficient and effective hub for U.S. operations against ISIS. Another initiative is the partnership between Turkey, the U.S. and other regional partners to provide Syrian rebels with training and equipment to fight against ISIS and the brutal Assad regime.

Turkey is a bridge between East and West which poses unique challenges for border security, and has opened up the country to some criticism. Turkey’s border with Syria alone spans nearly 560 miles, making it difficult to stem the flow of foreign fighters attempting to join ISIS which poses a threat to NATO forces in the region. In response to these border security threats, the United States and Turkey created a “safe zone” inside Syria to ensure border integrity and shield even more refugees. It is essential for Turkey, the United States, and other NATO allies to share resources for security and to prevent extremists from crossing into Syria  and Europe.

The legacy of the U.S.-Turkey relations dates back to the Truman Doctrine in 1947 and still remains strong today. The United States, Turkey and NATO continue to work together to ensure a promotion of democracy, security and peace in the region. The NATO security alliance is meant to build trust amongst its members, as well as to enhance defense readiness as a collective. The multilateral affairs continue beyond the region to create a prosperous and safe world.