Academic journal article Military Review

The Future of Turkish-Western Relations: Toward a Strategic Plan

Academic journal article Military Review

The Future of Turkish-Western Relations: Toward a Strategic Plan

Article excerpt

THE FUTURE OF TURKISH-- WESTERN RELATIONS: Toward a Strategic Plan, Zalmay Khalilzad, Ian O. Lesser, and F. Stephen Larrabee, eds., RAND. Santa Monica. CA 2000.$20.00.

A real estate professional would easily define Turkey's importance in the geopolitical world in terms of its strategic "location, location, location" at the epicenter of the world's great conflicts. Yet, in typical no-- nonsense RAND style, the report's authors, respected Middle Eastern experts, address the fundamental domestic and regional issues confronting Turkey as it plots its strategic course in the new world order. Zalmay Khalilzad and the other authors believe Turkey is best served by a strengthened participation in a U.S.-Turkish-European triangle.

Historically, Turkey's strategic relevance was a function of its ability to seal the Soviet southern flank. Today, post-Cold War Turkey is at the center of a number of issues on all of its borders: Russia's tacit support of Kurdish separatists coupled with its own sympathy for Chechen rebels; new economic opportunities in the Caspian Basin; a schizophrenic relationship with the Arab world over Iraq; its desire to remain engaged in the Balkans; and an ambivalent European posture toward greater European Union integration. The study proposes several regionspecific strategies for Turkey but suggests that Turkey would be best served if it adopted a multidimensional approach that did not overemphasize any particular region.

Examining U. …

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