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The Shattering Alliance: Turkish-American Relations and the Syrian Debacle

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

Middle Eastern Studies Program


The Shattering Alliance: Turkish-American Relations and the Syrian Debacle

Turkey has been a member of the Western camp and a loyal ally of the United States since 1946. But this strategic partnership is now on the verge of total collapse due to the two countries’ diverging policy interests and preferences in Syria. Due to the ongoing partisan crises and ideological polarization on the domestic front, and the lack of historical and political knowledge of the region, the public debate on recent developments in northern Syria has been insufficient.

In this respect, a panel of experts, under Prof. Yüksel Sezgin’s moderation, will discuss:

How have Turkish-American relations evolved in the context of civil war in Syria?

What have been the changing policy preferences of Turkish and American administrations from Obama to Trump?

Who are the YPG fighters? What do they want?

What will happen to ISIS? 

Is it still possible to salvage Turkish-American relations, and find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria?

The panel will include Dr. Soner Cagaptay and Dr. Aaron Stein.

Dr. Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. He has written extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics, and Turkish nationalism, publishing in scholarly journals and major international print media, including the Wall Street JournalWashington PostNew York TimesForeign Affairs, and The Atlantic. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, NPR, BBC, and CNN-Turk. His latest book, Erdogan's Empire: Turkey and the Politics of the Middle East, was published in September 2019 by I.B. Tauris. 

Dr. Aaron Stein is the Director of the Middle East Program and a 2019 Templeton Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Previously, Dr. Stein was a resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council, where he managed their Turkey-related research program, oversaw work on nonproliferation in the Middle East with a focus on Iran, and researched non-state actors in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq. He is the author of Turkey's New Foreign Policy: Davutoglu, the AKP, and the Pursuit of Regional OrderWhitehall Papers, 2015).

Sponsored by Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, and Middle Eastern Studies Program

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