The Middle East remains a major foreign policy challenge for the United States, despite attempts to pivot away from it. A cooperative and strong Turkey could be an important partner in helping rebuild the Middle East. Indeed, there is no other country in the region that the United States can turn to that could potentially play as constructive a role as Turkey might be able to. But for now the reality is different.
This is not the first time that Washington and Ankara have faced turbulence in their relationship, and the task force believes that, as they have in the past, these ties can be reforged. But we also believe accomplishing that now will require a different approach by Washington to the relationship with Turkey. American policymakers should recognize these differences and the challenges currently facing Turkey and their implications for greater U.S.-Turkish cooperation. Rather than eliding these concerns, U.S. policy should move away from rhetoric and toward a realistic assessment and dialogue about the state of the relationship with Turkey.