The failed coup attempt in Turkey, a long-time NATO ally, shocked many observers of Turkish politics. While the motives and identities of the coup plotters remain unclear, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is already cracking down on a broad swath of Turkish institutions. In light of these domestic convulsions, will Turkey be a reliable ally against the Islamic State and remain committed to its pact with Europe to stem the flow of Syrian migrants? How should the United States “square the circle” of an increasingly undemocratic Islamist regime running a NATO country? Negotiating this challenge is doubly important in a region full of grave threats to U.S. national security, from international terrorism to anti-American regional powers such as Iran.
In the aftermath of the coup, commentators have predicted further erosion of the capabilities and professionalism of an already battered Turkish military. And yet Turkey remains crucial to achieving American foreign policy objectives—especially in light of the rise of Iran and Russia’s reentry into the region. What are U.S. options for strengthening the U.S.-Turkey relationship, long a linchpin of the regional order?
On July 27, Hudson Institute hosted a discussion with Senior Fellows Craig Kennedy, Eric Brown, and Hillel Fradkin. Hudson Fellow Peter Rough moderated the conversation.