September 26, 2016
The Sept. 22 World article “Turkey and the West feel their way in a tense partnership” captured what is at stake: The West’s response to the recent coup attempt in Turkey threatens to complicate how the United States and its NATO allies work with a country on the front lines of the global fight against the Islamic State.
The United States and Turkey need each other for a host of reasons. Turkey lies at the crossroads of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East — affecting trade flows, energy supplies, refugee movements and political stability in all directions. It is also home to NATO’s second-largest army and has been critical in the fight against the Islamic State. Access to the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey has put U.S. forces mere hours from the fight, allowing them to target terrorist networks that were previously out of our reach.
Fortunately, both sides appear to be lowering the temperature and “the worst tensions seemed to have eased,” as the article said. U.S. policymakers must recommit to the bilateral relationship and demonstrate political support for a NATO ally that has withstood a violent assault on its legitimacy.
Halil I. Danismaz, Washington
The writer is president of the
Turkish Heritage Organization.