9 Unforgettable Steps in the History of The US and Turkey Relationships

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Today, here in this post, we are going to try revealing the US-Turkey Relationships’ timeline. The relationship between the two countries and the two nations has had tremendous importance. But on the other hand, this partnership, of course, contains some problematic conflicts.

The relations of Turkey and the US has almost a 100-year-of-history.
The relations of Turkey and the US has almost a 100-year-of-history.

In the historical timeline, the US has become to be Turkey’s prior alliance in the both political, strategic and economic term. And it especially began after the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. This long path which includes political, economic, cultural and social matters went through high tensions throughout almost 100 years of history. But one way or another, it succeeded to reach today.

So, let’s take a close look at some main cornerstones.

9- The First Visit of American Ambassador Joseph C. Grew to the Young Turkish Republic

The founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the first Turkey ambassador of the USA, Joseph C. Crew.
The founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the first Turkey ambassador of the USA, Joseph C. Crew.

Right after the foundation of the young Republic of Turkey, the first visit from the ambassador of Turkey of the US was held. The main purpose of this formal visit was to understand Turkey’s leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. One hand, the time was the end of World War I and the US came out from the war with more power. On the other hand, the Republic of Turkey was quite young and Mustafa Kemal was trying to lead his country to the Western World with social and intellectual revolutions. So, both countries needed an alliance and this meeting was the first moment of two countries for collaboration over the future years.

8- The Death of the First Turkish Ambassador in the US Münir Ertegün

Münir Ertegün was the first Turkish ambassador in the US.
Münir Ertegün was the first Turkish ambassador in the US.

In the mid-1940s, World War II had just come to an end. And the US was indisputably the winner of the war. In terms of economy, politics, culture and social terms the US turned into a world power. However, the US was interpreting the Soviet Union as a threat both economically and ideologically. Because the Soviet Union was another winner of the war. And they became the most powerful component of the US.

And Turkey, in the meantime, was holding very strategic importance in the eyes of US foreign politics. It was because of Turkey’s geopolitics and geostrategic location between the west and the east. Thus, as a result of the alliance seek of the US government, the death of the Turkish ambassador was a significant chance. The US used this chance as political propaganda. They brought the ambassador’s corpse with a giant warship.

7- The Marshall Plan in the 1940s

Marshall Plan was put into action in order to support Turkey's and Greece' economies after World War II as Near Eastern alliances.
Marshall Plan was put into action in order to support Turkey’s and Greece’ economies after World War II as Near Eastern alliances.

In addition to that, the US announced the Marshall Plan at that time. The plan was carrying the name of the US president. The main reason for this plan was to support the near eastern countries such as Turkey and Greece. Because World War II dramatically damaged the economy of these countries. But again, the main aim of this afford under the curtain was the seek of an alliance in the near east.

6- Turkey Joins to Korean War Next to the US

Turkish soldiers in the Korean War.
Turkish soldiers in the Korean War.

In order to strengthen the collaboration with the US and join NATO, Turkey sent its army to fight along with the US soldiers. Turkey’s previous application to take part in NATO was rejected. Because the US thought that NATO is an organization of Western civilization. And Turkey, as an Eastern country, has no place in this organization.

However, views changed on Turkey’s attendance in this war, and the 1950s turned golden years for Turkey-US relationships. Turkey lost 700 hundred soldiers at the war. Later on, right after this war, Turkey’s attendance in NATO was accepted by all the member countries of NATO.

Thus, Turkey provided the support of “Uncle Sam” and the way of American life became a very important figure in Turkey.

5- Turkey’s Cyprus Intervention and President Johnson’s Threatening Letter

Turkey's intervention in Cyprus caused the worst period between the two countries.
Turkey’s intervention in Cyprus caused the worst period between the two countries.

When we arrive in the 1960s, the tension between the US and Turkey started have risen. Political conflicts between Rums and Turks on the island forced Turkey to intervene into the island. Despite all the objections of the US government, Turkey performed this intervention. And this caused the biggest problem between the two countries they have never had. Thereupon, the US imposed an economic embargo on Turkey.

American 6th Fleet was protested in Istanbul in 1968.
American 6th Fleet was protested in Istanbul in 1968.

During this process, the American 6th Fleet was visiting Turkey and they landed in Bosphorus. While they were trying to come into the land, students and people attacked them. And they broke them out in the sea. This was probably the worst time in the relationships of the two countries.

4- Re-production of Poppy in Turkey In Spite of America’s Objection

The US was strongly against the re-production of poppy in Turkey in terms of its internal security concerns.
The US was strongly against the re-production of poppy in Turkey in terms of its internal security concerns.

In the late 1970s, the US was strongly against the production of poppy in Turkey. By doing so, they believed that concerning their internal protection for the use of drugs. However, Turkey put a law into force and let poppy production free and legal again. Thus, the US and Turkey relationship ruptured once again.

3- The 1980s and After…

The President of America Ronald Reagan and the Prime Minister of the UK Margaret Thatcher, also known as The Iron Lady.
The President of America Ronald Reagan and the Prime Minister of the UK Margaret Thatcher, also known as The Iron Lady.

The 1980s is a definition for international upsides and downs in the world. So, for sure it also reflected Turkey and its relationships with the US. After the military coup in Turkey in September 1980 and along with the announcement of Neo-Liberalism, a new period began for Turkey and America.

America needed Turkey’s support during this period. Because America had a big plan in the Middle East. Therefore, Turkey had a significant role to play for America to carry out this plan in the region. The US was planning to intervene in Iraq and expected Turkey to serve as a geostrategic alliance.

However, the unexpected happened. When it comes to the 2000s, the National Assembly of Turkey rejected the US’ military base demand. America’s other demand was permission to pass-through to Iraq over Turkey. And Turkey’s National Assembly rejected this demand, too. So, this rejection became the highest tension between the US and Turkey.

2- Tragic Earthquake in Turkey in 1999

The tragic Marmara Earthquake, 1999 in Turkey.
The tragic Marmara Earthquake, 1999 in Turkey.

American President Clinton made his and his counterparts’ longest visit in Turkey in 1999. The year was a very tragedic year for Turkey due to the earthquake happened and it caused thousands of deads and thousands of wounded. So then, President Clinton visited Turkey for 5 days and visited the earthquake area. He was surrounded by curious looks and people. It was the longest visit any U.S. president had paid to Turkey in history. What left from this visit is an iconic picture of a little baby who was squeezing President Clinton’s nose.

1- The Late of the 2010s and The Latest President of Amerika: Donald Trump

The election of Donald Trump as the President of the US was definitely an unexpected fact. Although not so many people gave a chance to him, the unexpected turned into a reality. No matter how this election surprised the world, Trump is now the president of America.

A new period has begun with President Donald Trump.
A new period has begun President Donald Trump.

After Donald Trump, a new period began between the two countries. However, in the latest letter of Trump to Turkey, he was insulting the country with economic politic embargo threatens. Now, conflicts in Syria took place instead of Iraq. Therefore, a new political game in the Middle East has been maintaining for almost a decade. Which means new tensions between the alliances.

Short in a long story, the relationships of America and Turkey has always been very problematic. What’s more, all upsides and downs comprise the main foundation of this political engagement. However, all the tensions and problems throughout this 100 years of connection, countries have made to carry their relationship until today. So, no matter how deep their disagreements can sometimes occur, this long-term relationship shows that the alliance between the two won’t last in short-term.

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