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The Middle East in Turkey-USA Relations: Managing the Alliance

The Middle East has been increasingly factoring into the relations between Turkey and the USA since the end of the cold war. Ironically, the issues related to this region simultaneously intensify and erode the bilateral relations. For the USA, the significance of Turkey has always related to some extent to the Middle East. For Turkey, on the other hand, during the cold war years this connection was not always welcomed. In the aftermath of the cold war, the Middle East became one of the most significant elements of the alliance, a development that was accepted by both sides. The changes in the international arena, such as the end of bipolarity and post-9/11 developments as well as regional changes, particularly the Iraqi crises, Iranian nuclear issue, the Arab uprisings and changes in the regional balance of power, had an impact on the evolution of AmericanTurkish relations and created both convergence and divergence of interests. Finally, domestic politics, especially the ideology and policies of state actors, had a bearing on bilateral relations in the context of the Middle East. As Turkey became more active and developed particular interests in the Middle East, the crises in TurkeyUSA relations began to occur more frequently and led to bargaining processes between the two allies.