Analysts are warning that relations between Turkey and the United States may be heading for a period of volatility, particularly in the wake of the botched May 31 Israeli commando raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, along with Ankara’s recent decision to vote “no” in the United Nations Security Council on sanctions against Iran.
“There is a ceiling above which Turkish-American relations cannot improve, and there’s a floor which it can’t go below. But we are getting pretty close to the floor and the ability of the two countries to improve their relations really has a huge question mark over it. We are now talking about an undeclared crisis in the relations,” said Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Indeed, in a recent interview with The Associated Press, Philip Gordon, the State Department’s top official for European and Eurasian affairs seemed to echo that assessment. Gordon suggested that Turkey needed to take demonstrable action to affirm its commitment to both the United States and the Atlantic Alliance.
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Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Kebabistan blog.