Monday, February 8, 2010

RAND Issues U.S.-Turkey Report

The RAND Corporation has released a new report, "Troubled Partnership U.S.-Turkish Relations in an Era of Global Geopolitical Change on the U.S.-Turkey Relationship," in which RAND analyst F. Stephen Larrabee lays out the basic framework of the two countries' bilateral relations. Among Larrabee's recommendations for United States' policies are:
- Increase political and intelligence support for Turkey's struggle against terrorism from the Kurdistan Workers Party. Many Turkish officials consider this as the litmus test of the value of the U.S.-Turkish security partnership.

- Put greater pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government to crack down on the Kurdistan Workers Party and end its logistical and political support of the group.

- Encourage Turkey to carry out social, economic and legal changes so Kurds in Turkey enjoy the same rights and benefits as ethnic Turks. The Kurdish terrorist threat will not be resolved by military means, but by a strong anti-terrorist program combined with social and economic reforms that address the root causes of Kurdish grievances.

- Express readiness to engage Iran and Syria in diplomatic efforts to help stabilize Iraq as U.S. forces are drawn down there. While such diplomacy would not improve U.S. relations with Iran and Syria overnight, it would more closely align U.S.-Turkish policy and reduce a past source of friction between the two nations.

- Encourage and support Turkey's recent efforts to promote an improvement in relations with Armenia, particularly the opening of the border between the two. The normalization of relations between these two countries would significantly contribute to enhancing peace and stability in the Caucasus. It would also enable Armenia to reduce its economic and political dependence on Russia and Iran.

- Intensify efforts to persuade Iran to abandon any attempt to acquire nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran will destabilize the entire Persian Gulf region and potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the Gulf and Middle East, directly threatening Turkey's security.
For RAND's release announcing the report, click here.

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