Turkey: A Bridge to the Middle East
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Turkeys geostrategic importance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO is widely recognized in the West. Sharing a common border with the Soviet Union and maintaining the second largest standing army in NATO, Turkey is positioned astride the main southern route of advance into western Europe from the East. It is this NATO role that is most often used as the rationale for United States military and economic aid. Often neglected is the critical role Turkey plays as a barrier to Soviet expansion and influence in the Middle East. Recent improvement of economic and diplomatic relations with other Islamic nations has added a new dimension to this equation. Today, Turkey is enjoying the most prosperous period it has experienced since the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Since 1980, rapid economic growth has resulted in a significant increase in trade with Arab states and this has led to corresponding increases in cultural and diplomatic relations. Increased influence connotes a stronger voice in issues affecting the region. The governments foreign policy objectives are a direct reflection of Turkeys geographical location, historical ties, and expanding Arab relations.
- Government and Political Science