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Turkish-US Ties Gain New Depth

Ankara and Washington share too many concerns in the Middle East for any one issue, including Turkey's interest in getting Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza, to get in the way, writes Semih Idiz.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) meets with Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) at Ciragan Palace in Istanbul April 7, 2013. Kerry said on Sunday it was not up to Washington to set a deadline for Turkey and Israel to normalise ties but stressed the importance of restoring a full relationship between the two. REUTERS/Hakan Goktepe/Pool (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXYBQO

There was much speculation in February that Turkish-American ties were heading for the doldrums after the barbs exchanged between Washington and Ankara over remarks by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu about Israel and Syria, as well as comments by US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone criticizing the Turkish judicial system.

I nevertheless suggested in a piece for Al-Monitor (Feb. 8) that the chill in ties would pass because neither side could really afford to harm a strategic relationship of 50 years standing, which in fact has weathered worse storms. There are still nuanced differences, of course, between the sides on specific issues; for example on how to approach the Syrian crisis, as well as disagreements concerning Turkey’s growing ties with the Iraqi Kurds in the energy field.

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