U.S.-Turkish friendship dates to the late 18th century, when the United States established diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire. The present close relationship began with the agreement of July 12, 1947, which implemented the Truman Doctrine.
Turkey has been a NATO ally since 1952, an active partner in ISAF stabilization operations in Afghanistan, and represents NATO’s vital eastern anchor, controlling (in accordance with international conventions) the straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which link the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. Turkey also borders Iran, Iraq, and Syria, underscoring Turkey’s strategic geographic significance.
The U.S.-Turkey partnership is based on mutual interests and mutual respect and is focused on areas such as regional security and stability, economic cooperation, and human rights progress. Turkey has allowed the United States to utilize its Incirlik Air Base for the transport of non-lethal logistical support for operations in Afghanistan.
The United States also stands in solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism. Counterterrorism cooperation is a key element of our strategic partnership, in concert with U.S. support for a political approach to security issues based on inclusiveness.
Bilateral Economic Relations
U.S.-Turkey economic relations are guided by the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC), established in 2009 by Presidents Obama and Gul. Following the announcement of free trade negotiations between the United States and the EU, in May 2013 President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan established a parallel dialogue, the High Level Committee (HLC), as a forum for deepening U.S.-Turkey trade relations.
U.S.-Turkey trade remains modest compared to its potential. Total trade was static in 2012 after growing 35% year-on-year in 2011, with U.S. exports to Turkey up 39% from $10.5 billion to $14.6 billion and Turkish exports to the U.S. up 24% from $4.2 billion to $5.2 billion. Through continuous engagement in the HLC, the FSECC, and Economic Partnership Commission, we are working with the Turkish Government to deepen our economic relations through business development initiatives as well as institutionalized bilateral mechanisms such as the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and bilateral investment and tax treaties.
Although not a member of the European Union (EU), Turkey is a member of the EU’s Common Market.
U.S. exports to Turkey include aircraft, iron and steel, agricultural products, oil, cotton yarn and fabric, and machinery. U.S. imports from Turkey include vehicles, machinery, iron and steel and their products, agricultural products, travertine, and marble. Reported U.S. direct investment in Turkey is led by the banking and manufacturing sectors.
U.S. assistance seeks to maximize Turkish cooperation with other countries, especially Afghanistan, and enhance the interoperability of the Turkish military with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces.
Turkey’s Membership in International Organizations
Turkey is a candidate for the EU, and its primary political, economic, and security ties are with the West. The current government has also sought to strengthen relations with its Middle Eastern neighbors, and with Central Asian and African countries.
Turkey is a member of the UN, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Council, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the G-20, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Turkey also is an observer to the Organization of American States and a Dialogue Partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Turkey maintains an embassy in the United States at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 612-6700.
More information about Turkey is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
- Department of State Turkey Page
- Department of State Key Officers List (PDF 420 KB)
- CIA World Factbook Turkey Page
- History of U.S. Relations With Turkey
- Human Rights Reports
- International Religious Freedom Reports
- Trafficking in Persons Reports
- Narcotics Control Reports
- Investment Climate Statements
- Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
- U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
- Export.gov International Offices Page
- Library of Congress Country Studies
- Travel and Business Information
More information about Turkey is available on the Turkey Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.